Cutting your own Christmas tree in the forest can be a great family adventure!
Consider visiting us for a night or two of Bed & Breakfast quiet get-away and maybe a bit of horseback riding in the snow. And then, on your way home, stop at the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Christmas Tree Sale!
Christmas tree cutting on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District will be from December 7-15, 2013.
Permits go on sale December 2, 2013.
On the weekend, permits may be obtained at the cutting area. For weekday cutting, permits must be obtained in advance from our offices in Fort Collins at 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E.; Boulder at 2140 Yarmouth Avenue; or Greeley at 660 “O” Street. The District never runs out of permits! The price is $10 per tree, with a limit of five trees per person.
Planning Your Trip
Chains or four-wheel drive vehicles are required.
Snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs are prohibited.
From Fort Collins take Highway 287, 21 miles north to Livermore. At Livermore turn left onto County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Follow Red Feather Lakes Road 16 miles and turn left onto County Road 68C (Boy Scout Road). Follow Boy Scout Road for seven miles. Signs or Forest Service personnel will direct you into the area.
The sale area will be open during periods of bad weather unless Highway 287 is closed. For more information please visit the Colorado Department of Transportation website.
Smokey Bear’s Cabin
Smokey Bear typically greets visitors for part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Make sure to bring your camera!
There are several miles of roads within the cutting area, so remember to spread out when searching for your tree.
Use a handsaw or axe to cut your tree. Chainsaws are prohibited.
Cut trees only within National Forest boundary and respect surrounding private property.
Cut trees with a stump diameter of 6 inches or less and within six inches of the ground, below any live branches.
Take or scatter any unused portion of your tree.
Attach permit to tree in a visible location.
Do not cut any tree marked with blue paint or designated as a wildlife tree.
Do not forget something to safely tie down your tree.
Pack out all trash.
Safety & Comfort
Roads are narrow and slick with limited sight distance, please use caution.
Drive slowly within cutting area. Park off roads in plowed areas or pull-offs; do not obstruct traffic. One-way traffic only on all roads within the cutting area.
If someone in your group is missing, don’t wait, notify Forest Service personnel immediately.
Have a full tank of gas.
Each year a number of people either lose their keys or lock them in their vehicle. Bring a spare key and give it to another member of your party.
Remember, cell phones may not work in the cutting area.
Expect winter conditions, including below-freezing temperatures and cold winds. Dress warmly.
Bring food and a warm beverage, blanket, shovel and first aid kit.
Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Pets are not recommended; dogs must be on a leash if brought into the area.
Visiting Mountain Pine Beetle-Hit Areas
Remember, your safety is your responsibility.
Falling trees are always a hazard when visiting the forest.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
Park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if dead trees fall.
Flat Stanley is a pal of our friend Julian Byrnes from New York. He loves to travel and Julian suggested that he might enjoy experiencing a Colorado Dude Ranch vacation. Flat Stanley arrived and immediately threw himself into the excitement of winter in the Rocky Mountains.
He had to be a little careful on his first few days because it was very windy and blustery up here and he doesn’t have a whole lot of body mass. He was afraid he might blow away!
He braved the wind in the afternoon though to help me feed the horses.
Flat Stanley also helped me feed the chickens.
Finally the wind died down enough for Stanley to go riding with me. He was very excited when he learned that we had a horse named Stanley on the ranch. So here is Flat Stanley riding Little Stanley. We went up into the woods so that Flat Stanley could look out at the Mummy Range of the Rocky Mountains and check out some Aspens and Ponderosa Pine trees.
After a long day on horseback, kicking back in the hot tub is the perfect way to relax.
And even better if it’s followed by an evening in front of a roaring wood fire.
Just before he had to leave, Stanley was lucky enough to meet another ranch friend. Madam Moose stopped by to check on us.
Unfortunately, Flat Stanley had to be on his way. We’ll miss him but we’re sure he’s having a great time in South Carolina with Ellen and Dan. I’m sure there will be more stories of his adventures upon their return. From the staff at Sundance Trail, we hope you had a fabulous winter and have exciting plans for the coming summer. Maybe we’ll see ya up on the mountain!
