Apple picking season, which generally runs from Labor Day through Thanksgiving, draws apple-loving Angelenos to surrounding farms for a fresh taste of fall. While the trek may be an hour-or-two drive from the city, many of these u-pick farms offer a day of worthwhile activities, from fresh cider pressing to hayrides and archery—hence why it earns its spot in our guide to the best things to do in the fall.
Here, we’ve gathered a list of the best u-pick apple farms around Los Angeles, the majority residing in the apple country of Oak Glen. Purists can eat their apples straight from the tree, while others may choose to press them into a cider or bake a sugary confection that could rival the best pies in Los Angeles. No matter how you slice it, countless farm fresh apples are awaiting so that you can stock up and finally get to having that apple a day, doctor’s orders.
Best places for apple picking in L.A.
Ripe apples are in full bloom at Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, from now through Thanksgiving. There are multiple varieties available for u-pick and bulk purchase, including Macintosh, Gala and Spartan, but be sure to check online to find out which types are ripe and ready to be picked. Meander past the petting zoo, or stop in for a full meal at the onsite Country Kitchen. Fresh pressed cider is available, too, and a necessary way to end your time spent in the orchard. The farm is open for apple picking on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 6pm, and on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11am to5pm.
Do more than just pick your own apples at Willowbrook Apple Farm, where the fun continues beyond the field. After picking from their century-old Stayman Winesap apple trees, you can then press your own cider, indulge in a tasty caramel apple or hitch a tractor ride. The farm opens on Labor Day, but U-pick apples are available Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm, typically late September through November.
The first weekend of October is when the grounds of Riley’s Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard open up for apple picking. Their field of heirloom Stayman Winesap trees ripen throughout October and, during a good season, bear fruit into November. The apple orchard itself is 130 years young, but you'll also find storied plots to pick your own pumpkins, herbs and flowers. Before filling up your bags up, you’ll get a brief lesson from a farmhand on the history of Riley’s, how to properly pick the apples and helpful tips on tasting. While admission is free, you pay for what you pick at $3.50 per pound.
Spend an afternoon at Riley’s Apple Farm (not to be confused with Riley’s Farm) for a blast from the past. Pick from different varieties of apples for around $3 per pound starting Labor Day weekend, all the way through October or November depending on the season. On the weekends you can partake in a number of different activities, including archery, cider pressing and knife throwing. Be sure to stop into the Trading Post for home goods and to-go items like jams and jellies, and check out their site to see which apple varieties are ready for picking.
After going for a spin in the air, spend some time picking your own apples in the orchard at Brian Ranch Airport. There are a handful of apple varieties available at different points in the season—which began late-August this year—and you can find out what's available by calling (661) 261-3216 ahead of your visit. During apple picking season, hours are Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 2pm, as well as other times by appointment. Be sure to enjoy your pickings in their picnic area afterward.
With more than 30 different kinds of apples and trees that are more than 100 years old, Riley’s Farm (yes, that other Riley’s) is a great place for those who want a large assortment during their u-picking adventures. The farm specializes in heirloom apples, old varieties that you often won’t find in the grocery store. Now through typically November, you can head to the farm to get picking, but if you're looking for the widest variety, stop by in mid-October for a huge array of pre-picked apples. Check online for the crop status and varying u-pick hours, which often fall on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. Want something, uh, different? Riley's also hosts an array of historical reenactments, to keep things interesting, not to mention it's home to a colonial bakery.
Looking for more ways to celebrate fall?
One of the best fall activities is enjoying the colorful fall foliage around L.A.—yes, it does exist. From nearby gardens to the local mountains, there are plenty of spots to enjoy the colorful fall foliage all around L.A., so you’ll never have to envy those East Coasters again.