Going to Apple Hill Farms in the Sierra foothills is a treasured annual tradition for many Northern Californians, and fall is the most popular time for a visit. From apple picking to trick-or-treating, events at Apple Hill keep families coming back year after year.
Apple Hill is located just outside of El Dorado County and is less than an hour’s drive from the heart of Sacramento and two hours east of San Francisco. Those wanting to experience blue skies, autumn temperatures, and a trip to the countryside go to the many farms located in and around the small town of Camino, California.
You can pick apples, take home an apple pie or pumpkin, chop down a Christmas tree, and enjoy Apple Hill's famous apple doughnuts and cider. The ambiance is unforgettable, and so are the special moments you’ll enjoy with your family and friends.
September Kicks Things Off
September at Apple Hill is when things really get hopping. It's the opening of most major ranches, and the crowds begin flocking to the farms and vineyards in the area. If you are looking for things to do at Apple Hill in the fall, Labor Day onward is the time to go for a getaway or Apple Hill day trip.
Grandpa’s Cellar, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is in a prime location for producing spectacular apples, with cool nights and warm days bringing out the best in them. Grandpa's Cellar maintains the atmosphere of a country orchard and farm and has a bounty of delicious apple pastries in addition to the actual fruit. Apple harvest season starts on Labor Day weekend and goes until mid-December at Grandpa's Cellar.
Rainbow Orchards is famous for having the best, and it claims original, apple cider doughnuts at Apple Hill. Starting Labor Day weekend, you can find fresh-picked peaches followed by apples in Rainbow Orchards' Barn, along with pressed apple cider. The barn starts welcoming visitors at the end of August and is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. most of September and October before cutting hours to 9 a.m.–4 p.m. in November and early December.
October Is for Pumpkin Picking
Halloween means pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns, and Apple Hill is the place to find just the right one. Check out Bluestone Meadow, Mill View Ranch, or O'Halloran's Apple Trail Ranch for some pumpkin patch fun in the bright October sun.
November Brings the Harvest Run and Tree Farms
Early November is the time for special events like the annual Apple Hill Harvest Run. The run benefits the Camino Union School District. It starts at the Lava Cap Winery in Placerville and includes a 9-mile run, a 3-mile run/walk, and kids' .5- and .25-mile runs. After the race, enjoy complimentary wine tasting.
Most Apple Hill Christmas tree farms open in late November. Cutting your own is a memorable start to the holiday season. For those with a sweet tooth, stop at the Fudge Factory Farm for handmade chocolates and fudge, candy-coated apples, and much more.
Throughout the Fall Season
Apple Hill is also home to several wineries, and fall is a beautiful time for a wine-tasting afternoon. Driving through the Apple Hill area and following the numbered map is especially fun in fall when the weather is mild, and each stop leads you to yet another treat—apple pies in one place and a hearty glass of Barbera wine at the next. You could combine this always-pleasing experience with some spa time on a crisp fall afternoon at Time Out Resort & Spa in Camino.