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.
History Early settlers planted the orchards as a cash crop and for subsistence. No more than ten 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.
Harvest You are welcome to stroll in any unlocked orchard but fruit may not be picked until the orchard is posted as open for picking. When permitted, you may sample ripe fruit in any unlocked orchard. 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 and signs listing fruit prices is located near the entrance of orchards open for fruit harvest. Bring your own bags. Ladders and hand-held fruit pickers are provided to help you reach the fruit. Climbing the fruit trees is strictly prohibited. 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 orchard 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 three rungs and avoid leaning to either side when picking. Children should not use the ladders unsupervised. Please act safely and treat these historic trees gently.
Range of Flowering and Harvesting Times
Cherries: March 31 - April 19
Apricots: February 27 - March 20 (early)
March 7 - April 13 (regular)
Peaches: March 26 - April 23
Pears: March 31 - May 3
Apples: April 10 - May 6
Cherries: June 11 - July 7
Apricots: June 27 - July 22 (early)
June 28 - July 18 (regular)
Peaches: August 4 - September 6
Pears: August 7 - September 8
Apples: September 4 - October 17
For updated fruit blossom and harvest times, call the park's information line. 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.