Apples, pies, chocolate, crafts, pony rides, train rides, history museums, wineries, and more can be found at the many Apple Hill farms in Camino near Placerville, CA.
Ages Good For: All
Getting There: From Sacramento, head up Highway 50 towards South Lake Tahoe and just after Placerville, CA you will start seeing the signs for Apple Hill. You can be adventurous and take any exit that leads to Apple Hill growers or follow directions to a specific grower.
Tips: Most are open September through mid-December for apple picking and pie and craft sales. Some open in the spring for blueberry picking and to celebrate the arrival of apple blossoms as well. When going, know that every year may be different from the last. All items are seasonal. A poor apple or blackberry year means fewer apple and blackberry products. A bountiful year means you may have an unlimited selection at exceptional prices.
Here are some of the best stops in the Apple Hill region.
Location: 2360 Cable Road Camino, CA 95709
This is many families’ favorite for stocking up on Thanksgiving and Christmas pies. If you only have time for one stop and want pies, this is it. Their strudels make a good breakfast desert and their apple pie and cream cheese pies are always a big hit at family gatherings.
There’s a gift shop with a nice selection of apple hill food gifts and country kitchen items. It’s a good stop to buy some Christmas or holiday gifts. Outside you can enjoy your pie on the picnic tables under the apple trees and then take a walk on the nature trail through the trees. The only drawback to this stop is that only outhouses are available for restrooms, so plan accordingly, especially if you have younger kids with you.
High Hill Ranch
Location: 2901 High Hill Rd. Placerville, CA 95667
This one is the biggest of the apple hill fall attractions and is often busy. But it’s worth the stop. You can buy boxes full of apples, soup fixings, and other locally made foods at the shop. Head down the road a bit farther and stop at the chocolate shop. There is also a restaurant that serves hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches, and of course apple pie. If you don’t plan to pack a picnic for the day, this is a good place for lunch.
Kids can ride a pony, take a hay ride, or go fishing in the pond stocked with trout behind the restaurant. Most weekends there’s either a craft fair and/or antique farm equipment on display and face painting.
El Dorado Orchards
Location: 2881 N. Canyon Rd. Camino, CA 95709
This is a good spot if you plan to bring your own food for a picnic. There are picnic tables in a shaded area and activities for kids of all ages. But the highlights of this Apple Hill Farm are the train that travels around a large pond filled with geese and ducks, gold panning, and the horseback rides just across the street.
Many weekends have craft fairs which El Dorado Orchards proudly advertises as “Apple Hill’s largest collection of pure handmade Arts & Crafts.” This farm also often has local food vendors selling items such as olives and honey. Across the street is also the Hillside Tree Farm. You can make a day of visiting the El Dorado Orchards and cutting your own Christmas tree.
Pine O’ Mine
Location: 2620 Carson Rd. Placerville, CA 95667
Stop at Pine O’ Mine if you want to take the kids apple picking through a peaceful orchard. This farm is doesn’t have all the extravaganza of the other farms and that’s just what many like about it. It also doesn’t have the crowds that the other farms attract. This orchard offers a simple farm experience with apple picking in the fall and blueberry picking in the spring, a tire swing, and some logs and hay bales to climb or sit on. The owners take pride in making apple picking a memorable family experience, even taking the time to teach kids how to best pick an apple.
Larsen Apple Barn
Location: 2461 Larsen Dr. Camino, CA 95709
Many go to Larsen Apple Barn to stock up on local apples, pears, dried fruits, nuts, and honey. You can buy an apple turnover from the bake shop and have a picnic on the large grassy area. With large trees for shade, including the oldest known apple tree in the region, picnic tables, a waterfall, bridge, and waterwheel, it’s a perfect midday stop to let the kids run around, or roll down the hill. It also makes a beautiful spot for family photos.
Larsen Apple Barn has been owned by the same family since 1860 and they run the Larsen Pioneer Farm Museum with the family’s collection of local historical artifacts. Inside and outside the museum you’ll see a covered wagon and antique toys, clothing, furniture, and farm equipment along with interesting historical documents.
This list only highlights a few of the dozens of Apple Hill farms. When driving through the area, it’s easy to find your own favorites by meandering along the roads and stopping at any that catch your attention. Some are quiet and peaceful while others will keep you and the kids busy with animals, nature trails, crafting, corn mazes, and tours.
To get an apple hill map with a list of all the Apple Hill Growers, visit the Apple Hill Growers Association website.