What to Know Before You Go!
So, you can’t cut down a tree in Mt. Rainier National Park, but you can have that experience of cutting down your own Christmas tree in select areas outside of the park. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
The easiest way to cut your own tree is to visit one of the “U-Cut” tree farms in the area. Visiting a tree farm means you don’t have to get a permit. When you visit a tree farm, you support a local farmer and may get additional perks like free hot chocolate, or cider.
If you’re hankering to get into the forest and find your dream tree, make sure you follow the rules.
- It’s illegal to go into the forest and cut down a random tree. Make sure you follow Forest Service rules. Get a tree permit from the ranger station or a retail store that sells them. Prices go up if you want a tree larger than 12 feet. There are no refunds.
- Effective December 1 a Sno-Park permit is required for Forest Service Roads 70 and 73. These roads are located just past the town of Greenwater and before Crystal Mountain Resort. Sno-Park permits are $22 for the day. Display your permit in your vehicle’s windshield.
- When you pick up your permit from the ranger station ask for a map and stick to following the directions. Your cell phone may not work in this rural area. Don’t wander
- Be prepared to drive in snowy conditions. Expect gravel, dirt and unplowed roads. Make sure your vehicle has high clearance. It’s better to pull off and park and walk a little than to drive too far and risk getting stuck in the snow.
- Plan ahead. Dress for the weather and make sure you have a shovel, your saw and appropriate material to tie the tree to your vehicle. You may also want to take a tarp to wrap the tree in before you tie it to the roof of your car.
- Get a start on your search for the tree early. You want plenty of daylight. The sun starts to set in the Greenwater area at 4:00 PM.
- Where to get permits: Enumclaw Forest Service Office 450 Roosevelt Avenue East, Enumclaw, WA 98022. $10 for a tree up to 15 feet tall and $20 for a tree taller than 16 feet and no higher than 20 feet.
- Be safe, and pack emergency supplies just in case. Pack some water, food and a first-aid kit.
- Choose a tree at least 200 feet from the main road. Stay away from areas next to streams. Pick a tree with a trunk that is six inches or less in diameter. Cut the tree no more than six inches above the ground.
- Cut one tree per tag. Attach your tree tag to the harvested tree before placing it in (or on top of) your vehicle.
- Don’t miss Wapati Woolies. It’s a great stop for coffee, snacks, and souvenirs.
U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms
Cox Family Farm
40605 Meridian E, Eatonville, WA 98328
Hours: Nov. 29 – Dec. 11 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM weekends and 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM Monday-Friday while supplies last.
Holiday U-Cut Trees
39908 Dean Kreger Rd E, Eatonville, WA 98328
Hours: 9:00 AM – dusk Friday-Sunday November 29 and December 1 – 17th while supplies last.
Mt. Rainier Nobles
Hours: Open the day after Thanksgiving (November 29th, 2019) | Fridays 11:00 – 4:00 | Saturdays 9:00 – 4:00 | Sundays 11:00 – 4:00
Ohop Ridge Christmas Tree Farm
40707 Ski Park Rd E, Eatonville, WA 98328
Hours: Opening for the season on Friday, November 29, 2019, and will operate weekends only while supplies last.
Extend your adventure, and make an overnight trip out of your excursion. For lodging near these areas visit https://visitrainier.com/lodging. Want more insight into this adventure? Read a personal story of blogger Julie Johnson’s family tree hunt.