Almost two hours from Berkeley, my family discovered a new favorite Christmas tradition: playing at the Rancho Siempre Verde Christmas Tree Farm! We drove past MANY other places to find a Christmas tree on our way to Pescadero, where this special destination is located. Luckily my children (ages 8, 12, 14) don’t pay attention to such things if they’re holding onto their tablets.
When we arrived at the tree farm to the fresh air smell and muddy ground, the long drive was instantly forgotten. Our day trip was so much fun that my husband suggested we make it a weekend trip next time.
Note to self for the future: Book a cabin in Pescadero and combine it with a jaunt to Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals, which arrive at the same time as the Christmas trees each year.
Choosing a Christmas tree at Rancho Siempre Verde
Choose a cut tree or cut your own. Hike around or hop on a tractor. Wander through the growing baby trees getting ready for future seasons or wrestle your brothers in the mud.
November 19, 2022, is the opening day for the tree farm with plans to be open most following Friday, Saturday, and Sundays until Christmas, rain or shine, or until the trees are gone.
What to do at Rancho Siempre Verde besides choosing a Christmas tree
Shhh, don’t tell the nice tree farmers at Rancho Siempre Verde that we have a fake tree at home. We wanted to indulge in farm family fun so we came anyway and explored. The first thing you’ll notice when you step out of the car and run up the muddy driveway is the amazing tree swings.
There are glorious tree swings for one kid, two kids, big adults, spinning kids, flying high, and just about every other scenario you need want to see. Yes, we all had to take turns, but there were plenty for everyone.
Ten wreath-making tables are set up so that many people can create at the same time. Purchase a wreath frame for $20-$25 and you’re good to go. The super friendly staff will teach you how to do it. Use their hand tools, table clamps, and many tree scraps to build your masterpiece. Some experienced folks brought extra doodads and ribbons to insert into their wreaths from home.
You can also purchase staff-made wreaths for $35-$40.
More fun activities: Tractor rides are available to those hunting for trees deeper in the farms or to families wishing for a ride. You’ll also find a bonfire for roasting marshmallows and a giant xylophone at the top of the hill.
Plan your visit to Rancho Siempre Verde in Pescadero
Hours and dates
In 2022, Rancho Siempre is open beginning Saturday November 19 from 9 am to 5 pm rain or shine* but closed for any big storms. The rest of the Winter Christmas Tree Festival dates are as follows:
November – Sat & Sun – 19 & 20
November – Fri, Sat & Sun – 25, 26 & 27
December – Fri, Sat & Sun – 2, 3 & 4
December – Fri, Sat & Sun – 9,10 & 11
December – Sat & Sun – 17 & 18
Note for Covid sensitive groups – Fridays (excluding Friday, Nov. 25) will be more limited numbers of visitors to the farm and better suited to meet the needs of Covid sensitive people and pod groups.
- Muddy. Bring towels, wear rain boots, bring extra clothes, don’t wear anything too precious. Do all the stuff!
- Allow plenty of time. Let the magic unfold.
Trees you cut yourself are $120 no matter what size you choose. Pre-cut trees are $130 for Noble Fir or Silvertip Fir that range from 6′ to 9′. Wreaths are $20-$40. Ornament making is $10 when supplies are available. Other activities are free.
If you come to play and do not plan to buy anything, they will ask for $30 parking fees, so go on, buy a wreath and make some ornaments — it’s fun!
[Photos were taken by Heather Flett]