Early settlers planted the orchards as a cash crop and for subsistence. No more than 10 families lived in Fruita at any one time, and the last residents moved away in 1969. Today, the orchards are preserved and protected as part of the Fruita Rural Historic Landscape listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The orchards contain approximately 3,100 trees including cherry, apricot, peach, pear, apple, plum, mulberry, almond, and walnut. The National Park Service now maintains the orchards year round with historic cultural irrigation practices, pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping, and grafting.
You are welcome to stroll in any unlocked orchard and consume ripe fruit while in the orchards. Fruit may not be picked in quantity until the designated harvest begins; orchards that are open for picking are signed as such. Fruit taken from the orchards must be paid for. A self-pay station with scales, plastic bags, and signs listing fruit prices is located near the entrance of orchards open for fruit harvest. Please select only ripe fruit and leave the rest to ripen for other visitors.
Hand-held fruit pickers and ladders are provided to aid in picking. Never climb these historic trees. Please read the safety signs located near the orchard entrance before using orchad ladders. Be sure the ladder is on firm, level ground with the third leg fully extended and the chains pulled tight. Do not stand on the top 3 rungs and avoid leaning to either side when picking. Children should not use the ladders unsupervised. The orchards can add much to your Capitol Reef visit. Please act safely and treat these historic trees gently.
APPROXIMATE FLOWERING AND HARVESTING TIMES
Cherries 3/31 - 4/19 6/11 - 7/7
Apricots (early) 2/27 - 3/20 6/27 - 7/22
Apricots (regular) 3/7 - 4/13 6/28 - 7/18
Peaches 3/26 - 4/23 8/4 - 9/6
Pears 3/31 - 5/3 8/7 - 9/8
Apples 4/10 - 5/6 9/4 - 10/17