Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Near Albuquerque

Nothing conjures up the holiday season like a fresh Christmas tree. And there's nothing more authentic than finding a tree to take home for Christmas in a national forest. The Albuquerque area is rich in that regard, with three close by: Santa Fe, Cibola, and Carson. Expect to make a day of this tree-cutting adventure. You'll need to dress warmly and in layers because it is cooler in the forest than in Albuquerque. Wear shoes that will hold up to trudging through the forest floor, like boots or hiking shoes. Pack a picnic lunch or snacks, plus some hot chocolate or coffee, and make sure your vehicle is one that can do a little off-roading safely. Always make sure you know the terrain before venturing across or into it.

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Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe National Forest
Jack Harding/Flickr

The Santa Fe National Forest offers tree-cutting permits in the Jemez district starting at the end of November until Christmas Eve. The Jemez area is close to Albuquerque and makes for a pleasant day's outing.

Purchase a permit at the Jemez District Office or one of several ranger stations, and travel to designated areas of the national forest to cut a tree. Trees are $10 per family for trees up to 10 feet tall, and two permits are required for taller trees. Certain restrictions apply. 

Where to Get Permits:

  • Jemez District Office
  • Forest Headquarters in Santa Fe
  • Coyote Ranger Station
  • Cuba Ranger Station
  • Espanola Ranger Station
  • Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station
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Cibola National Forest

Cibola National Forest
Joe Diaz/Flickr

Purchase a permit and travel to a designated area to cut your tree. Certain restrictions apply. In 2017, Permits were $10 for trees up to 10 feet, with $1 additional per foot over 10 feet. Permits are limited to one per household.

In 2017, Christmas tree cutting was allowed in the Mount Taylor and Magdalena districts. Maps can be downloaded for the Magdalena District and the Mount Taylor district.

Where to Get Permits:

  • Magdalena Ranger Station
  • Mount Taylor Ranger Station
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Carson National Forest

Carson National Forest
Greg Westfall/Flickr

In 2017, permits were $5 for trees 10 feet and under, $10 for trees 10 feet and 1 inch to 15 feet, and $15 dollars for trees 15 feet and 1 inch up to 20 feet. You can buy up to three permits per household, and you can either cut or dig up your tree.  

Where to Get Permits:

  • Supervisor's Office, Taos
  • Penasco Ranger Station
  • Questa Ranger Station
  • Tres Piedras Ranger Station
  • El Rito Ranger Station
  • Canjilon Ranger Station
  • Bloomfield Ranger Station
  • Camino Real Ranger Station
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