Blog readers, like you, turned me on to apple picking in Oak Glen in 2010 (see post from back then). Since then, everyone has posts on apple picking! The thing I hear over and over again from adults is that it’s an outing they still remember from their childhood.
My 8 year old daughter pushed this trip. We’ve been disappointed in the past when Los Rios Rancho runs out of their U-Pick apples, which takes away from the experience of going to the orchard. However, my daughter said:
“But we go every year. We have to walk the trail.”
How can we argue with that? So each year we just try to downplay the apple-picking itself — and add something new and different to the trip, ever-expanding our knowledge of the quaint little loop and the businesses along the way.
We had a choice of grabbing a full sit-down breakfast or getting a few pastries from the Bakeshop. We chose the latter and sat in the bakery eating area under an old oak. The morning was crisp and there were fall colors. We arrived about 9am, so it wasn’t too busy yet. We viewed all the shops from our seating area and even spotted some peacocks on the roof of one of the storefronts!
We headed over to Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho right away because we know parking can get crazy there as the day progresses. We always park to the right near The Wildlands Conservancy. The upper lot was already full so we made our way down to the picnic area parking lot. The Children’s Nature Trail hike is a loop hike and we usually end in the picnic area parking lot. This time we started our hike there and walked the trail “backwards!”
Immediately, we were kicking through fall leaves and walking down the hill to play in the shade of the stream:
We always discover something new on this hike! Like this spooky tree:
Or the layering of the mountains in the distance:
Or the new Southern California Montane Botanic Garden and its metalwork signs:
But there’s something comforting in the views that remain the same every year.
Even as our children grow and experience these views differently with each annual visit.
The place was a madhouse by the time we returned to store a little before noon. We bought a bag of our favorite Winesap apples and scooted out of town and off to our next Wildlands adventure at Whitewater Preserve.
Explore the rest of Oak Glen:
- Oak Glen Preserve Children’s Nature Trail – The Wildlands Conservancy
- Montane Botanic Garden and Children’s Outdoor Discovery Center
- Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho Apple Farm Trip: Celebrating Fall with Family
Originally posted in October 2013.