I have always had a dream that our family would take a day and wander into the woods to find a Christmas tree Griswold style. I am so glad we finally did it this year.
I have had a lot of friends ask about the process to be able to go get your own tree so I thought I would post here about how we got our tree. Here are the basics of going out to get your own tree in Northern California. Tree permits are available from the National Forest Service. We visited Plumas National forest but if you are closer to Lassen, Mendocino, Tahoe, etc… you can go to other forests too (http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/plumas/passes-permits/forestproducts). The permits are $10 and they come with a map and a tag for the tree along with very minimal instructions on what you are looking for.
From there you are on your own. You have some guidance on the map about where you can and can’t choose a tree but really, there is not much to go off of. We chose to get our permit from the Wagon Wheel Market then to go up HWY 162 over Lake Orville. From there, the first landmark on the map that was recognizable to me was Four Trees so we just looked for that.
We kept seeing people coming down the mountain with trees so we knew to keep going and keep going. After driving for about 45 minutes we saw a nice wide gravel road so we pulled over to that. It ended up be the unmaintained road 23N8OY. This road leads to Duffey Dome eventually. As we were eating our packed lunches on the side of the road we started to see cars coming out with beautiful Noble Firs. Then we saw about 4 or 5 trucks pull in to that road only to be followed by 4 or 5 more coming out. We knew we must have hit the jackpot. We asked one of the families coming out how far up the road the trees were and they said there was a giant field about 3/4 of a mile up.
Off we went. Taking our non 4-wheel drive mini-van on a muddy and rough gravel road. We had to stop a ways up and hike the rest of the way in to avoid getting stuck. Once we arrived to the tree area we were blown away. There were perfect Noble Firs as far as the eye could see. We finally fixated on a gorgeous 12 footer. I could have kept hiking around all day but it was raining and didn’t want to keep the kids out in the cold any longer.
This was an amazing experience. I am so in awe of our gorgeous tree.
And here she is! (this is an iphone picture)