10 Ways to Enjoy Apple Hill – Without the Crowds

pumpkins apples

Just uphill of Placerville, California, is one of the most popular visitor destinations around: Apple Hill. Why? The beautiful Sierra Foothills area has dozens of ranches and wineries offering fun activities and festivals, as well as delicious produce, baked goods, micro-brews and fine wines. Complete with a spa and golf course, Apple Hill has been entertaining visitors for 50 years!

apple hill logoBecause there is so much to do, taste, and enjoy, the peak autumn season brings lots of people to Apple Hill. Many of our guests at Eden Vale Inn love to visit Apple Hill, so here are ways to be savvy about when and where to go to get the most enjoyment out of your visit.

berries - from boa vista, Apple Hill, California1. Visit in the summer! Summer is the time for fruit, and Apple Hill has it! Scrumptious nectarines, peaches, watermelons, and cherries. Plus real vine-ripened tomatoes, perfect for taking home or eating right there at your picnic. Summer activities include train rides, nature trails, petting zoos, pony rides, fishing, and more. Enjoy Friday wine sipping specials at Lava Cap Winery and Boeger Winery, and the Madrona Vineyards’ “Flights Dinner” at the nearby Smith Flat House on August 21.

2. Autumn’s heyday – visit mid-week! Not only will you get discounted room rates at Eden Vale Inn mid-week, but it’s also a great way to side-step the crowds while still enjoying fall’s apple and grape harvests at Apple Hill. By fall, all of the Apple Hill farms are open. Some of them have specialty apples. Larsen’s Ranch has the Rhode Island Greening, which is believed to be the oldest apple tree in El Dorado County! Hilltop Ranch features antique apple varieties, so you can once again have some of the apples of your childhood. Ask us about other special spots for your visit.

3. Mirror image – start at the east end! Take a look at the Apple Hill map (click here). See how long it is? Most folks start at the west side, closest to Placerville. Be different and approach from the east! You can enjoy all the fall pickings – including “u-pick” fruit – in a less busy setting. Make sure to check out the tasty goodies at farm bake shops. Hot tip: Our guests rave about Rainbow Orchard’s hot apple fritters.

Eden Vale Inn B&B Breakfast4. Start early - Eden Vale Inn will give you an early breakfast! We know that sometimes there are weekend events that you just gotta get to. Let us help you with an early breakfast, and some good directions, to start you on your day early! Autumn weekend events include Johnny Appleseed Day, learning to make apple tamales at Grandpa’s Cellar, and the weekend quilt show at Smokey Ridge Ranch & Charcuterie. The kids have fun just going to Apple Hill, and also enjoy kids baking days at Apple Pantry Farm.

5. Go at the end of the day Yes, we understand — for some of our guests, an early morning is just not gonna happen. No worries! Go to the other end of the spectrum and visit Apple Hill late in the day! There are many fun evening activities in the fall and summer. If you start your visit when many folks are heading out, you can visit farms and then attend evening events. Try the lovely “Wine and Sunsets Music” series at Lava Cap Winery, “Evening in the Orchard” at Rainbow Orchards, and Friday wine sipping specials at Boeger Winery. Want food with that? Boeger offers a “Wine & Weenie Weekend” on August 2, and Madrona Vineyards sponsors a “Flights Dinner” at the nearby Smith Flat House on August 21.

Pumpkin patch at Apple Hill, Calif.6. Get off the beaten track and visit the smaller farms. There are many delights in the smaller options! The Sierra Foothills have an ideal growing season that gives Apple Hill apples a great flavor, on small and large ranches alike. Fall is the time for pumpkins too, and Apple Hill’s pumpkin patches are well known for growing some of the most amazing pumpkins anywhere. And don’t forget the spooky! Oct. 23 is the first day of Grandpa’s Cellar’s Haunted Nature Trail.

7. Come in September and November when crowds are lighter. The big Apple Hill Kick Off Harvest Dinner is Sept. 6, and the 18th Annual Kids Weekend is Sept. 20 and 21. November has a Harvest Run, Chestnut and Harvest Festivals, and a taste test weekend. All these, plus the usual autumn fun, can be found before and after the busiest month of October. For instance, love cider? Boa Vista presses and bottles their apple cider at their very own Cider Mill. Watch their cider making process and sample it on fall weekends. Fun and tasty.

8. Bring on the rain! What better way to clear out the crowds and let you enjoy the cozy wineries, sheltered farm stands, and indoor activities that abound on Apple Hill! We can tell you about prime spots for comfort in weather that will drive away the less savvy. There’s still plenty to do – let us help you with your “must see” list.

Winter trees at Apple Hill, Calif.