A very BIG special thanks to Ms. Marian, who was Stanley’s wrangler!
Guest Ranch Horseback Riding is seldom as intense as Dorothy May Winfield expresses here, but this poem beautifully catches those blissful moments of being “in the zone” with your horse. Thanks, Dorothy (and Stewart!) – please say hello to Scotland for us. We hope to see you again next year!
Mounting my quarter horse, I steel myself for the journey,
A ripple runs through him as my legs gently squeeze his sides,
He moves forward, slowly at first.
I feel his power beneath me,
Flicking the reins he gathers momentum
Faster and faster and faster,
He breathes deeply,
Fire bursts from his flared nostrils.
The plain stretches before us like endless time.
hands pull at my hair, my clothes,
Stripping my mortality.
My heart beats to the rhythm of his hooves.
The ball of fire above, now burns my naked body.
The saddle has gone,
There is nothing between us,
We have become one.
Only my senses are alive,
I am lost, deep within myself.
Our Western Horseback Riding philosophy is on our Riding Horses page.
Ranch Life – Dude Ranches Offer a Uniquely American Escape, and give Meeting-goers a Taste of the Old West
Meetings West Magazine, August 2001 by Christine Brenneman
The need to breathe fresh air and get away from it all at a rustic, Old West-style dude ranch is nothing new. In fact, the legacy of these ever-popular ranch vacations started more than a hundred years ago, when East Coast city folk sought peaceful escapes from the harried urban grind. Back then, anyone from east of the Mississippi was called a “dude”, and these dudes would travel west to get a taste of ranch life, paying to board on various ranches. Thus, a niche of western travel was born.
Today, many dude ranches still exist as a beloved holdover from a bygone era. Americans seem to be fascinated by myths of the Old West – cowboys, rustlers and a simpler life – so it seems dude ranches are here to stay. Plus, these days, it’s more and more possible to take a corporate group out into the pastoral environs of a ranch to meet – and have the modern approximation of the dude ranch experience. Just what is a ranch vacation, and how do meetings at dude ranches work?
In the world of the dude ranch, change comes slowly. Indeed, these properties often eschew trendiness in favor of tried and true ranch activities such as trail riding and horsemanship. But recently, ranches as travel destinations have enjoyed a slow but steady increase in popularity. Blame it on the ubiquitous cell phone or our cubicle-bound existence. People are simply aching to get back to a slower daily pace in more scenic, technology-free environments. Of course, a dude ranch fits these specifications; and in the current, more competitive market, each ranch has had to carve out its own niche – and even diversify a bit – to differentiate itself from others.
But just how many niches can there be in the seemingly limited dude ranch world? According to Dan Morin, owner of Sundance Trail Dude Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colo., who has been in the business for years, even some traditional ranches have expanded beyond mere horse rides.
“Over the last few years, I’ve seen much more diversification,” Morin explains. “Twenty years ago, a dude ranch was a dude ranch. Now you’re finding that ranches tend to find niches that fit with the personalities of the guests and owners. Some are involved with trout fishing, for example. Our ranch is very involved in family, and supporting that. That fits our philosophy. And each different ranch specializes in enhancing the guests’ skills in certain areas.”
“This is a place to get into jeans and tennis shoes,” explains Morin of his ranch in Colorado. “I’ve never seen anyone here wear a tie. The meetings we host are very informal; this is our home after all – you’re meeting in the barn or the lodge dining room. And on breaks, people can go sit outside and watch the horses or hummingbirds.”
At Morin’s Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, a local group of teachers, who meet at the property for a seminar each year, decided to bring families along for the first time last summer. Morin describes it as an unexpected, but overwhelming success.
“We were packed in, with teachers and professors in the meeting rooms strategizing, and the kids and spouses out riding horses, hiking and doing activities with our staff,” he says. “They took their breaks together and it was marvelous. We made it fun by turning one guest room into a kids-only room. And one night, our chef took the kids to make pizzas, which they ate around a campfire. The whole time, though, the spouses stayed away from the meeting rooms, and kids were warned off – so the meeting attendees got their business done.”