Follow The 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree From Colorado to The U.S. Capitol
Live Tracking begins November 10, 2020
Nestled atop Wright’s Mesa at 7000 feet, Norwood has spectacular vistas of high alpine and wild desert country. Far horizons are ringed by the La Sal Mountains in the west, the Uncompahgre Plateau to the north, the San Juan Mountains in the east and, to the south is Norwood’s own jewel, Lone Cone Peak. Rugged desert canyons etch the landscape between.
Meet Montrose: This beautiful Western Colorado community is nestled within easy reach of a remarkably vast selection of vacation experiences. Thus the slogan “Stay here. Play everywhere.” With the plummeting depths of the Black Canyon National Park just to the east, the towering and majestic San Juan Mountains to the south, the expansive Uncompahgre Plateau to the west, and lake-bejeweled Grand Mesa to the north, and an expansive water sports park right in the middle of town, Montrose is literally surrounded by an endless variety of prospects for exploration and adventure. There is something for everyone!
Ouray has been a special destination of world travelers for more than 100 years. This small intimate community is nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies. Set at the narrow head of a valley at 7,792 feet and surrounded on three sides with 13,000 foot snowcapped peaks - Ouray is home to hundreds of miles of historic Jeep roads, sulfur-free hot springs with stunning views, and the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.
Discover beautiful Downtown Grand Junction, Colorado! With over 200 retail shops, restaurants, and services, we are the heart and soul of Western Colorado. Downtown Grand Junction is also home to a vibrant public art scene, including GJ Creates - a state certified creative district.
Paonia is a unique town, settled by farmers, ranchers and miners, now home to artists and outdoor lovers as well. It consistently ranks as one of the “coolest” Colorado mountain towns, and that’s saying something! Paonia is naturally air conditioned by warm air flowing up the valley at night and cool air from the mountains during the day resulting in optimal conditions for growing cherries, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, pears, nectarines and apples. Paonia is a real hotbed of organic farming, sustainably raised meats, value added products, organic hops and a truly remarkable wine industry. Paonia is a focal point of back roads and trails leading into the forest, attracting hunters, hikers bicyclists and cross-country skiers. Hunters outfit themselves in Paonia before setting out to get their elk, deer, and bear. Few places offer such a wonderful combination of climate, scenery, lifestyle and recreation. The art scene is alive and well in Paonia. The North Fork Valley is a “Certified Colorado Creative District,” and home to many creatives, including painters, jewelers, dancers, actors, musicians and other artisans.
Incorporated on February 28, 1880, the City of Gunnison is the gateway to the beautiful Gunnison Valley, Located in the deep heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 7,703 feet, Gunnison is home to nearly 7,000 residents. It is the county seat and largest municipality in Gunnison County. Our Rocky Mountain city is an active, outdoor-oriented community with year-round activities for visitors and residents alike. The City acts as a base for access to regional natural areas such as Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, Curecanti National Recreation Area, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. In addition to close access to world-class skiing, fishing and mountain biking, Gunnison embraces its agricultural and ranching history. The City annually hosts Cattleman’s Days Rodeo that has been held continuously since 1900. Gunnison is also home to Western Colorado University, a four-year public, liberal arts university with a selection of graduate programs. The City of Gunnison is proud to be a part of the Engelmann Spruces’ journey from the GMUG National Forests to Washington, D.C. this holiday season to stand as the 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
The community of Salida is thrilled to welcome the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour to Chaffee County! Salida is known to many as the "Heart of the Rockies," located at the southern end of the Arkansas River Valley only 20 miles away from the Continental Divide. We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to share a special connection with our Nation’s Christmas Tree before it heads to Washington, D.C.!
Bass Pro Shops is a longtime partner of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative in support of its mission of inspiring people to enjoy & protect the great outdoors. Designed to compliment the outdoors, the 180,000-square foot building in Denver is part museum, part art gallery, and part education center. As a destination location, the store offers visitors a glimpse at Colorado’s majestic past and present.
Colorado’s Central Plains hold a magic all their own with oceans of wheat and corn surrounding the area. With 256 days of sunshine, the City of Burlington is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Home to the Kit Carson County Carousel and Old Town Museum, there is much to see and do in Burlington!
