The 10 Best Places to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Alaska!

In a place as blessed with natural resources as Alaska, folks aren’t limited to buying a Christmas tree from a stand in the corner of a supermarket parking lot. Instead, you can venture into the great outdoors, find just the right tree for the holidays, and cut it yourself. These are our favorite places to find the perfect tree for Christmas in Alaska!  

1. Alaska State Lands

During the holiday season, the Alaska Division of Forestry allows residents to cut Christmas trees on certain unrestricted public lands, without a permit or payment of a fee, as long you follow some guidelines.

  • Don’t cut trees in state parks, along roadways, on private property, or on Alaska Native lands.
  • Trees must be 15 feet or shorter.
  • Only one tree is allowed per household.
  • Cut the tree as close to the ground as possible.
  • You can’t sell the tree—it’s for personal use, only.
  • Check the Division of Forestry website for maps and closures before you go.

State forest roads aren’t maintained. Be sure to bring everything you need not only to cut and transport your tree (like rope and as sled) but also equipment you’d need to prevent your vehicle from becoming stuck, like tire chains, or to get it out if it does (shovel, tow strap). Then head out to one of these spots:

2. Matanuska Valley Moose Range, Palmer, AK

The Matanuska Valley Moose Range is 150,000 acres of prime moose habitat. It also has plenty of evergreens to make for a festive holiday in your household. Just look out for moose on your adventure.

3. Tanana Valley State Forest, Fairbanks, AK

In the interior, the Tanana State Forest offers the best chance for a happy Christmas tree quest. Keep your eyes open for posted plantations that are closed to tree cutting.

4. Haines State Forest, Haines, AK

Folks celebrating Christmas in the Adventure Capital of Alaska, Haines, and throughout the Chilkoot, Chilkat, and Ferebee River valleys can head into the Haines State Forest to find the perfect tree. Check with the forest office or ranger before heading out to see if there are any restrictions on where you can cut.

5. Southeast State Forest, Wrangell, AK

Alaska’s newest state forest includes almost 46,000 acres of woods in and around Wrangell Island. The Southeast State Forest is contiguous with the Tongass National Forest, and has a similar temperate rain forest climate, with tremendous old-growth trees.

6. Alaska National Forests and Refuges

Alaska’s two national forests will allow you to cut your own Christmas tree. It’s an awesome way to enjoy all the natural beauty that Alaska has to offer while creating a lasting holiday tradition for the family. Pick an Alaska national forest, then go pick out your Christmas tree:

7. Chugach National Forest, Anchorage, AK

As the “backyard national forest” for most Alaskans, the Chugach National Forest embraces the holiday tradition of cutting your own Christmas tree. The forest will allow your household to cut one tree per holiday season without a permit and free of charge. Be sure to check the website for season dates and closures before you head out.

An Alaskan family Christmas 🎄🏔 Merry Christmas from Seward!

A post shared by Jamie Greendyk (@jamie.zane) on

8. Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan, AK

Tongass National Forest covers a 500-mile stretch of southeastern Alaska, with a total area about the size of West Virginia. As the world’s largest temperate rainforest, it’s a delicate ecosystem. So, take some time to appreciate the huge old-growth trees and stunning landscapes as you make the trek for your Tannenbaum. You will need to get a permit to cut a Christmas tree in the Tongass National Forest from a Forest Service office or ranger station.

Ketchikan, Alaska. (14.09.17)

A post shared by Mark Daley (@markdaleyuk) on

9. Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Soldotna, AK

On the peninsula, hunting a Christmas tree in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a gorgeous way to spend a weekend day. Plan to spend some time in the refuge and enjoy its winter splendor before cutting your tree. One tree is allowed per household, and no permit or fee is required during the posted season. Only hand tools may be used to cut trees in the refuge.

10. National Forest/Refuge Christmas Tree-Cutting Guidelines

Don’t just grab a saw and head into the woods. There are some guidelines and advice that you should follow.

  • You may need a tree-cutting permit. You must carry the permit with you and attach it to the tree during transportation.
  • Don’t cut in designated Wilderness Areas, Recreation Areas, or a developed recreation site, like a campground.
  • Check the website for the unit you’re visiting for height restrictions on Christmas trees, as they vary in Alaska.
  • Cut the tree as close to the ground as possible. 
  • Select a skinnier, less-healthy tree. This leaves the healthy trees to grow in the forest and also helps with forest management by clearing space that allows for sunlight and more growing area for remaining trees.
  • Don’t cut the top off of a tree.
  • Don’t cut a tree within 150 feet of a road or body of water. 
  • Don’t fell trees into water.
  • Check weather and forest conditions before you leave.
  • Bring all the equipment you’ll need to cut the tree, along with a sled for transport and something to tie down the tree to the sled and your vehicle.

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