The holiday season is a time for family traditions and cutting down the annual Christmas tree is certainly at the top of the list. To help you make the Christmas tree hunting process easy and joyful, we’ve rounded up our favorite tree farms to score your holiday centerpiece. From Charlie Brown-style saplings to White House-worthy grand firs, scroll down for nine places that offer cut-your-own trees along with holiday extras like warm beverages, cookies and a jolly ol’ St. Nick to take Christmas wish lists.
Best Tree Farm to Bring the Whole (Furry) Family
In the Christmas tree-growing business for over 30 years, McMurtrey’s Red-Wood Christmas Tree Farm provides all the Christmas cheer—wagon rides, free cocoa and cider, candy canes for the kids, wreaths and other decorations for purchase—and lots of assistance getting that noteworthy Noble fir onto your car! You cut it (with saws they provide) and if you (and your tree) need a lift back to the bailer, just hop onto the wagon and go for a ride. If you’re not in the mood for a trek through the forest to find your Douglas Fir, pre-cut trees are also available. The best part? Mopsey doesn’t need to mope in the car—your furry family members are welcome on leashes. Happy Howlidays!
Good to Know: McMurtrey’s Red-Wood Christmas Tree Farm sells Noble, Grand, Douglas and Fraser Firs. U-cut trees usually sell out quickly (last year they were gone by early Dec.), but the farm brings in beautiful pre-cut trees weekly, so you're guaranteed a fresh one. The farm will sell some of them for the same price as the u-cut trees.
Open: 2018 dates TBD (closing date is dependent on inventory, check their Facebook page for updates)
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Best Tree Farm to Make a Day of It
Let’s face it—sometimes a road trip with kids just sounds too daunting, leading us to the local Home Depot for their best pre-cut tree instead of braving the wet roads and muddy fields to cut down the perfect pine. But what if your u-cut destination included colorful, covered train rides, complimentary hot beverages, complimentary hand saws and twine, assistance loading your tree into your vehicle, free tree tie downs, a food court serving breakfast items such as pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal and pastries and espresso as well as lunch items such as hot dogs, kettle corn, nachos, pretzels and other refreshments and welcoming fire pits (to dry those inevitable wet feet)? And did we mention Santa is there on weekends? Look no further than Trinity Tree Farm, located on a picturesque Issaquah hilltop. Established in 1982 and nestled on 40 acres, this family favorite has a vast array of beautiful u-cut and pre-cut Douglas, Grand, Noble and Fraser Firs, and is way better than a trip to the aforementioned hardware store.
Good to Know: Trinity Tree Farm accepts cash, credit (Visa & Mastercard) and debit cards. Save $5 on your tree purchase when you pay with cash. Train rides are also free for kids under 16 with the purchase of a tree. Just be prepared for a line on the weekends. Trinity is also a pooch-friendly farm; just make sure to keep Fido on a leash and clean up after him.
Open: Nov. 23, 2018–until trees are sold out. Check website for updates.
Hours: Nov. 23 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m; Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Best Tree Farm for Your Little Train Engineer
Of course you want the best and prettiest Christmas tree this side of the North Pole, but the Littles just want to run through the trees, stomp in the mud puddles and—wait, did someone say train? A one mile train track runs through Crystal Creek Farm’s picturesque 23-acre farm, and if you're lucky the train just might be running while you’re there (it's been an 18 year project in the making!). However, if it's not running on the day of your visit, the farm’s train coach flat car as well as a kiln cart from 1895 will all be ready for kids to climb on and push along the tracks, a perfect setting for your holiday family photo. Psst...rumor has it that Santa might be hanging out in Crystal Creek's coach, so don't forget your Christmas wish list.
Crystal Creek owners Harvey and Janet Hawken have been growing gorgeous Noble and Nordman (Turkish) Firs for over 25 years and Harvey hand trims all the trees himself. Psst! Harvey tells us the Turkish firs hold their needles 'til Easter—one less thing to clean up on Christmas morning! View their 2018 prices here.
