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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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AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- If you’re planning to visit three or more national parks within a year from your trip, definitely get the America the Beautiful pass. It will save you money in the long run if you’re going to more than three parks in a year. Buy the pass here.
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- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a National Park journal for all of the NPS sites (400+!) to keep track of your travels!
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
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.
What else is there to do at Lees Ferry?
- Join a rafting trip
- Hike the Cathedral Wash Trail
- Hike the 2-mile Historic River District Trail
- Relax on the beach by the river
- Look for condors from the Navajo Bridge
- Visit the Lees Ferry visitor center
- Hike the 4.4 mile Spencer Trail
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?