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gem icon Fruita Orchards [Suggest Edits]

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A desert escape might be what draws most visitors to Capitol Reef National Park, but a trip to this spectacular park would be remiss without stopping at the improbable Gifford Homestead fruit orchards.

While you're more likely to see cactus and other desert-faring plants throughout the park, the Gifford Homestead fruit orchards are a testament to the ingenuity of Fruita's early pioneers and underscore the importance of the Freemont River. Situated on the banks of the river about two miles from the main visitor center, the fruit orchards are still active today. Many varieties of fruit tree were planted by the first settlers of the area including apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, plums, almonds, and walnuts. No more than 10 families lived in the area at one time, and the groves were able to provide much-needed sustenance as well as served as an important cash crop for the pioneers. While the full-time residents had all moved away by 1970, 3,100 trees remain as an important reminder of their presence.

The National Park Service continues to maintain the orchards, performing the necessary pruning, grafting, mapping, and irrigation that keeps the trees healthy. All of the trees continue to bear fruit, and visitors are welcome to sample the harvest of the orchards in season. Please note that only unlocked orchards are open to picking, and available orchards will have ample signage indicating that the public is welcome. If you intend to leave with your harvest, you'll have to pay at one of the self-service pay stations, where plastic bags and prices are located. Please remember that some of these trees are over 125 years old, and they deserve respect. Never climb the trees, and instead utilize the tools that the National Park Service provides.

For more information on flowering and harvesting seasons, click here.

Short Walk: Most of the orchard groves are located a short jaunt away from a visitor center, campground, or parking area.

Family Friendly: Especially if you're visiting during harvesting season, youngsters will love the chance to pick and eat their own fruit from these historic trees.

Gem Type: Historic Site

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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May 22, 2022
Merritt Stanton
Many orchard trees in several areas. No fruit but 2 small deer!
Oct 20, 2021
Keri Chipman
Check
Aug 15, 2021
Andrew Peckens
Viewed orchards from the road. Stopped at Gifford House for pie and ice cream. Stopped to view petroglyphs.
Jul 18, 2021
Ronald Albright
Picked apricots.
Jul 4, 2021
Elisa Schmitz
Picked apricots and had amazing pies at Giffords
Apr 21, 2021
Matt Culpepper
Some nice apple and pear buds, resident deer and marmot, and great campground set in a majestic red rock valley
Mar 18, 2021
Rachel Wenick
Oct 3, 2020
Terri Reynolds Ghent
No fruit was available to pick during our trip.

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Sep 8, 2016. All Page Views: 694. Last Month: 4.