Scenes from Apple Hill

On Friday night we had family fly in from Florida to spend the week with us so I thought it would be best to start their trip out on the right foot….with fresh, hot apple cider donuts!!

Rainbow Orchards Apple Hill

The next morning we made the drive to Apple Hill, a collection of over 50 orchards and ranches that open up during the fall to allow the public to come pick apples and sample baked goods. It sits in the foothills of the Sierra mountains about an hour drive from Sacramento and two hours from our house in the East Bay. Taking a day trip meant we had to spend at least four hours in the car but we all agreed that it was totally worth it!

This place is what apple dreams are made of: apple cider, apple donuts, apple fritters, apple pie, apple butter, caramel apples, apple cider cocktails, apple beer, apple wine, and apple cider milkshakes. Pretty much every kind of apple product you can think of!

Apple Hill

Apple Hill

Apple Hill

In addition to apple orchards there are pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, vineyards, breweries and plenty of activities to keep kids busy. I could see it being a great spot to come visit as an annual family trip.

Rainbow Orchard Apple Hill


Most of the ranches are dog-friendly too so we were able to bring Coco along for the fun.


Nearby Apple Hill is historical downtown Placerville which has a nice collection of independently owned restaurants. We stopped at a cute spot called Sweetie Pie’s. It was too cold to eat outside on the patio but luckily they have a heated deck where you can bring your dog so we all stayed warm and cozy while we ate.

Sweetie Pies Placerville

The fact that they were so welcoming to furry friends made me automatically love it so the good food was a bonus. I was hoping to try the breakfast because they’re known for their cinnamon buns but we got there a little late so I went with the homemade veggie burger instead. In hindsight it was probably good that they weren’t serving cinnamon buns because then I would’ve been too full for donuts. ;)

I had read that Rainbow Orchard had the best so that was our first stop. They were made to order so they come out nice and warm…ugh, they were so good!

Then our second stop was at High Hill Ranch which was surprisingly busy considering it was the end of the season. It seemed liked it had the most to do and see though- like places for you to stop and get a picture of your dog’s face sticking though the hole of a cardboard pumpkin. Brandon enjoys doing this.

High Hill Ranch

I had to try the donuts there too. You know, to compare. They were good but I would say that Rainbow Orchard’s were better because they were served warm and fresh. That’s hard to beat!

But High Hill Ranch has hot apple cider, a cocktail hut and tents set up with local artisans selling goods so it’s definitely worth the stop. We bought a few handmade glass Christmas ornaments that will make really cute gifts!

High Hill RanchApple-Hill-_thumb9_thumb_thumb.jpg





Overall we loved Apple Hill! It’s absolutely beautiful and there’s so much more that we didn’t get a chance to see.

I’m also kicking myself for not buying any pies but I did take home a gallon of apple cider. What I should make with it?!