Apple Picking Near Asheville, N.C.
By Jason Tarr
Fall is a truly special time to visit Asheville. Not only can you experience fall in Asheville with stunning leaves and special events but also with the mountain harvest.
In addition to many working farms in Asheville, the city is less than a half hour drive from one of the country's best apple growing areas, Hendersonville, N.C. Hendersonville hosts the North Carolina Apple Festival each year on Labor Day Weekend.
Among the best ways to experience the fall harvest in the Blue Ridge Mountains is to visit local apple orchards and take your pick of beautiful apples right off the tree. Imagine crunching into one of the delicious apples as you enjoy the brisk fall air!
And, your kids will love the experience! These U-Pick farms offer great family-friendly activities from corn mazes to hay rides to mountain music performances -- not to mention the delicious ciders and apple treats! Many of the orchards also offer pumpkin patches, perfect for creating Jack-o'-lanterns in every size and shape.
Most of the orchards, and fresh fruit stands, are located between Hendersonville and Chimney Rock on U.S. 64 (Chimney Rock Rd.). Pair your apple or pumpkin picking experience with a trip to Chimney Rock State Park where you'll find incredible vistas, a 404-foot waterfall and many children's activities.
The apple orchards are generally are open Mid-August through early November but it's recommended you call individual farms before you visit to confirm their hours.
Here are U-Pick Apple Farms near Asheville (in alphabetical order):
Coston Farm and Apple House
3748 Chimney Rock Rd., Hendersonville
This fourth-generation apple orchard grows more than 20 varieties of apples! You can pick your own apples in the orchard right on Chimney Rock Rd. Or, step inside Coston's Apple House (next to the orchard) to purchase apples or taste a delicious treat from the bakery. Sit on the front porch in a rocking chair, have a picnic on the tables or enjoy the children's playground.
Grandad's Apples N' Such
2951 Chimney Rock Rd., Hendersonville
From the moment you drive up to see the large red-roof barn, you know you're in for a true apple orchard experience. This 80-acre farm features a U-Pick orchard with more than 20 varieties of apples. Or, join in the adventure of exploring the 5-acre corn maze. Inside the main barn, you'll find a Country Store and bakery. In October, enjoy the pumpkin patch.
187 Garren Rd., Hendersonville
Pick from apples and pumpkins in the U-Pick farm at Justus Orchard. As you hunt for the perfect apples, stop by the pond to see the ducks, let the kids take a ride on the Cow Train through the orchard or visit the Apple House for pre-picked apples and other goodies like jams and jellies.
Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard
170 Stepp Orchard Dr., Hendersonville
The Stepp Family has been welcoming people to its farm for nearly 50 years. Pick your own apples and pumpkins or choose from the pre-picked apples. Take a wagon ride through the orchard, navigate the five-acre corn maze, shoot targets with the apple canon and take a walk on the nature trail. Make sure to stop inside the Apple House and Bakery for great apple treats and products.
Sky Top Orchard
3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock
Panoramic mountain views await you at Sky Top Orchard, where your experience will include much more than picking out your apples. Along with the U-Pick orchard, you'll find orchard ponds with ducks and geese, a barnyard area with animals, a bamboo forest to explore and lots of picnic areas. You can also take a hayride around the orchard. Stop inside the farm store for treats, including the apple cider donuts.
Apple Picking on the Blue Ridge Parkway
There are few better ways to experience fall color than with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway, consider a stop at the historic Orchard at Altapass at Milepost 328.3. The orchard is about 55 miles north of downtown Asheville.
With a majestic mountain location, this historic orchard offers a special experience. Pick apples surrounded by mountain views. Walk through the Butterfly Garden to see the orchard's Monarch butterfly preservation project at work. Or, walk the nature trails to enjoy the views and great bird watching.
The Orchard at Altapass also hosts live mountain music performances at select times and days throughout the season. Before leaving, purchase some of the homemade fudge made fresh by Miss Charlotte in the Orchard shop.
For more great ways to enjoy autumn in Asheville see our guide to fall, including our guide to 10 green ways to experience fall in Asheville.
Photos by Jason Tarr of Explore Asheville.