Christmas Tree Hunting in Hyalite


If you visit Hyalite canyon in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you will probably notice a steady procession of cars heading down the canyon with Christmas trees strapped to their roofs. With a bountiful supply of small to medium sized spruce, fir, and pine trees Hyalite is a popular spot for Christmas tree hunters.

Tromping through the woods with family and friends in search of the perfect Christmas tree is a time-honored tradition. For a mere $5 permit you can turn your Hyalite ski or snowshoe day into a hunt for the perfect tree. Being close to town, Hyalite’s also a great option if you don’t have all day to find the perfect tree but still want to cut your own. Just drive up the road, park in one of the many plowed pull-outs, and head into the woods.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest sells Christmas tree permits starting November 15. They’re available at the Bozeman Ranger District office and the following locations in and around Bozeman:

  • Belgrade: Town and Country Grocery and True Value

  • Bozeman: Owenhouse Ace Hardware (both locations) and Murdoch’s

  • Four Corners: Murdoch’s

  • Livingston: Ace Hardware and Yellowstone Ranger District

  • Big Sky: Big Sky Conoco

As you search for the perfect tree keep in mind that you should steer clear of streams, creeks and lakes as well as campgrounds, trailheads, cabins and other developed infrastructure. Tree cutting within posted timber sale units, recently planted sites, and Wilderness areas is also prohibited. In order to be as unobtrusive as possible the Forest Service asks that Christmas tree hunters not cut trees larger than 15 feet tall, and to leave a stump that is less than 6 inches tall.

Ciera Krinke