7 of the Best Places to Pick Apples in NC this Fall
The autumn months in the Blue Ridge Mountains are some of the most extraordinary. As more and more people visit the area to catch a glimpse of the vivid colors that blanket the mountain tops, the region is bustling with activity. Every year, visitors come from all over to enjoy the season’s festivities, including apple picking. Let’s take a look at the seven best places to pick apples in NC this Fall.
When Is Apple Picking Season in North Carolina?
The apple picking season in North Carolina typically starts in late August or early September and can extend through October, depending on the specific orchard and the apple varieties they offer. Different apple varieties ripen at different times, so the exact timing may vary.
Early varieties like Gala and Honeycrisp are often available for picking in late August or early September. Mid-season varieties like Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Jonathan can usually be picked throughout September. Late-season varieties like Rome and Stayman/Winesap are typically available from September through October.
It’s important to keep in mind that weather conditions and the specific location of the orchard can also affect the timing of the apple-picking season. It’s a good idea to check with the individual orchards you’re interested in visiting to get the most accurate and up-to-date information about their season.
To help you plan your trip here is a list of the best places to pick apples in NC this fall, along with many other fun activities for the entire family!
1. The Historic Orchard at Altapass
Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Historic Orchard at Altapass is one of the area’s most well-known apple orchards. As the seasons change, so do the varieties of apples that are available to pick. Some of the most common heirloom apples to pick here are King Luscious, Grimes Golden, and Virginia Beauty.
However, the grounds are home to much more than apple orchards –– there are also walking trails, a butterfly garden, and a General Store filled with local jams, honey, and other fresh products. Throughout the season, they also host several local artists for live performances and dancing on the pavilion. With sweeping views of the mountains in the background, this Appalachian experience is unparalleled –– and if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to taste their warm apple pies with hand-scooped ice cream. Yum!
2. Sky Top Orchards
Another one of the best places to pick apples in NC is SkyTop Orchards. On the farm, there are various types of apple and fruit trees, orchard ponds, a bamboo forest, and a barnyard area home to many farm animals. Throughout the orchard grounds, there are picnic tables perfect for taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Some of the varieties available at SkyTop are Gala, Golden Delicious, and Candy Crisp. Be sure to try the fresh apple cider and apple cider doughnuts and savor the rich fruit flavors in a different form.
3. Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill
Next on the list is Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill, located in the South Mountains of Western North Carolina, just south of Morganton. This charming orchard boasts a rich history, dating back to the 1700s. Over the years, the farm has grown to offer 22 varieties of apples, 18 of which are available for picking by the public. Be sure to check out the Farmers Market, with fresh apples and cider, along with freshly baked goods, honey, jams, fruit butter, and more.
Enjoy Local Wine Paired with Stunning Mountain Views
If you are looking to participate in more fall festivities near The Cliffs, discover the Best Wineries to Visit in the Blue Ridge Mountains to plan your visit!
4. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
For nearly 50 years, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard has been providing the Carolinas with memories of crisp fall afternoons spent in the countryside. The grounds include a 70-acre working farm and apple orchard with an impressive 5-acre corn maze, wagon rides, a picnic area, and nature trails.
Here, you will find a wide selection of apples, including Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Fuji, and many more. Aside from apples, grapes, pumpkins, sunflowers, and zinnias are also available for picking. The farm also has a market with pumpkin donuts, apple cider, t-shirts, and other souvenirs.
5. Justus Orchard
Fresh apples, baked goods, and beautiful views –– Justus Orchard is a hidden gem. Located in the charming mountain town of Hendersonville, this farm is one of the best orchards to visit in NC. Some varieties of apples grown on the farm include Crimson Crisp, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and Fuji, just to name a few. The farm also grows blackberries and pumpkins which are also available for picking.
Don’t forget to stop by the Apple House Bakery for a famous fried apple pie, made with apples freshly picked from the farm. There are also other fall favorites available including candy apples, apple fritters, and hot apple cider. On weekends, they serve BBQ from a local restaurant, so don’t worry about packing a lunch.
6. Creasman Farms
While their roots are in apple growing, Creasman Farms has much more to offer. With fields of vegetables, berry bushes, and other fruit trees, the farm’s produce is often found at local tailgate markets, restaurants, and bakeries in the area. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, you can find their produce at the Asheville River Arts District Farmers Market, as well as the Asheville City Market found right in the heart of the city.
To go apple picking yourself, plan to visit the farm on a Sunday. They have more than 40 varieties of apples grown at the orchard, including heirlooms and newer breeds. Some of the types available to pick yourself are Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Mutsu, Pink Lady, Summer Rambo, and York.
7. Coston Farm and Apple House
Rooted in Hendersonville’s agricultural heritage, Coston Farm and Apple House is a cherished destination for an authentic farm experience. Guests can embrace the season’s bounty by hand-picking apples such as Gala, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Mutsu, Shizuka, Stayman, Cameo, and many more. The farm’s traditional apple house exudes rustic charm, and their dedication to preserving time-honored practices adds a sense of nostalgia. They also are home to a gift shop and bakery, so be sure to check out their apple-inspired treats to take home.
Experience the Charm of the Carolina Mountains All Year Long
From the fiery hues of fall and the serene beauty of winter to the vibrant blooms of spring and the sun-dappled days of summer, The Cliffs offers an immersive experience that captures the essence of every season. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant energy of outdoor activities, the cozy warmth of luxurious amenities, or the breathtaking vistas that change with the passing months, The Cliffs provides a year-round haven where each season’s allure is fully embraced.
Comprised of seven private communities throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, The Cliffs offers a wide range of luxury amenities that make it easy for members to make the most of life in the Carolinas. To discover available properties and the many luxury amenities they afford members, view our online catalog of homes and homesites by clicking the button below.
This post was originally written in October 2021 and rewritten in September 2023.