Favorite Apple Picking Spots in the West

Get in the spirit of fall by heading to the orchard and gathering a bucket-load of crisp fall delights.

A woman picks apples at Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, California.
Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, California.
Helynn Ospina

September/October 2021 Issue

Apple Hill in El Dorado County. Can there be any finer place in all of California for apple picking, shopping, eating, visiting, and relaxing?” —Jody Fraser

“My favorite apple picking spot in the West is Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, California. It’s a great place to hang out with the family. When you’re done picking apples, visit the barn, where you can grab a sandwich and a slice of pie (they have many flavors) or an apple slushie, and eat your treats outside by the play area. On your way out, stop by the store, where you can buy jam and other yummy things to bring home.” —Angela Gates

“My family loves going to Kiyokawa Family Orchards near Hood River, Oregon, for apples and pears. The fruit is usually already picked and in boxes, with names and descriptions of each: such a huge variety. We have gone several times and they are always very helpful. It’s well worth the drive from Portland.” —Barbara Kochevar 

Mt. Hood behind the apple trees at Kiyokawa Family Orchards.

Catch views of Mt. Hood while picking at Kiyokawa Family Orchards.

Shawn Linehan

“For all kinds of yummy apple goodies, go to Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, California. The family-oriented orchard is run by a long time Watsonville family. It has a great bakery with, of course, delicious apple pies, plus fresh pressed apple juice and even slurpees! The ranch is an all-around great place to visit.” —Dorothy Delucchi

“My family loves Apple Annie’s Orchard in Willcox, Arizona. They have a wide variety of apples, plus breakfast and lunch to purchase on the weekends. They often have seasonal events that are fun for all ages happening at the orchard in addition to apple picking, so it’s perfect for a day trip. They also have a pumpkin patch nearby to visit in the fall, so you can get your apples and pumpkins in one trip, and there are vegetable gardens where you can pick your own or buy them freshly harvested. Best of all, Willcox is at a somewhat higher elevation than much of southern Arizona, so it’s always a bit cooler there. A visit to Annie’s is a fall tradition in our family!” —Mary Durham-Pflibsen

Detering Orchards in Harrisburg, Oregon, is one of our family’s favorite places to pick apples in the fall. Just a short drive from Eugene, you’ll feel right at home on the farm, which has activities for the whole family. Kids love swinging on the playground, feeding the goats, or shooting apples that are past their prime into the cow pasture with the “apple blaster” (a bungee cord slingshot rigged between two trees). A corn maze, hay-rides, and a cow train (a row of barrels pulled behind an ATV) are other fun things to do. Local bands are often featured as entertainment during autumn weekends.” —Jennie Daniels