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

Choosing a Christmas tree is a beloved holiday tradition throughout the United States. But there’s something even more satisfying about setting out with your loved ones, hiking into a stand of gorgeous pines, and picking a fresh tree to call your own. Whether it’s a tree hunt in a national forest or a visit to the local tree farm, these are our favorite spots to cut your own Christmas tree under the Big Sky.

1. Copenhaver Plantations, Missoula, MT

Copenhaver Plantations has been growing and selling Christmas trees in the Big Flat area since 1982. You can choose from hundreds of trees representing more than half a dozen species, like scotch pine, Douglas fir, and Canaan fir. The plantation also sells handmade wreaths. They’re open weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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2. Christmas Trees U-CUT Farm, Kalispell, MT

Christmas Trees U-CUT Farm has been helping folks in northwest Montana make their Christmases a little merrier. Loyal customers come back season after season, not only for the selection of trees but also for the friendliness of the farm’s owners.

3. Montana National Forests

Several national forests in Montana will allow you to cut your own Christmas tree. It’s an awesome way to enjoy all the natural beauty that Montana has to offer while creating a lasting holiday tradition for the family. But don’t just grab an axe and head for the woods. There are some things you need and need to know before you go.

You need a tree-cutting permit. They cost around $5 and can be purchased at a Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office. You must carry the permit with you and attach it to the tree during transportation.

You can cut anywhere on Forest Service or BLM lands, except for designated Wilderness Areas, Recreation Areas, or a developed recreation site, like a campground.

Select a tree that is less than 12 feet-tall. Cut the tree close to the ground: The stump you leave must be less than five inches above the ground. 

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 200 feet of a road or within 150 feet of water. 

Don’t cut trees that are part of a plantation or in an area that’s been leased for commercial cutting.

Check 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.

You can cut your Christmas tree at any of the following national forests in Montana.

4. Lolo National Forest, Missoula, MT

At more than two million acres, west-central Montana’s Lolo National Forest has plenty to offer a Christmas tree hunter. Stop at one of the two visitor centers to pick up your permit.

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5. Flathead National Forest, Kalispell, MT

Flathead National Forest is a gorgeous woodland in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It’s 2.4 million acres is just outside of, but contiguous with, Glacier National Park, which is sure to make your Christmas tree quest more than memorable.

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6. Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Bozeman, MT

With several units that stretch from the Yellowstone National Park entrance in southwest Montana all the way east to South Dakota, the Custer-Gallatin National Forest is your best bet for cutting a Christmas tree in the southern part of the state. The main office is in Bozeman, but there are several other offices and ranger stations across the state, including Billings.

7. Kootenai National Forest, Libby, MT

In 2017, Kootenai National Forest supplied the Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. So, you have to imagine this northeast Montana forest has some pretty fine specimens for your own holiday décor.

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8. Bitterroot National Forest, Hamilton, MT

If you’re in extreme southwest Montana, the Bitterroot National Forest’s 1.6 million acres of mountains and woods will make for a gorgeous holiday hike. Chances are, you’ll find a tree to deck your halls, as well.

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9. Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Helena, MT

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is a great option for tree hunters in the Helena and Great Falls areas. The forest encompasses nearly three million acres across eight ranger districts and includes the beautiful Elkhorn Mountains. 

10. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Dillon, MT

At almost 3.5 million acres, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is the biggest national forest in Montana. It covers parts of eight counties in the state and is an easy holiday drive from Butte.

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