One of the outdoor adventures on my fall bucket list this year was apple picking. I was somewhat surprised to discover that not too many of my friends in Los Angeles have been, either – perhaps because the best spot to do so is in Oak Glen, which is about two hours away.
But I knew my boys were troopers and could survive the drive, so this weekend we headed out to one of the many orchards in Oak Glen, Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho. Why there? I read this post from my friend Michele at Fun Orange County Parks last week and was sold. (I love my blogger buddies!)
All I can say is our adventure was well worth the drive.
For $15, we purchased a big enough bag for our family of four to spend about an hour picking apples. Available for picking were the rome apples (which we will use to bake an apple pie later this week) and the double red delicious, the big explorer’s favorite.
After the apple picking, we enjoyed a picnic lunch in a beautiful, woodsy setting amid a gallery of gorgeous trees. This place had my name written all over it.
Then we took a short stroll along a nature trail that runs right past the double red delicious apple grove (courtesy of Oak Glen’s Wildlands Conservancy).
Trail highlights included the California Tree Trail and a floating dock overlooking a very serene pond. Before heading home, we each picked an apple treat for the ride back.
The season is by no means over in Oak Glen. Los Rios Rancho anticipates having U-Pick apples and pumpkins throughout October and possibly into November. I highly recommend you check it out.
Tips for Visiting With Kids
- Know the terrain. The bumpy orchard grounds are not stroller friendly, so plan on a baby carrier, sling or backpack for smaller kids.
- Discuss the picking rules before you start. You pick, you buy, so make sure your kids know how to tell the good apples from the bad. Remember: Avoid apples with wormholes!
- Give little kids a boost. We discovered that many of the apples were too high in the tree for even the big explorer to reach. And the little explorer definitely needed dad’s boosts.
- Avoid the crowds with a picnic lunch. There are plenty of picnic tables to go around, even with the crowds. Best part? No lines!
- Indulge in some fresh apple-y goodness. Each of us picked one “treat” – dad opted for cider, the big explorer picked a caramel-sprinkled apple, and the little explorer and I split a piece of apple pie.
- U-Pick is open Wed. – Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine
- Be prepared for crowds
- Cost depends on the size of the bag or box you choose; we opted for a large bag for $15 which we stuffed with some 25 plus small & medium sized apples
- Free parking
- Plenty of open, grassy space and picnic tables
- In addition to the orchard, there is a corn maze, U-Pick pumpkins, country store, BBQ, bakery and nature trails
- Weekend activities (for a fee) include horse-drawn carriage rides, U-press apple cider and a petting zoo
- Flush toilets can be found near the store and near the start of the nature trail; portable toilets only in the orchard
More Helpful Resources
- The Oak Glen Apple Grower’s Association provides info about Oak Glen’s numerous farms and orchards, historical points of interest, restaurants and bakeries, and more
- Here’s a pdf map of Oak Glen
- My friend Michele over at Fun Orange County Parks wrote an extremely helpful post about apple picking at Los Rios Rancho, as well as another about the Children’s Nature Trail
Los Rios Rancho is located at:
39611 Oak Glen Rd. #13
Oak Glen, California, 92399
Directions to Los Rios Rancho