Chop, Chop: Cut Your Own $10 Christmas Tree

        For some Leadville locals, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a journey into the forest to choose and cut their own Christmas tree. You, too, can share in this time-honored tradition.

        Pulling a Christmas tree by fat bikeFor the low, low cost of $10, you can buy a permit to enter National Forest land in Lake County. Trek in old school—shouldering a saw or ax—and engage your inner lumberjack. Among the many snowy boughs and fairy-dust snowflakes glittering in the air, you’re sure to find the perfect tree. You can drag it out on foot, or be creative with a fat bike. (Thanks to @Kelsco9 for the video!)

        While you’re here, take advantage of off-season rates for dining and lodging and stay the weekend. Couple your tree-hunting with a relaxing day of holiday shopping (yes, really!) in Leadville’s festive National Historic Landmark District.

        Get a Tree-Cutting Permit

        You will need a permit to chop down your own tree, and there are two ways to buy one:

        In Person: Visit the Leadville Ranger District office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

        By Mail: Mail a $10 check and self-addressed stamped envelope to Leadville Ranger District, 810 Front St., Leadville, CO 80461. Allow a week for Santa’s elves and postal workers to get your permit back to you.

        Fine Print: As with any offer, some restrictions apply. Be sure to check Forest Service requirements for cutting your tree. (For example, no power tools are allowed, you must hold onto your tree removal tag and permit, and families can take two trees.) Maps of tree-cutting areas are also available from the district office.

        Permits are available for purchase any time until noon on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Questions? Visit the ranger’s office online or call 719-486-0749 for answers.

        Got a 4th Grader? Get a Free Tree

        This year, to encourage kids to get outside, the U.S. Forest Service is offering a free Christmas-tree-cutting permit to every fourth-grade student who comes in person with a parent and brings an “Every Kid in a Park” voucher.

        Come for the Tree; Stay for the Weekend

        Make an overnight or weekend of your tree-chopping expedition! Enjoy off-season rates at places to stay and restaurants throughout Leadville and Twin Lakes.

        Sane Shopping

        December is a great time to escape the bustling city, and it’s peaceful and quiet at 10,152’. Enjoy the experience of holiday shopping in an authentic Victorian town, far away from the mall hubbub.

        Find locally handmade arts and crafts and other unique, thoughtful gifts in Leadville’s shops. Or visit Leadville’s bakeries and coffee shops for scrumptious holiday cookies and desserts. Then wander through town and admire the 1880s Victorian-style buildings decorated for the season. Check out Leadville Main Street’s Facebook page for holiday specials and events.

        Fresh Air and Exercise

        If trudging into the woods to hew down a tree isn’t exercise enough for you, enjoy Leadville’s winter trails or head to Ski Cooper for uncrowded, all-natural slopes.

        O’ Tannenbaum

        Have a relaxing holiday weekend, make plenty of good memories, and bring home a full, fragrant, fresh tree for only $10. Soon you’ll be happily saying, “Oh, Tannenbaum!”