Fall season is synonymous with apple pie, chili, cider, pine trees and cool temps.
Growing up in California we would head to Camino each year in October to experience Apple Hill. Apple Hill is much more than just apples, they have bake shops, ciders, pies, fishing, berry picking, pumpkin patches, trolleys, hay rides, train rides, wineries, and Christmas trees all in the beautiful pine tree setting. Our kids absolutely loved it, as growing up in Hawaii really doesn’t have any of those things. The only apple pie you will find here is at Costco over the holidays.
Apple Hill is located in the western Sierra Foothills in El Dorado County,
about an hour drive from Sacramento. It is the perfect place to spend the entire day. Apple Hill is located in Camino, California off of US-50 past Placerville if you are coming from Sacramento. You will see several Apple Hill exit signs: the Schnell School Exit 48, Carson Road Exit, Camino Exit, Cedar Grove Exit 54, and Pollock Pines Exit 57. The orchards are pretty easy to find as each participating farm has a big, red apple on the sign. When you arrive at Apple Hill, grab a map!!! There are 48 growers and 7 Christmas Tree farms. The map will indicate the activities and shops offered at each farm.
Each orchard is numbered and the map will indicate how to get to each one. Obviously you can expect that there will be apples at apple hill but do you know about all the apples that you will find there? Visitors can enjoy picking their own apples from the tree or from a convenient container. Among the variety of apples available are golden delicious, granny smith, pippen, pink lady, rome beauty, fuji, gala and mutsu just to name a few.
We stopped off at Bavarian Hills Orchard #11- where they had great bratwurst. It was a small orchard with not a whole lot to do but each orchard is unique and offers different things. My daughter purchase a black and white sketch of a cougar that she still has in a binder. Apple Hill is a driving excursion. You can drive from orchard to orchard, park and walk around. There is a trolley that will take you around to the various orchards. Apple Hill is open on weekends year round, but most famous for the Fall and Winter season’s October Festivities, Christmas Tree cutting, and pumpkin patches. Some orchards do not open until Labor Day weekend.
Next stop- caramel apples!!! Many of the orchards have an enormous selection of caramel apples. One farm that we stopped at even had a machine to slice each apple so that the kids could all share.
My favorite was caramel apple pie which was an apple dipped in caramel, then half dipped in cheesecake and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. They even had apples with gummy worms on them. Sky is the limit for caramel, chocolate and candied apples at Apple Hill!!!
When we first arrived to Apple Hill, we were much colder than we had planned for. It was breezy and with all of the pine trees, it seemed as though we were never in the sun! Fortunately, there are all kinds of crafts for sale so the first stop was to buy the kids beanies. I can honestly say- they never took them off!! I would recommend bringing extra change of clothes and jackets. We just had zip up sweatshirts and that really wasn’t warm enough.
Headed over to High Hill Ranch for some eats!! High Hill Ranch was the largest farm we went to that day. The restaurant was appealing because it was inside and we were cold. They had hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, wraps, nachos, veggie options, chili dogs, but the thing I remember the most- the smell of their hot pies. You can order pie by the slice but I must warn you- choosing just one is impossible!
Pie, Pie, Pie!!! High Hill Ranch offers the following pies:
Sour Cream Apple Pie This pie is similar to the Sour Cream Apple Pie except that sour
cream is blended in with apples, cinnamon and sugar. Available baked fresh frozen and baked. This pie has walnuts in the topping.
Sour Cream Apple Berry Pie A wonderful delight you can enjoy for any special occasion or family holiday meal. You can eat this pie cold at room temp. This pie has walnuts in the topping . Available baked fresh frozen and baked.
Dutch Apple Pie This pie is covered with a streusel topping. Apple filling is cooked up with a special blend of cinnamon and sugar. Available fresh baked or frozen baked.
Caramel Apple Pie This pie is made with our Homemade High Hill Ranch Caramel. This pie has a crumb topping with pecans in the topping. Available fresh baked or frozen baked.
Sugarless Apple Pie Our sugarless apple pie has no sweeteners added to it. Just tasty naturally sweet. Available fresh baked, or unbaked frozen. Our apple juice is one of the flavors used in this pie.
Pie Dough Balls If you like to make your own pies, we can supply the crust. Comes in a bag of two balls, one for the upper crust and one for the lower crust. Best kept frozen.
Berry Pies Our berry Pies are made with fresh Marion berries. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you have quite a treat. Available baked, unbaked or unbaked fresh frozen.
Apple berry Pies Available baked, unbaked or unbaked fresh frozen.
My favorite thing about pies at Apple Hill is that you can order a slide hot to eat there and then take home an entire pie frozen, plop it in your
freezer and eat it later. We bought several pies.
Don’t miss the Cider Mill!!!!
The Cider Mill, also known as an apple press, at High Hill Ranch was started in 1960. “We take pride in our Apple Juice. Our Apple Juice is made fresh and it is unpasteurized . We use the apples right off the trees which are hand picked. It takes about 10 pounds of apples to make one gallon of juice. We use about 4 bins of mixed apples which weigh about 900 lbs per bin. 700 gallons of Apple Juice is made many times through out the season it takes about 3 hours to make that many gallons.”
Find out more information about High Hill Ranch at http://www.highhillranch1.net/
The Fudge Factory is a family owned farm, like many of the farms at Apple Hill. They offer customers over 75 different flavors of fudge, fresh baked cookies, homemade hot fudge and caramel sundaes, fresh peanut brittle, English toffee, a wide variety of chocolates, and over 15 brittle, English toffee, a wide variety of chocolates, and over 15 different kinds of candy coated apples.
$$ saving tips: Bring warm clothes and change of clothes and then you won’t end up purchasing clothing items like we did. Purchase a caramel apple and have it sliced there by the machine and everyone can share it rather than purchasing for each child and then throwing it away. There are free samples all throughout apple hill. We even had a sample of cider beer! The cider beer is very sweet – different than I expected. Apple Hill is a great place for kids to run around, pick up pumpkins, plop on a stack of hay, play in the pond- there is so much to do that doesn’t cost money. The food was pretty reasonable and you must try a slice of pie. Purchase a pie to bring home, it is much cheaper than eating slice after slice. Although when the pie is hot, it’s difficult to walk away. Check out the activities and map on line and plan your day in advance. Memories to last a lifetime.