Editors note: Due to wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge, Interstate 84 is closed from Troutdale (milepost 17) to Hood River (milepost 62) through at least Sept. 17. Alternate routes to access the gorge include taking U.S. 26 East, followed by Route 35 North toward Hood River. A second option is to take Interstate-5 North toward Seattle, followed by Route 14 East, over the Hood River Bridge and onto Route 35 South.
Freshly-picked Pacific Northwest apples are a local favorite, and many Portland-area U-Pick farms and orchards allow visitors to pluck the fruit right off the branch. “Get your pick on” every July through November at these nearby growers.
Draper Girls Country Farm
Located about an hour east of Portland, the Draper Girls Farm guarantees family fun, with friendly farm animals for kids to pet and dwarf-sized trees, so no apple is too far out of reach for tiny hands. The Drapers’ garden is also available for picnics with incredible views of nearby Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Don’t forget to grab some cinnamon-sugar dried apples and a jug of non-pasteurized apple cider mill before you leave!
Kiyokawa Family Orchards
Located on the Hood River County Fruit Loop, Kiyokawa Family Orchards were established in 1951 by Mamoru Kiyokawa, a first-generation Japanese American who spent much of World War II in an internment camp. Today, this farm boasts a whopping 92 varieties of apples (including 25 U-pick options, the largest variety in the region) as well as 3 acres (1.2 hectares) of Asian pears. Young apple pickers will love the play area and hay wagon rides, and the whole family can enjoy award-winning pies, turnovers, local honey, jams and more from the Kiyokawa fruit stand.
Mt. View Orchards
Get ready to load up your wagon with treats from Mt. View Orchards, another treasure of the Hood River County Fruit Loop. With more than 80 varieties of apples and pears to choose from, a roster of family-friendly events (including the Harvest Fest and Swiss-Edelweiss Day) and their lovable mascot, Carlos the steer, Mt. View, 80 miles (129 km) east of Portland, is a must-visit.
Douglas Farm is a Sauvie Island staple. For four generations, this family-run farm has provided local eaters with super-fresh fruits and veggies, including eight varieties of apples. Everything from Gravenstein to Golden Delicious apples are available for you to pick this fall.
You don’t need to be Robin Hood to enjoy this Sherwood, but with over 80 varieties of apples to enjoy, (not to mention sweet cherries, pie cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, pears, quince and persimmons) you will leave Sherwood Orchards feeling like one of the merry men.
Oregon Heritage Farms
In addition to providing a tasy array of apples, including Honey Crisps and Granny Smiths, Hillsboro’s Oregon Heritage Farms also offers customized tours and field trips to fit any group. Visitors can’t pick their own apples, but they can delight in a hay ride, animal viewing area, hay maze, apple rope maze and other fun-filled activities. Weekends are packed with fall festivities, including Applefest, held on the second Saturday in October.
If you’re tired from picking apples all day, Portland Cider House is a great place to kick back and enjoy one of their many ciders on tap, all of which combine old-school English cider-making techniques with the unique flavors of local Northwest apples.