Cougar Ridge

The 2023 Guide to Fruit Picking in Capitol Reef National Park

Aug 15, 2023 | Capitol Reef National Park, National Parks, Things to do in Utah | 0 comments

Traveling through Capitol Reef National Park today, it can be difficult to imagine people living in the remote and sometimes challenging wilderness. But look closely, and you’ll find the evidence. Some big examples are the Capitol Reef petroglyphs, the Gifford Homestead, the Fruita Schoolhouse—and the nearly 2,000 fruit trees located in the Capitol Reef orchards.

These trees are the largest reminder that Latter-Day Saints pioneers were living in and around the park prior to its creation and later its expansion in the 1960s. They provided both food and income to the families of Fruita. When those families left the area in the 1960s, the trees remained, and park staff took over their care. Until the 1990s, they used modern commercial varieties of trees anytime they needed to be replaced. But more recently historic methods of varieties of trees have been used to help preserve the orchards for future generations.

The 2023 harvest season in the Capitol Reef orchards has already begun. If you have a visit to Cougar Ridge and our Torrey UT vacation rentals this fall or late summer, keep reading to learn what you need to know about the 2023 fruit picking season.

The 2023 Harvest Season in Capitol Reef

From the 1880s to the 1960s, the families of Fruita planted apricots, cherries, pears, peaches, apples, and plums in their orchards. Today, only apricots, pears, peaches, and apples remain. These trees bloom with bright flowers beginning in early to late March depending on the trees, finishing by mid-April or early May.

But the most popular season in the Fruita orchards is harvest season. Visitors to our Torrey UT vacation rentals often plan their visits around the chance to experience fruit picking in the national park.

Most years, the harvest season for each of the four fruits is:

  • Apricots: late June to mid-July
  • Peaches: late July to early September
  • Pears: early August to early September
  • Apples: mid-August to mid-October

However, these harvest times can vary by several weeks in either direction depending on the weather and temperatures of the growing season.

Planning Your Day of Fruit Picking

If you’re hoping to visit the orchards and pick fruit during your stay in Torrey UT hotels, there are a few things you should know.

The first thing is to not rely on the dates listed above alone when planning your stay. As mentioned, harvest times vary from year to year. The best way to stay up-to-date with the harvest season and available fruit-picking times during your stay in Torrey UT vacation rentals is to follow the Capitol Reef National Park Facebook page. They regularly post updates about when different orchards are open for fruit picking.

Check this page in the lead-up to your stay in Torrey hotels, and on any days you’re planning to head into the park to pick fruit. Not only will this let you know which fruits are ready for harvest, but it also tells you which orchards are open for U-Pick. The park’s orchards have several different varieties of apples, for instance. These may not be available for picking at the same time. Checking out the Facebook page will let you know which varieties are available for picking each day.

Another important thing to note is that orchards may open and close on a day-to-day basis. After a few days of heavy picking, one orchard may close until the remaining fruit is ready to be picked, and then open again at a later date.

How to Pick Fruit During Your Stay in Torrey Hotels

After checking the Facebook page, head to the park. Once in historic Fruita, look for the “U-Pick Fruit” signs. These signs indicate which orchards are open for harvest. You’ll also find posted rules letting you know what you can and can’t do while in the orchards.

While strolling the orchards, only pick ripe fruit. If you’re unsure of what this looks like, look for the posted signs letting you know which fruit is available at that time. When fruit is ripe, it will easily come off the tree.

Never climb a tree to pick fruit. Many of the trees are historic and can be easily damaged. Hand pickers and ladders are provided in the orchards to help you get to hard-to-reach fruit. You can find these near the self-pay stations. 

Any fruit that you pick must be paid for at the self-pay station located near the entrance to the orchards that are open for harvest. Here, you’ll weigh your fruit and pay.

Visiting Torrey UT Vacation Rentals During Harvest Season

Picking fruit in the national park is a popular activity for guests of our Torrey UT vacation rentals this time of year. If you want to get a taste for the park’s fruit but don’t want to pick it, you can also stop by the Gifford House to purchase homemade pies, jellies, jams, and more, some of which are made using fruit picked right there in Capitol Reef.

Ready to start planning your late summer or fall visit to Cougar Ridge? There’s still time to take advantage of our Summer in Capitol Reef sale! When you book a stay of three or more nights before September 30, you can enjoy a 25 percent discount on your stay! Book today to take advantage of this deal!

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