Capitol Reef Orchards

apricots on a tree. An old barn and red cliffs in the background
Apricots in the Gifford orchard

NPS / Shauna Cotrell

Quick Facts
Fruita District

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot

The Fruita Orchards

The orchards along the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek are remnants of the pioneer community of Fruita, settled in 1880. These relics of the area’s history serve as a connection to Fruita’s pioneer agricultural tradition and embody a living connection between local residents and their history and culture. They also provide food to visitors and park employees. The trees survive due to a delicate balance between the local climate and the availability of irrigation water. As the climate changes, warmer and drier conditions increase concerns for water availablility, and add new challenges to the management of the historic orchards.


No more than 10 families lived in Fruita at any one time; the last resident moved away in 1969. These early settlers planted the orchards as a cash crop and for subsistence. Today, the orchards are preserved and protected as part of the Fruita Rural Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The orchards contain approximately 1,900 trees, including cherry, apricot, peach, nectarine, pear, apple, plum, mulberry, quince, almond, pecan, and walnut. Many are heirloom varieties. The National Park Service maintains the orchards year-round through pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping, grafting, and historic irrigation methods.


  • Check at the visitor center for information on orchards that are open for fruit picking. Fruit may not be harvested and taken from the orchard until the orchard is posted as open for picking.
  • You are welcome to stroll in any unlocked orchard.
  • You may sample ripe fruit in any unlocked orchard. There is no charge for fruit consumed in the orchards.
  • 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.
  • Read and follow the ladder safety signs posted in the orchards.

Capitol Reef National Park

Last updated: January 11, 2021