Addendum effective June 26, 2012: Orchard openings have changed due to wildlife eating the apricots. Wednesday June 27, the Mulford, Gifford, Merin Smith, Cook, and Mott orchards will be opening. The Johnson and Adams will not open at all due to the lack of fruit. There are currently no plans to open other orchards on July 3.
Contact: Cindy Micheli, (435) 425-4111
The apricot harvest is beginning at Capitol Reef National Park's historic orchards. Apricots are available for $1.00 a pound, beginning Wednesday, June 27, in the Mulford, Gifford and Johnson Orchards, all located south of the visitor center along the Scenic Drive. Fee stations with scales for weighing fruit are provided in each open orchard. There is no charge for fruit consumed in the orchards. Fenced orchards are open from 9am to 5pm; unfenced orchards remain open during daylight hours.
Apricots will be available for harvest in the Smith, Cook, Adams and Mott Orchards, beginning Tuesday, July 3. These orchards are all located within one mile of the visitor center along the Scenic Drive or Highway 24.
Additional fruit harvest information is recorded on the Capitol Reef Fruit Hotline as fruit ripens and specific harvest start dates are determined. The fruit hotline may be reached by calling (435) 425-3791. Once the park number connects, press one for general information and at the voice prompt for the orchard hotline, press five.
Climbing fruit trees is not permitted in the park. The National Park Service provides special fruit picking ladders. Use care when picking fruit and carefully read and follow posted instructions on fruit picking and ladder use.
Capitol Reef National Park uses the receipts from fruit sales to defray the cost of maintaining the orchards. The historic Fruita orchards are among the largest in the National Park System and were established beginning in the 1880s by pioneer residents of Fruita.
Did You Know?
Desert bighorn sheep, once common in the Capitol Reef area, were reintroduced in 1996 and 1997, and have since thrived here. Visitors have reported seeing them in Capitol Gorge, Grand Wash, and along the Fremont River corridor.