The orchards that lie within a mile or two of the visitor center are evident remnants of the pioneer community of Fruita, settled in 1880. Many varieties of heirloom fruit are found in Capitol Reef's historic orchards.
Latter Day Saint (Mormon) pioneers planted thousands of fruit trees in the fertile Fremont River Valley. From the 1880s to 1960s, these trees provided food and income to the ten or so families who called Fruita home. Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums dotted each family’s orchards.
Today, the orchards are preserved and protected as part of the Fruita Rural Historic Landscape listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The orchards contain approximately 1,900 trees.
Orchard Management Today
Park staff maintain the historic character of these extensive orchards using heritage techniques. The same flood irrigation ditches pioneers dug in the 1880s water the trees today. Pioneers faced floods and droughts. Today the climate poses challenges for managers. Warmer temperatures may cause trees to bloom early or out of sync with pollinators. These changes could reduce the harvest. The National Park Service maintains the orchards year round with historic cultural irrigation practices, pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping, and grafting. Preserving healthy orchards remains a central goal for Capitol Reef National Park.
For both regional neighbors and visitors from throughout the world, Fruita will continue to be the "Eden of Wayne County." Want to see the orchards in bloom? Call the Fruit Hotline, or see the estimated times below.
Cherries: March 31 - April 19
Apricots (early): February 27 - March 20
Apricots (regular): March 7 - April 13
Peaches: March 26 - April 23
Pears: March 31 - May 3
Apples: April 10 - May 6
Cherries: June 11 - July 7
Apricots (early): June 27 - July 22
Apricots (regular): June 28 - July 18
Peaches: August 4 - September 6
Pears: August 7 - September 8
Apples: September 4 - October 17
Depending on how cold (or warm) winters are, blossom and harvest times can vary up to a few weeks earlier or later that the ranges given above . For updated fruit blossom and harvest times, call the park's information line at (435) 425-3791. After the introduction, press #1 for visitor information, and then press #5 for the fruit hotline.
Fruit blossom and harvest times will also be updated on the park's Facebook and Twitter feeds.