Holiday Hint : You're welcome to make an appointment now to reserve your tree. Check their website for a $3 coupon off any tree. And be sure to ask about their "Charlie Brown" tree specials for $20 off non-traditional or disfigured trees. These trees have been damaged by the elk, stressed by the drought or pruned by the birds, but still need a home for Christmas.
Open: During the Christmas season until they run out of trees. 2018 opening date TBD.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Best Tree Farm to Hang Out with Santa
Can you think of a better way to get into the holiday spirit than sitting on Santa’s knee? How about Santa and the perfect Christmas tree? Christmas Creek Tree Farm has a cozy log cabin, complete with a roaring fireplace and Santa will be visiting there on Saturdays and Sundays (check the farm's website or Facebook page for hours). Besides that picture perfect opportunity (don’t forget your camera; photos are free if you buy a tree), Christmas Creek Tree Farm offers holiday hay rides, cookies, cider and hot coffee in the log cabin and a variety of 5 to 14-foot trees tucked into an idyllic Cascade Mountain and Snoqualmie River setting. With a name like Christmas Creek, how can you go wrong?
Good to Know: The farm sells Noble, Nordman, Grand and Douglas Firs. View the farm's tree varieties and prices online. Pre-cut trees are also available and located in the lower field under the tent. If you plan to visit Santa while at the farm, come straight down to Santa's house when you arrive and ask the cashier for a Santa number. Then, go out to pick out your tree; the Santa wait will be much shorter!
Open: Nov. 23, 2018. The farm usually closes in early December. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for closing date info.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Best Tree Farm for a History Lesson
The Carnation Tree Farm land has been in owner Roger Thorson’s Norwegian family for over 100 years, and his pride shows in the beautifully restored Hjertoos House and barn located on his picturesque 24-acre farm. Good news! After a few years of slim-pickings because of the 2008 flooding, the farm is awash with beautiful trees, including Douglas, Grand, Nordmann, Fraser and Noble Firs and Norway and Blue Spruces up to 12 feet (with a few 30 footers in the bunch). All varieties are available for cutting, or take home a pre-cut tree and some garland, mistletoe or a wreath to round out your holiday decorating. Weekends at the farm include yummy fundraiser bake sales by local organizations, kettle corn, complimentary hot cider and best of all, visits from Santa on select Saturdays and Sundays (check their Gift Shop & Weekend Fun page for dates and times). Trees, Santa, baked goods...sounds like a perfect holiday adventure to us!
Good to Know: For your convenience, the Carnation Tree Farm provides free on-site parking, twine, tree shaking and baling and tree recycling for $5 (view the 2019 date here) with every Christmas tree purchase. To view this year's trees and prices, check their website. To supplement their u-cut trees, the farm brings in locally grown pre-cut trees (which are cut fresh weekly) including Noble and Doug firs.
Open: Nov. 23, 2018 (farm operates Thurs.-Sun)
Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Best Tree Farm For Preventing Chilly Toes
Convenience and fun are the words of the holiday season at Farmer Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm in Arlington. Follow the signs and the roads through the 32-acre farm, where you will be handed a saw upon arrival and instructions to drive until you see your perfect tree. That’s right! You can drive through the entire farm (but don’t forget your boots and mittens for your tree search—it just might snow!). Holiday music plays festively while you wander through the fields and once tree nirvana is obtained, a short jaunt to the cashier reveals that there’s no need to worry about breaking the bank, because all trees (with the exception of a small area behind the house) are the same reasonable price---although you won’t know what that is until you get there!
The staff will happily bail your tree and help you attach it to your car and then you can park in their large lot and enjoy complimentary cider and hot chocolate and a bonfire for warming those chilly tootsies or grab lunch at the stands selling snacks. Convenience and holiday cheer? Sign us up!
Good to Know: The farm has Douglas, Nobel and Grand Fir trees as well as Colorado Blue and Norway Spruces and Fraser Fir trees. All trees are hand pruned and sheared to shape.