9. Come in the winter. Winter can be a wonderland in Gold Country’s Apple Hill. Most Christmas Tree Farms are open by Nov. 21, and many farms and wineries are open through the winter. Come up during the month of December and cut down your own fresh Christmas tree at one of the many farms on the Hill.  Choices include Nordman Fir, White Fir, Silver Tip, Noble Fir and many other varieties. Warm up in a winery or bake shop.

10. Return in the spring. Springtime is a great time to get away to the hills and enjoy a picnic. All the world is waking up again, and the Sierra Foothills views at scenic Apple Hill are extra gorgeous with everything blooming. Some nickname it “Iris Hill” in the springtime!

Enjoy Apple Hill year round. Click here to contact us for more information!


“Paradise in Placerville”  Another All Five Star Review on Trip Advisor February, 18 2001.   “Amazing place! Generally my husband and I just kind of blow through Placerville California on our way to Lake Tahoe, but we decided to stay at a bed and breakfast in Placerville…I took a chance with Eden Vale after checking out their website … a choice that I am so thankful to have taken.”   Copied by Innkeeper 2-18-2011

“The inn is absolutely wonderful.   It is modern, charming and, has kept that rustic feel to it…Every intention of visiting downtown Placerville went out the window as soon as I stepped foot through the front door. The two days I was there, I didn’t leave the grounds, except to walk down the road to their neighbour’s house to check out the miniature horses. The gardens are spectacular, meandering paths, various areas to sit (I love the way the chairs are grouped together for you and a friend), lovely, lovely statues, fountains and garden art. It was total Zen and I felt so peaceful and relaxed there… Gayle and Mark have created an upscale but homey atmosphere. Walking around in my pajamas, going up the stairs for coffee or hot chocolate, grabbing a movie (from their very well selected collection) was as comfortable as being in my own home…

Being a very energetic person, it is not always easy for me to relax — I had no problem at Eden Vale. The fire pit out by the pond is fantastic at night. My husband and I had a fire both nights we were there, and we watched the stars come in and just begin to fill up the sky. It is very clear there and the sky was really lit up with stars — it reminded me of being at summer camp! I cannot say enough about the rooms — classy and comfortable, great bedding, the rain shower head in the shower was an added delight, and the soaking tubs were amazing. They are deep enough (and large enough) for two people to sit in and you sink right up to your neck! We loved the bathroom amenities that were provided.

 The breakfasts were to die for — fruit bowls, scones, quiche, potatoes — my husband was in seventh heaven because he doesn’t eat that well at home! My husband and I travel quite often and have stayed in many bed and breakfast inns and this is defiantly ranked up there high amongst our favorites. I highly recommend this bed and breakfast. I definitely will be visiting Eden Vale again.”   

Thank you from a neighbor Eden Vale Inn Bed and Breakfast Placerville Coloma

Thank you for all your help in making such comfortable arrangements for my brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Amy. They had a lovely stay at Eden Vale Inn B&B and will return next time they are up here.  Jack told me that you will be adding more rooms to your establishment, and that was good news because you are in such a convenient location for travelers who are looking for fine accommodations.
Will all best wishes for the New Year!

Five Star Review Eden Vale Inn Bed and Breakfast Placerville CA

“Spectacular…Beyond Words”   “We loved Eden Vale. The inn was originally a barn, and the transformation over 25 years of work by Mark and Gayle is beyond words. Our room had a private patio and Japanese soaking tub, which was a great way to relax at night”  Copied by Innkeeper  “… The inn was originally a barn, and the transformation over 25 years of work by Mark and Gayle is beyond words…We loved the modern touches contrasting with the country setting. You just have to experience it all for yourself.  We’ll be back!”    Post on Trip Advisor 10-30-2010

All Five Stars Again on Trip Advisor Eden Vale Inn Bed and Breakfast Placerville

Serene and beautiful…We loved it!”  Trip Advisor Oct. 6, 2010 “My husband, father and step mother spent the weekend at Eden Vale Inn Bed and Breakfast … My step mother has mobility issues so they stayed on the main floor in a room that accommodates those with disabilities (walk in shower)…My husband and I were downstairs in a perfectly appointed suite-like room with a semi-private patio. The grounds are a marvel of garden foliage and paths, private areas, and shared lawns. Then there is the pond – the clearest, most refreshing pond. You can actually see the bottom – it’s not murky at all. But the breakfasts were the crowning glory of our stay: the food is fresh (vegetable garden on site), delicious, and abundant.” Copied by Innkeeper  “The Inn is pet-friendly and we enjoyed the Inn dog, Pepper, and the Inn cat, Mr. Bushwhack. The setting is serene, peaceful, and perfect for relaxing. Other amenities include … delicious dining close by” Cafe Mahjaic and an Apple Festival “Apple Hill. The nearby town of Placerville is charming but not precious, and has a bookstore, a wine and beer shop, and interesting dining options, and nearby wineries. We are definitely coming back. We loved it!”   Emma, from Los Angeles