I grew up in El Dorado Hills, a small town in between Sacramento and Tahoe, and Apple Hill was a popular destination for elementary school field trips. But you know what’s crazy? I hadn’t been to Apple Hill since I was a kid! I’ve been wanting to go back for years to experience it as an adult (apple cider! apple wine!), but we just hadn’t made it happen. So this year I wanted to be sure to make the trip while we were home visiting family one autumn weekend.
Omied’s family has been going to Apple Hill pretty regularly over the years, so he had a pretty good sense of the best spots and which ones to avoid. We had so much fun picking apples and trying all of the apple desserts!
When I was first researching which orchards to go to in Apple Hill, it was honestly really confusing. There are 47 apple farms to choose from! And they all have different activities, desserts, specialties, etc. To top it off, they’re not the easiest to contact—I tried calling a few to get more info but often times they don’t pick up the phone, likely because people at the farm are busy or out and about, or just straight up closed on weekdays.
Where is Apple Hill?
Apple Hill is located in El Dorado County, just over an hour’s drive from South Lake Tahoe.
When is the best time to visit Apple Hill?
If you’re looking to go Apple picking, mid-September is an ideal time to go. We went the first weekend of September which was right when most of the farms, and it was a). hot AF and b). a little bit too early for the apples. Some of them were ripe but many of them needed an extra week or so.
If you’re able to go on a Friday, definitely opt for that over a Saturday/Sunday. Apple Hill can get packed on the weekends, especially later in the season, and since so many of the orchards have small roads and parking lots, it can create a lot of traffic jams.
Most apple farms are open from 10am – 5pm, but definitely check online for accurate hours. Also, if you happen to be traveling during the week, note that a lot of farms are only open Friday – Sunday.
After apple season, a lot of Apple Hill farms also have pumpkin patches in October and Christmas tree farms in December!
The best orchards to visit in Apple Hill
Delfino Farms #5: Delfino Farms is a cute spot and everyone that worked there was super nice. We had to trie their pies that I’d seen on Instagram—they call them their walkin’ pies, and it’s basically an apple pie covered with this delicious, flaky crust, with a bunch of ice cream on top. It was absolutely killer. Omied also tried and loved their dry apple cider. Delfino Farms also has really pretty views and a trail you can hike down, so I’d recommend bringing shoes for that if you’re up for a nature stroll after your pie.
Larsen Apple Barn & Bake Shop Farm #9: Larsen’s is a super popular stop at Apple Hill. They have some of the best apple and pear juice, as well as delicious shelled nuts and of course, baked goods.
Rainbow Orchards Farm #10: Rainbow Orchards is known for their hot apple cider doughnuts, and I can confirm they were delicious. We also got corndogs there for a quick lunch and those were bomb too!
High Hill Ranch Farm #1: This is the biggest of the Apple Hill centers and TBH it can be kind of a shit show on a weekend in October and I would avoid it during that time of year. But since we were there early in the season, it was fine and we found a parking spot no problem. There’s a market here with a ton of delicious apple and other fall products to peruse. We ended up getting some pumpkin pancake mix and pumpkin syrup. They also have allll the apple desserts, drinks, and really good kettle corn.
Denver Dan’s Apple Patch Farm #14: Not a lot of places in Apple Hill do u-pick, and I really wanted to make sure I got to pick my own apples (even if only for the ‘gram!). Denver Dan’s was open right at the start of the season and while most of their apples weren’t ripe yet, we still had fun picking some.
Goyettes North Canyon Ranch Farm #21: We didn’t make it here on our trip to Apple Hill, but it comes highly recommended by my friend Kara from Whimsy Soul. It looks super cute and they do u-pick your own apples.
Boeger Winery Farm #32: If you’re looking to do some wine tasting, head to Boeger Winery. The grounds are beautiful and it’s the perfect spot to wine-down.
That’s my roundup of the best spots in Apple Hill! You can also check the Apple Hill events calendar to see when things like pumpkin patches open or if there’s anything coming up that peaks your interest!
Looking for more fun things to do this fall? Check out my fall bucket list.