The orchards that lie within a mile or two of the visitor center are evident remnants of the pioneer community of Fruita, settled in 1880. Many varieties of heirloom fruit are found in Capitol Reef's historic orchards.
Latter Day Saint (Mormon) pioneers planted thousands of fruit trees in the fertile Fremont River Valley. From the 1880s to 1960s, these trees provided food and income to the ten or so families who called Fruita home. Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums dotted each family’s orchards.
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 1,900 trees.
Orchard Management Today
Park staff maintain the historic character of these extensive orchards using heritage techniques. The same flood irrigation ditches pioneers dug in the 1880s water the trees today. Pioneers faced floods and droughts. Today the climate poses challenges for managers. Warmer temperatures may cause trees to bloom early or out of sync with pollinators. These changes could reduce the harvest. The National Park Service maintains the orchards year round with historic cultural irrigation practices, pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping, and grafting. Preserving healthy orchards remains a central goal for Capitol Reef National Park.
Only harvest ripe fruit from orchards that have “U-Pick Fruit” signs.
Please do not pick unripe fruit. Posted signs will indicate which type of fruit is available for picking. Fruit is ripe if it easily comes off tree.
Fenced orchard hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Unfenced orchard hours: Dawn to dusk.
Never climb the trees. Use provided hand pickers and ladders to reach ripe fruit, and return pickers to weigh station when done.
Never use hammocks or slacklines in the orchards. Never attach anything to the trees. Fruit trees are easily damaged.
Leashed pets are permitted inside the orchards.
Do not touch the objects hanging from branches. Pheromone disruptors and traps for insect control should not be handled.
Your safety is your responsibility.
All money collected from fruit sales supports the preservation of these historic orchards. Non-payment of orchard fees may result in a citation and fine.
Range of Flowering and Harvesting Times
Cherries: March 31 - April 19
Apricots (early): February 27 - March 20
Apricots (regular): March 7 - April 13
Peaches: March 26 - April 23
Pears: March 31 - May 3
Apples: April 10 - May 6
Cherries: June 11 - July 7
Apricots (early): June 27 - July 22
Apricots (regular): June 28 - July 18
Peaches: August 4 - September 6
Pears: August 7 - September 8
Apples: September 4 - October 17
Depending on how cold (or warm) winters are, blossom and harvest times can vary up to a few weeks earlier or later that the ranges given above . For updated fruit blossom and harvest times, call the park's information line at (435) 425-3791. After the introduction, press #1 for visitor information, and then press #5 for the fruit hotline.
Fruit blossom and harvest times will also be updated on the park's Facebook and Twitter feeds.