Apple picking in Oak Glen is a U-Pick family tradition for many in Southern California. I’d never heard of Oak Glen or Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho apple farm (not to be confused with Riley’s Farm right down the street). You could come to this area every year and have a different experience at a different farm. We really enjoyed spending time family time together outdoors back in 2010 and are planning another trip this fall.
It’s a beautiful place with mountain peaks set against blue skies. We saw the clouds blanketing the valley below us. For the apple picking, park at the main Los Rios Rancho near the Wildlands Conservancy visitor center. Follow the nature trail (look for the hawk on the totem pole) for a few paces and turn right/uphill at the first trail near the restrooms. Take the trail across the street to get to the orchard and Apple Stand.
There are small bags, large bags, and boxes. We went with the $15 large bag and it worked great. The boxes looked harder to carry. We started up with the Red Delicious.
I concentrated on the Granny Smiths and Rome Beauty (apparently the best for pies).
Don’t forget to leave time to get lost in the little corn maze. Ha!
Trip Planning Essentials
- Plan to go on a weekend
- ARRIVE EARLY – as with all worthwhile trips – this place gets busy as the day progresses. The earlier you arrive, the easier time you’ll have with parking and lines for food and gifts.
- We get to the parking lot between 8 and 8:30am. I’d take the kids for a meander along The Wildlands Conservancy – Oak Glen Preserve nature trail before everything opens. This was a highlight of our trip and not to be missed. Link to my post on that below.
- Click on the 5-mile loop of the fun map in the center of the page, this is the absolute BEST MAP of the area and for your travel planning!!! It’s put out by the Oak Glen Apple Grower’s Association.
- (No guarantee that there WILL be apples left to pick this late in the season.) I’m sure we’re not typical, but we only spent $15 on our bag of apples and $4 ($1 each) on the corn maze. So apart from gas, it was a really reasonably-priced family outing. A whole day of fun for just under $20! You could easily spend more on apple pies, apple cider, and some of the BBQ they were cooking up for lunch.
- LOTS of hills. Be prepared for some exercise on uneven ground. Babies would do best in backpacks, slings, or jogger strollers. We saw some families bring wagons which were good for carrying kids, apples, pumpkins, etc. – but they might be a tough trek on the hilly terrain.
- Only portable toilets out in the apple orchard. Three nice restrooms: 1) near the BBQ/Store, 2) at the start of the Nature Trail before you go uphill to the Apple Stand, and 3) at the end of the Nature Trail in Oak Knoll Park.
- You can buy food there, but just be prepared for the lines to get long after about 11:00am. If we did it again, I might buy food earlier and store it in my car/cooler. Or just bring a big picnic lunch to enjoy down in the park or on the expansive lawn.
More posts on Oak Glen:
- Oak Glen Preserve Children’s Nature Trail – The Wildlands Conservancy
- Montane Botanic Garden and Children’s Outdoor Discovery Center
- Apple Pie and Fall Colors in Oak Glen
Originally published in October 2010.