Open: Nov. 23, 2018—middle of December. Limited amenities on weekdays; full amenities on Sat. & Sun.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Best Tree Farm to Find a Friendly Face
Stocker Farms is a Seattle family favorite during the holidays, starting with Halloween and running straight through to Christmas, because of their friendly, helpful staff. Their Fraser, Grand and Douglas Fir trees (ranging in height from 5-9 feet) will be ready for you to pick and cut starting the day after Thanksgiving. Stocker Farms will provide the saws, twine and help with loading the tree onto your car along with lots of holiday cheer, including a roaring fire to warm little fingers and toes and complimentary hot chocolate. Just look for the Big Red Barn off Highway 9.
Good to Know: Stocker Farms has hundreds of pre-cut trees from 4-12 feet including Fraser, Grand and Douglas Firs as well as Noble and Nordmann Firs. Stocker Farms will also shake and bail your tree for free and offers wreaths and gift items for sale.
Open: Nov. 23, 2018. Check their website or Facebook page for inventory updates and closing date.
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Bonus: Socker Farms also operates another tree farm in Snohomish County. Reade Christmas Tree Ranch stocks U-cut and a limited selection of pre-cut Douglas, Grand and Noble Firs as well as Norway Spruce and Nordman Firs. Find your family's perfect tree and stay for the complimentary candy canes, hot cocoa, cider and coffee.
Reade Christmas Tree Ranch
7724 171st Ave S.E
Snohomish, WA 98290
Open: 2018 dates TBD
Hours: Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Best Tree Farm for Holiday Cheer
Located just four miles from the old Neeley Mansion in Auburn, Coates Christmas Tree Farm is more than just a farm for selecting the perfect tree. It's a seasonal tradition that families come back to experience year after year. During the Christmas season, Coates Christmas Tree Farm goes all out by transforming it's farm into a world full of Christmas cheer. Expect to find Christmas decorations adorning every inch of the farm along with holiday music, complimentary hot cocoa and cider, fires to warm cold fingers and toes, wagon rides, a small playground and, of course, Santa Claus!
Coates Christmas Tree Farm sells u-cut Noble, Douglas, Grand, Fraser, Turkish and Korean Firs along with White Pines and Blue Spruces ranging in price from $35 to $72. View their 2018 prices here.
Good to Know: This is pet-friendly farm, so feel free to bring Fido along to help you search for the perfect tree---just remember to keep him on a leash. The farm also provides complimentary carts, so you can easily haul your tree to your car.
Open: 2018 dates TBD.
Hours: Mon.-Fri., noon- 5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Santa hours on Sat. & Sun. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Best Tree Farm for the Budget Conscious (& Adventure Seekers)
Have you ever been on a hike somewhere in the beautiful Northwest and spied a conifer that you thought would make the perfect Christmas tree? It’s your lucky day, you outdoorsy mom or dad, because during the holiday season, you can actually trek into your local wilderness to find that tree! For just $10, the National Forest Service sells permits to cut down a tree no larger than 12 feet in designated locations (maps provided when you buy the permit). We suggest the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for the closest drive to your perfect pine – permits are currently being sold at numerous Ranger Stations including the Snoqualmie Ranger Station in North Bend (cash, credit or check) and the downtown and Alderwood REI stores. Check the link below for station locations and hours as well as u-cut details.
Good to Know: $10 permits are good for one tree, with a tree height limit
of 12 feet. Trees taller than 12 feet require a tall tree permit for $20. REI locations sell only the $10/12-feet and under Christmas tree permits. Glacier and Verlot Public Service Centers only accept cash and checks. Forest Service offices and REI stores are closed on Thanksgiving Day and may close early on Christmas Eve. Call ahead for hours.
Holiday Tip: Depending on where you decide to go, prepare to pay for a parking permit in Sno-Park lots. Ranger stations can also answer any questions you may have. Happy hunting!
Snoqualmie Ranger Station
902 S.E. North Bend Way
North Bend, WA 98045
Outdoor Recreation Information Center
222 Yale Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Open: Mid-Nov.(normally after Veteran's Day)–Dec. 24, 2018 (see websites for ranger station and REI hours)
—Kristina Moy & Erin Cranston