Find the Perfect Holiday Tree in Mammoth Lakes

Dec 14, 2022

Nothing makes your home feel more seasonally festive than the scent of pine. The twinkling lights and carefully hung ornaments are a holiday tradition for many families. Whether you have your heart set on a classic fir tree or a Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree, you’ll be able to find and cut your own holiday tree from the designated areas near Mammoth Lakes. Since you are cutting a live tree, you will not have hard time selecting one with fresh green needles that fill your house with the fresh scent of pine. However there are many types of pines in the region, there are two that are most popular for cutting—pinyon and fir. “The quintessential fir trees are going to be found north of here,” says Jennifer Genstler, manager for the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association. “Pinyons are the bushier shorter tree that smells really good because the have a tendency to be more resinous.”

What You Need to Cut Your Own Holiday Tree in Mammoth Lakes

Permit – The first and most important thing you need to cut your own holiday tree in the Mammoth Lakes region is a permit. At $5-10 per tag (depending on the cutting area), it’s a bargain not to mention a memorable holiday experience. Go to the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center or the White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop to get your permit and tree tag.

Area Map and Regulations – When you pay for your permit, you’ll be given a map of the zones for holiday tree cutting and a list of regulations. Be sure to read this list thoroughly and ask any questions before setting out to harvest a tree. There are two zones for tree cutting near Mammoth Lakes. To the north is the Bridgeport Ranger District/Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area and to the southeast is the Bishop Bureau of Land Management/Green Creek Cutting area.

Chainsaw and Shovel – You’ll need a chainsaw to cut down your holiday tree. If you don’t own one, team up with a friend and go out together. Know how to use the chainsaw before going holiday tree cutting and bring a shovel incase a sparks starts a fire.

Boots, Protective Glasses, Gloves – In addition to warm winter clothing, you’ll want to wear sturdy boots for walking through the forest. Protective glasses will protect your eyes safe while cutting and gloves are a good idea for handling the chainsaw and carry the tree back to your car.  

Getting the Perfect Holiday Tree Back to Your Condo

Before you head out to find the your holiday tree, make sure to clear a space in your living room and get your tree-stand ready. According to the National Fire Protection Associating, you should place your tree at least three feet always from any heat source. Consider the size of the tree and how you will get it home before cutting the tree. You’ll also want to consider the distance you need to carry the tree back to your car before cutting it. Please do not drive off of designated roads. You may need a few extra hands to carry the tree, so bring of gloves for everyone. If you have a car or SUV with racks you will need plenty of rope to tie your tree to the roof. You will be driving 45 to 60 minutes on the highway from either tree cutting are to get back to Mammoth Lakes and the region is known to be windy. Be very careful to make sure your tree is secure before driving. Even if you have a truck make sure to use rope to secure the tree in the your truck bed.  

Where to Buy a Holiday Tree in Mammoth Lakes

Cutting your own holiday tree is not as complicated as it might sound, but maybe you don’t have the time or resources to cut your own tree and get it back to your condo. That’s understandable. Your choices become more limited for buying a tree in Mammoth Lakes the closer it gets to Christmas, so consider your arrival date before making arrangements. Your best option for buying a holiday tree is from the Mammoth High School Boosters in the Vons parking lot. Prices vary depending on the size of the tree.

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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