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina is known for its breathtaking beauty, vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, craft breweries, galleries, and museums. Historically, Asheville was a crossroads for Native Americans and frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, an outpost for many on a plateau surrounded by mountains and rivers on all sides. Today, Asheville is the ultimate playground blending rich history, creative culture, and natural adventure. There's something special about Asheville, and the world is just beginning to discover it.
Joint Base Andrews is the premier joint base in the National Capital Region; home to the 316th Wing, 89th Airlift Wing and Air Force One, 113th Wing, ANG Readiness Center, 459th Air Refueling Wing and Naval Air Facility Washington. The base is the last stop for the tree , with serviceman and women helping to unwrap the tree before it is delivered to the U.S. Capitol.
The original historic log ranger station was constructed between 1916 and 1936, on the rim of the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose. The structure burned down in 1977, but the new modern Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) cabin and garage build in 1936 still remain. The property includes a log cabin and a picturesque barn and pastures. The Silesca Ranger Station’s significance is manifested in the materials and construction style of the structures present in the surrounding landscape. Silesca reflects the regional style mandated by the Forest Service for woodland areas during the CCC-era. Adherence to this style, as well as the method of its construction and placement within the Uncompahgre National Forest, demonstrates attempts at economic development in the western Rocky Mountain region during the implementation of Roosevelt’s New Deal, federal influence over our nation’s natural resources, and the visibility of Forest Service Administration sites as a reflection of that influence. This historic ranger station is listed on the National Register for its historical significance.
Fort Peabody is located above Imogene Pass at an elevation of 13,114 ft. It straddles the line between Ouray/San Miguel County in the Uncompahgre National Forest. Fort Peabody was built in 1904 during the height of statewide labor disturbances, when the Western Federation of miners was managing strikes in the San Juan, Cripple Creek, Colorado City and other mining districts across the state. The fort was specifically built as a sentry post for the Colorado National Guard. Although the site is clearly significant in the state’s dramatic labor and mining history, it is perhaps even more noteworthy that Fort Peabody may be the highest and only remaining sentry post in the state.
The byway circles the rugged West Elk Mountains. It has been described by a forest ranger as "the closest you can come to a wilderness experience in a passenger car." The 204 miles of two-lane roads through rural western Colorado touches three designated Wilderness Areas and passes through thousands of acres of National Forest. The Byway follows the narrow alignment of long gone railroad grades, the faint wagon tracks of the earliest explorers and the ancient pathways of Ute Indians. Recreational opportunities abound with skiing, hiking, backpacking, photography, cycling, rock climbing and wildlife viewing.
The Alpine Tunnel is a 1,772 ft. long narrow-gauge railroad tunnel at an elevation of 11,523 feet, which in 1882 made it the highest railroad tunnel in North America! It was the first tunnel built through the Continental Divide in Colorado. Construction first began in 1880 and was meant to only last 6 months, but it dragged out for 2 years finally completed in 1882. However, the operation of the railroad through the tunnel was short lived. Due to damage in the tunnel it was abandoned in 1910.
Raber Cow Camp was used by the Raber family from the 1930s until 1966. The cow camp was occupied during the summers when the family moved cattle from the nearby lowlands to the well-watered grasslands on top of Grand Mesa. The cow camps on Grand Mesa were largely abandoned after the advent of better roads and modern transportation that allowed grazing permittees to travel up and down the mesa in a single day. Winifred Raber, who stayed at the cow camp every summer from the 1930s until 1966, has helped document the history of the camp. Some of her recollections and photographs are presented along a short interpretive trail that visitors can walk to learn about the cow camp’s history. The cabins were preserved in 1998 in partnership with the Colorado State Historic fund.
Between Whitewater and Placerville, the 138-mile paved byway follows Colorado 141 from Whitewater over the Uncompahgre Plateau to Gateway, where it winds up the Dolores River Canyon. Above the confluence of the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers, the byway follows the San Miguel. Past Naturita, the byway takes Colorado 145 up onto Wrights Mesa through Norwood, and back down into the San Miguel River Canyon to Placerville. It is a fabulous journey through history, geology, culture and nature. Visit the historic Driggs Mansion or the Hanging Flume and step back into history to a much simpler time. This ageless desert region offers sheer scenic wonder - striated cliffs towering a thousand feet overhead, raging streams, and boundless skies – truly inspiring!
