The chance to enjoy Capitol Reef National Park’s most unique activity is fast approaching. Capitol Reef fruit picking is a fun activity that guests and locals alike look forward to every year. The Fruita orchards are a historic landmark located within the national park. Every year, the orchards bloom and then fruit, and visitors to the park can pick the fruit for a small fee.
Park officials recently announced that because of good spring weather and low pest pressure so far, the 2023 harvest outlook is optimistic. This means that they expect fruit picking in Capitol Reef to be great this year.
Whether you’re planning your first visit or you’ve already had a chance to enjoy this unique activity, a stay at Chuckwagon Lodge is a must. Keep reading to learn more about this year’s harvest season and some tips to plan a fall visit to our Torrey hotel.
The 2023 Harvest Season in Capitol Reef
If you’ve been dreaming of going fruit picking in Capitol Reef National Park, 2023 is a great year to do so. Following a pleasant spring, the National Park Service has said that if current field conditions continue, many of the crops grown in the Fruita orchards will have a good season. Apricots, in particular, are set to have a strong crop. Peaches, apples, and pears are expected to have an average season.
Two crops, cherries and plums, are expected to have a more limited harvest in 2023. The cherry trees in the Fruita orchards were impacted by insect and irrigation pressures in recent years, and many of the trees have begun to decline due to age. However, the National Park Service planted 131 cherry trees this past spring and plans to continue to plant cherry and peach trees in the coming years to help replace the aging trees and improve harvests in the future.
When Will the Fruit Be Ready to Pick?
Capitol Reef fruit picking is a much-anticipated activity in the park each year. The dates for the harvest of the different fruits grown in the orchards vary each year depending on weather and growth patterns. In most years, harvest occurs in 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
This year, the National Park Service has announced that they expect apricots and sweet cherries in the Fruita orchards to be ready for harvest starting in early July, marking the start of the harvest season. The peaches are expected to be ready for harvest in late August or early September. Apples and pears could be ready to pick starting in late August or early September as well.
If you’re wondering what fruits are available for picking during your stay in our Torrey hotel, you can call the fruit hotline at (435) 425-3791.
What You Need to Know About Capitol Reef Fruit Picking
The historic Fruita orchards have been maintained by the National Park Service since 1969 when Fruita was made a part of Capitol Reef National Park. To help offset the costs of maintaining the orchards using historic fruit production methods, visitors must pay a fee to pick and take home fruit from the orchards.
“U-Pick Fruit” signs are placed in rows of trees where the fruit is ready for harvest each day. Visitors can pick the fruit that they would like to take, and then weigh and purchase their harvest at the self-pay stations located near the entrance to the orchard.
Baskets and tools are available for you to use while fruit-picking in Capitol Reef. Never climb the trees or pick fruit that isn’t ripe. You can wander unfenced orchards even when they aren’t open for harvest.
Planning Your Fall Visit to Chuckwagon Lodge
Capitol Reef fruit picking is one of the most unique activities you could enjoy during your next stay at Chuckwagon Lodge. Plan a romantic afternoon wandering the orchards with a loved one, or make a fun family day of it, with fruit picking and a stop at the Gifford House for some snacks.
Our Torrey hotel is the perfect base camp for your next Capitol Reef National Park adventure. Located just under five miles from the entrance to the park, you can get to and from Capitol Reef with ease each day, while still having time to make it back to the hotel for an afternoon dip in the pool! Our resort is also centrally located to enjoy some of the other national and outdoor destinations that Southern Utah has to offer.
Ready to start planning your own fall visit to Capitol Reef? Now is a great time to plan a trip. For a limited time, when you book a stay of three or more nights, you’ll enjoy a 25 percent discount on your stay at our Torrey hotel. Book today to take advantage of these savings!