The pioneer town of Fruita is long gone, but its orchards remain, within the bounds of Capitol Reef National Park. The orchards contain about 3,100 trees including cherry, apricot, peach, pear, apple, plum, mulberry, almond and walnut. The National Park Service maintains the orchards year round with historic cultural irrigation practices, pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping and grafting.
Fruit comes with beauty and fresh air! The three- to four-hour drive from SLC will land you in a world-class hiking area and you can partake of the “u-pick” practice common of yesteryear, returning home with Utah-grown fresh fruit to preserve for winter.
Hand-held fruit pickers and ladders are provided. (Tempting as it may be, do not climb these historic trees.) Bring your own bags and baskets. You’ll see the self-pay station with scales and signs listing fruit prices. (Eat to your heart’s content for free while you’re picking, however!)
Apricots are running late this year, and should be available into early August. They cost $1/lb. or $20/bushel (approx. 50 lbs.) Expect peaches, pears and plums later this month, with apples in September and October.
Signs will be posted when an orchard is open for picking. To find out beforehand what’s available when, call the park’s hotline for a recorded message: (435) 425-3791. Also see Capitol Reef National Park’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.