Planning a family Christmas tree hunting trip? Here’s how you can get a permit


Photo and video provided by the Bureau of Land Management

IDAHO FALLS – With Thanksgiving now less than a week away, it’s time to start thinking about putting up a Christmas tree.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are offering Christmas tree permits for those who want to hike the backcountry and find the perfect one for their family.

Forest Service permits

Forest Service permits first became available on Nov. 8.

Staff shortages at Forest Service offices last year prompted the creation of a new online option for getting permits at, which outlines designated cutting areas, dates and height restrictions.

Finding a Christmas tree is a memorable annual tradition for many families in eastern Idaho and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore hopes the online option makes that tradition easier and more convenient.

“For every tree that is found, cut and carried home as a holiday fixture, a new story is created,” Moore said in a news release last week. “These stories become the precious memories that create traditions worth carrying on for generations and further connect families with their local forests.”

A white search bar at the top of the page allows you to search for locations in the area you want to go. There is also a map showing locations throughout the state. Each forest will have specific guidelines and season dates for cutting a holiday tree.

The Forest Service sold 8,732 permits last year and more than 30% were from online sales.

Permits are still available through local ranger district offices and participating vendor locations. Working with external vendors allows the Forest to offer permits during weekend and evening hours.

Permits are $15 for trees up to 20 feet tall and limited to one per household. An additional fee is applied when using the website.

Fourth graders enrolled in the “Every Kid Outdoors” program can get a free permit.

Visit the Caribou-Targhee National Forest ranger office at 1405 Hollipark Drive in Idaho Falls for more information or call (208) 557-5900. Click here to purchase online.

BLM permits

BLM permits first became available on Nov. 17.

Permits for trees on BLM land are available through the Upper Snake Field Office at 1405 Hollipark Drive in Idaho Falls or the Pocatello Field Office at 4350 South Cliffs Drive. Due to the availability of online permit sales, the BLM will not provide a Christmas tree permit sale location in Malad this year.

The cost is $10 with a limit of one per family. Maps are available online showing different locations for tree hunting in each geographic area.

The following areas within the Upper Snake Field Office boundaries are closed:

  • Sand Mountain WSA
  • Black Canyon WSA
  • Appendicitis Hill WSA
  • Snake River Islands WSA
  • Henrys Lake WSA
  • White Knob Mountain
  • Hawley Mountain
  • China Cup
  • Cedar Butte
  • Hell’s Half Acre
  • Burnt Creek
  • All BLM-administered campgrounds

The following areas in the Pocatello Field Office are also closed:

  • Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area (WSA)
  • Worm Creek WSA
  • Wolverine Canyon
  • All BLM-administered campgrounds

Office hours in Idaho Falls and Pocatello are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the Idaho Falls office at (208) 524-7500 for more information. You can also contact the Pocatello office at (208) 478-6340.

To purchase online, click here.

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