Picking the Perfect Tree at Lassen National Forest

What’s better than picking out a Christmas tree? Heading to Lassen, playing in the snow, and having a cup of french press coffee. While I’ve lived in Redding for going on 5 years, this was the first time I made this trip and have a feeling it will become an annual holiday tradition. Unlike the adventures of the Griswold’s in Christmas Vacation, our trip was uneventful and stunning in the best of ways.

A little over two weeks ago I found myself hiking the park with my parents (you can find that post here.) With this adventure, we drove to Lassen National Forest, a few miles past the park entrance. As we increased in elevation we were greeted by the best moments of a Narnia forest. One of my favorite parts of living in Redding is the choice to play in the snow and then just as quickly choosing to leave the snow behind. Once you reach the snow, there’s the beautiful quiet of fresh powder and stunning pines that tower over you. You’re reminded of the smallness of who you are and the beauty of surrounding creation. It truly is a magical place in every season, but Lassen in the winter months is a sight to behold.

What to know before you go:

  1. Permits are required and cost $10 each. They can be purchased at Shasta-Trinity National Forest Headquarters in Redding.
  2. Pack and then over pack. To do this adventure right, we packed hot dogs, chicken sausages, condiments, snacks, hot cocoa, cider, french press, coffee, jugs of water, firewood, extra layers, a lighter, starter sticks, camp stove, a shovel, paper towels, and toilet paper. (Bathrooms being open in off season can be a challenge.)
  3. Dress in warm layers and don’t be afraid to add a few extra in the back of the car. (We always have a few woven blankets in the back of our trunk regardless of the season.)
  4. Regardless of the cold, due to the elevation change make sure to stay hydrated. Headaches are all too real, particularly with windy roads.

Tell us, do you go and pick out your tree, go to a tree lot, or just use an artificial tree year after year?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

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