Cougar Ridge

The 2024 Guide to Visiting the Fruita Orchards

Apr 7, 2024 | Activities & Adventure, Capitol Reef National Park, National Parks, Our Blog | 0 comments

While hiking and scenic drives are arguably some of the most popular things to do in Capitol Reef National Park, one activity stands out as perhaps the most unique. When most people think about visiting Utah’s five national parks, they think of red rock deserts, towering rock formations, and vast landscapes. This is why many first-time visitors to Capitol Reef and Cougar Ridge are surprised to learn that the park is home to lush orchards.

These orchards were planted by the last settlers to call the national park home. Latter-day Saints pioneers who developed several towns near present-day Torrey, Utah farmed the fertile soil along the Fremont River from the 1880s until the 1960s. They planted thousands of fruit trees, including trees producing apples, peaches, pears, plums, and cherries. 

While the last of the settlers left their land behind when it was purchased by the National Park Service, their orchards were preserved. Today, the National Park Service manages the orchards, and the public is welcome to enjoy them year-round. In the summer and fall, guests can even pick and purchase fruit to enjoy and take home.

If you’re planning a stay in our Fruita, Utah hotel in 2024, keep reading to learn what you need to know to visit the orchards during your stay.

When to Expect Spring Blooms

The summer and fall seasons are popular times to visit Fruita’s orchards. Depending on when you visit, you might get the chance to pick your own fruit from the orchards. But while the harvest season may still be months away, spring is a great time to visit Fruita.

The very first fruit blossoms arrived in the orchards in mid-March this year, with the apricot trees blooming first. Through April, the peach, apple, plum, and pear trees will bloom as well.

While the exact dates vary each year based on weather and temperatures, if you’re hoping to see the orchards in bloom during your stay in the best hotels Torrey, Utah has to offer, plan to visit during the following times:

  • March 31 to April 19: Cherries
  • February 27 to March 20: Apricots (early blooms)
  • March 7 to April 13: Apricots (regular blooms)
  • March 26 to May 3: Peaches
  • March 31 to May 3: Pears
  • April 10 to May 6: Apples

Visiting During Harvest Season

The chance to experience the spring blooms is enough of a reason to plan a stay in our Fruita, Utah hotel. But arguably the best time of year to visit the park is during the harvest season. Starting in late June and lasting into October, harvest season means the chance to enjoy one of the most unique things to do in Capitol Reef; picking fruit. 

Each of the different varieties of fruit trees is available to harvest at different times, which vary each year depending on the weather. Most years, you can expect the harvest times to follow within the following windows:

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

It’s not unusual for the harvest times to be several weeks earlier or later than those windows. If you want to check in on the current harvest season, you can call the park’s information hotline at (435) 425-3791, and press #1 for visitor information after the introduction, then #5 for the fruit hotline.

Rules for Visiting the Orchards 

No matter what time of year you plan to visit the Fruita orchards, there are a few rules that you’ll need to know.

There are two varieties of orchards: fenced and unfenced. Unfenced orchards are open from dawn to dusk each day. Fenced orchards are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily throughout the year. Never climb the fruit trees, even during the harvest season. Ladders and hand pickers are provided to help you get to hard-to-reach fruit. Never use hammocks or slacklines in the orchards, as these can damage the trees.

Pets are allowed in the orchards throughout the year. However, they must be kept on a leash, and pet owners must clean up after them. Pheromone disruptors and insect traps are often hung in the trees, and should not be touched.

When an orchard is open for harvest, a sign will be posted. Visitors can use the provided hand tools and ladders to access the fruit. You can pay for any fruit that you pick at the self-service stations at the front of the orchards.

Planning a Stay in Our Fruita, Utah Hotel

A visit to the Fruita orchards is a must if you’re planning a stay at Cougar Ridge. Whether you’re here for the spring blooms or the harvest season, there’s always something new to experience.

Ready to start planning your stay in our Fruita, Utah hotel? Check out our beautiful villas today!

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