Raggeds Wilderness covers 65,443 acres spanning Gunnison and White River National Forests. Elevations range from 7,000 to about 13,000 feet. Prominent rocky slopes point upward to a serrated ridge which gives Raggeds Wilderness its name. Ragged Mountain in the northern half rises to 12,094 feet, but other scenic peaks in the area summit higher.
Owl Creek-Cimarron Road surfaced road in the Uncompahgre National Forest- Mountain Division (Ouray Ranger District). This beautiful cruise through forest and pastoral landscapes is particularly appealing in late summer or early fall, when the aspens are turning. Great views of high and jagged Cimarron Ridge, the 12,152-foot monolith of Courthouse Mountain and 11,781-foot Chimney Rock. Owl Creek Pass is 10,114 feet. Owl Creek Pass Road should be open by June.
Fairview Peak Fire Lookout, a one-room stone hut, is located in the Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area outside of Pitkin in the Gunnison National Forest. The Lookout is the highest fire lookout in North America, at 13,214 feet elevation, and was constructed around 1912, just seven years after the Gunnison National Forest was established. It contained a cupola with windows providing a 360-degree view of the surrounding land to a person standing on a small platform inside. A plane table, fire map and alidade were never used at the lookout; however a telegraph line was constructed from the town of Pitkin to the top of the peak, a distance of approximately 10 miles. The tower was manned at least until 1916, this is the last record found detailing work at the lookout. Likely the beginning of the World War ended the period that this lookout was manned.
Lands End Road, surfaced road on the Grand Mesa Geographic Area (Grand Valley Ranger District). This drive includes much of the 55-mile Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway, a fine tour of one of the world’s largest (368,418 acres) flat-topped mountains, more than 11,000 feet high. Look for wildflowers in late spring and summer. It’s a fine autumn drive, too. The vistas take in the Grand Valley, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Plateau, Book Cliffs and Utah’s La Sal Mountains. The mesa’s 300 lakes provide good trout fishing.
Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as "fourteeners" or "14ers" locally) — the most of any state. Located in the northern San Juan Mountains near the town of Lake City, Uncompahgre Peak is Colorado’s sixth highest peak at 14,309 feet.
Located in the northern San Juan Mountains near the town of Lake City, Wetterhorn is the 49th highest peak in Colorado one of Colorado's most picturesque 14ers. It’s located on the Continental Divide and is named after its European counterpart in the Bernese Alps.
The remote and rugged Wilson Group, 13 miles southwest of Telluride are the sentinels of the San Miguel Mountains.
Located in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, it is the prominent peak of the rugged northern San Juan Mountains. Mount Sneffels is notable for its great vertical relief, as it rises 7,200 feet above the towns of Ridgway and Ouray, creating one of the most photographed scenic ridgelines in the area.
The San Juans most eastern peak, San Luis Peak is located in the heart of the La Garita Wilderness, 20 miles east of Lake City and 40 miles south of Gunnison. Because of its remote location, it has fewer visitors and much solitude!
The tradition of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, or "The People’s Tree," began in 1964 when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage. In 1970, the Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide "The People’s Tree." This national forest also works with state forests to provide companion trees that are smaller Christmas trees for offices in Washington, D.C. The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest in Colorado will provide the 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, with Spireon providing GPS tracking of the tree as it makes its journey.
Spireon, the vehicle intelligence company, is proud to join the family of organizations who support the U.S. Capitol Tree tradition. Spireon is the leading provider of aftermarket telematics solutions in North America. By equipping cars, trucks, trailers and other mobile assets with GPS devices and sensors, Spireon turns any vehicle into a connected vehicle. Award-winning products GoldStar, Kahu and FleetLocate deliver 24×7 asset visibility and actionable insights to auto dealers, lenders, transportation companies, service fleet managers, rental car companies and consumers to increase safety and productivity, boost profits and protect assets. Spireon’s NSpire IoT platform powers all Spireon solutions, supporting nearly 4 million active subscribers and processing more than 1 billion data events each month.