Natural Wonders

Capitol Reef Orchards in Fruita

It's such a surprise to turn the corner from desert rock formations and see a lush shady valley full of fruit trees.

The tiny community of Fruita in the north central part of Capitol Reef National Park was settled by pioneers. The 10 families that lived there planted orchards of cherry, apricot, peach, pear, apple, plum, mulberry, almond, and walnut trees. Today the 200 acre Fruita Rural Historical District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Location map of Fruita inside Capitol Reef National Park

The Gifford Farm

Twilla Gifford with her lamb outside of the Gifford Homestead. Photo courtesy of NPS
Twilla Gifford with her lamb outside of the Gifford Homestead. NPS

In 1969, Fruita was sold to the National Park Service. The Capitol Reef Natural History Association, in cooperation with the National Park Service, has renovated and refurnished the Gifford farmhouse as a cultural demonstration site to interpret the early Mormon settlement of the Fruita valley. The house depicts the typical spartan nature of rural Utah farm homes of the early 1900s. In addition to the farmhouse, the Gifford homestead includes a barn, smokehouse, garden, pasture, and rock walls. The kitchen is a retail store selling many items including locally fresh-baked pies, jams, and ice cream.

The Gifford Homestead is located 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the visitor center on the Scenic Drive and is open 8-5 daily (possible extended hours in the summer) from March 14 (Pi Day) to October 31 (closing dates may vary).

The Gifford Farm in Fruita, Capitol Reef National Park
The Gifford FarmGloria Wadzinski

The Fruita Orchards

You are welcome to stroll in any unlocked orchard and consume ripe fruit while in the orchards. Fruit may not be picked in quantity until the designated harvest begins; 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, 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.

Stroll Among the Blossoms in Spring

Cherries, First half of April
Apricots, March thu mid-April
Peaches, late-March thru late-April
Pears, April
Apples, mid-April thru early-May

Harvest the Fruit from Summer through Autumn

\”U Pick Fruit\” in Fruita. Photo by Daniel Mayer via Wikimedia Commons

Cherries, mid-June thru early July
Apricots, July
Peaches, August
Pears, August
Apples, September thru mid-October

Nearby Attractions

After you have your fill of fruit, pie, and ice cream, head down the road to see the Hickman Bridge and Petroglyphs.