Lonely Dell Orchard: How To Pick Fruit At Lees Ferry In Glen Canyon

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This summer I learned that you can pick fruit at Lees Ferry and I was excited. Shortly after, my friend and I decided to head on down there to check it out.

We didn’t know what was there, what was ready, anything really, just that we wanted to go. Since it’s just under an hour from Page, it wasn’t like it was a huge deal if nothing was ready or everything was picked.

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lonely dell ranch at lees ferry orchard glen canyon

I think we heard from someone else that they were just there and the fruit was ready so we were confident in going and finding something. We hit the road one September morning and hoped for the best.

It wasn’t blazing hot but for being in the 80s, it felt blazing hot. Like, too hot to want to hike any of the trails while we were here. The only trail I knew about though was the Cathedral Wash trail. We actually tried to do it over the winter but it was miserably cold and windy that time.

lees ferry orchard glen canyon

We easily found the orchard at the Lonely Dell Ranch and just started looking around. There was a sign posted by the parking area that gave a little rundown on the fruit and what to or not to pick.

There isn’t an orchard map that shows what is where so you just kind of have to walk around and look. They also have those fruit picker baskets on sticks here but they’re like, twice as long!

lonely dell ranch lees ferry orchard glen canyon

I still love using them. There were actually a couple of other people in here, which I was kind of surprised about but there was plenty of room for all of us.

We picked a bunch of apples, a couple of pears that might not have been ready yet, and even a quince or two! Those also weren’t quite ready yet, unfortunately, but now I keep seeing quince-flavored things and think of this day!

apple picking basket in apple tree at lees ferry orchard glen canyon

There wasn’t anything else ready, or it was all already out of season. We walked around, looking at all the other trees and I learned that almonds grow on trees, too.

After wandering through the orchard for a bit, we checked out the old Lonely Dell Ranch buildings. We couldn’t go in anything so we just walked around the outside. We didn’t walk down the road past the ranch at all because it was surprisingly hot.

door on building at lees ferry orchard glen canyon

After this, we parked by the boat ramp and checked out the river then drove down the road a bit and walked to the beach along the river. You can get a good view of the Paria and Colorado Rivers converging here.

The first time I came here, the rivers were very mixed together at this point and mostly blue but this time you could clearly see the difference, it was cool seeing how different it was at different times of the year.

apples on tree at lees ferry orchard glen canyon

On our way out, we stopped at the Balanced Rocks and took some pictures before stopping at the visitor center and Navajo Bridge. I had to, of course, look for a mug here but ended up getting a Deneen bowl instead!

Next, we went to the bridge where we got to overlook the Colorado River and even saw a condor flying around. It didn’t get too close but it was still cool to see.

lees ferry orchard glen canyon

Other than it feeling super hot, it was pretty much the perfect day for visiting the Lonely Dell Orchard and I’m so glad I got to experience it before leaving! I ended up using most of my apples to make apple cider and it was delicious.

While I wouldn’t go way out of my way to pick fruit at Lees Ferry, if it was on my way somewhere or I was spending a night or two in Page or Marble Canyon, I’d stop. I do also think it would be cool to stay in Marble Canyon at the Lees Ferry Lodge.

lees ferry orchard glen canyon

About the Lonely Dell Ranch

During the Mormon migration into Arizona, they saw the Lees Ferry area as an isolated settlement area offering comfort. It was the center stone of their lives offering employment, comfort, and quiet.

Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon missionary, successfully crossed the Colorado River here in 1864 and saw the importance of the settlement. He encouraged the church to build a ferry here and over the years, three different families were sent here to homestead and work the busy river crossing.

Since the area was so isolated, families living here had to provide for themselves, growing their own food. Signs of their hard work have faded and the current orchard was planted by the last private owners.

quince fruit at lees ferry orchard glen canyon

Where is the Lees Ferry orchard?

The orchard at Lees Ferry is at the Lonely Dell Ranch, not far from the boat launch. It’s an easy 51 minute drive from Page and just one mile from the campground at Lees Ferry. It’s pretty easy to find and Lees Ferry isn’t that big, so you can always just drive around until you find it.

There is a parking area outside of the ranch, right by the Lonely Dell Ranch gate, and you can walk in from there. There is a one-mile trail you can do at the ranch as well. Google Maps should take you there, though.

colorado river at lees ferry glen canyon

What fruit can you pick at Lees Ferry?

The Lonely Dell Ranch orchard has different fruits available than the orchards at Capitol Reef and these are actually color-coded! It makes knowing what is what much easier. There is a paint mark on each tree identifying it. Some are harder to see than others.

  • Light Purple: Almond   
  • Green: Apple  
  • Blue: Apricot  
  • Gray: Fig   
  • Red: Nectarine
  • Orange: Peach
  • Yellow: Pear
  • Purple: Plum
  • Teal: Quince

When can you pick fruit at Lees Ferry?

I’m waiting to hear back from the park about specific dates that you can pick fruit at Lees Ferry. We picked apples in early September, I think, and I found an article saying apricots were ready to be picked in mid-June.

colorado river lees ferry glen canyon
The view from Navajo Bridge

How much is it to pick fruit at Lees Ferry?

Free! You can enjoy all the fruit you want from here, they just have a limit of 5 gallons per person, per day. That’s a lot of fruit though. The website also says it is available for personal consumption, not resale or exchange. There is a $30 fee to enter Glen Canyon but a national park pass will get you in.

National Park Goodies

colorado river lees ferry glen canyon

Is visiting the Lees Ferry orchards worth it?

Yes! If you’re in the area or passing through when the fruit is ready to be picked. I wouldn’t go way out of my way for this unless you know the fruit is ready, but it’s a fun place to visit anyway. It’s worth taking a little side trip here from Page or the north rim of the Grand Canyon/Jacob Lake.

condor at lees ferry glen canyon

What else is there to do at Lees Ferry?

Have you been to Lees Ferry? Did you get to pick fruit in the Lonely Dell orchard? What did you think of it there? Do you want to go?

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