The mountainous region of Placerville and Camino known as “Apple Hill” is certainly famous for its apple delights, but that’s not the only harvest that occurs in the hills. The quaint farmhouses and country charm of this agricultural mecca also boast a handful of quaint wineries and walking trails. What better destination for a day of wine hiking?
Begin your day at Starfield Vineyards, where the hillside vineyard’s 67 acres include three miles of nature trails lined with towering Ponderosa pines and, depending on the season, some 10,000 flowering plants.
Enjoy a flight of red and white varietals ($10) from the El Dorado and Napa appellations at the winery, which is open for tastings by reservation, then walk from the tasting room porch through the impressive arbor of roses and get out on the trails.
Details: Starfield Vineyards is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily by reservation at 2750 Jacquier Road in Placerville; www.starfieldvineyards.com.
A 10-minute drive from the El Dorado Trail, Delfino Farms has a little bit of everything, from pastries at Joan’s Apple Bakery to sips of California-style Henrietta Stitch dry cider. Wine lovers come to revel in the views and sample the small-batch wines made by Delfino’s Edio Vineyards, where a flight ($15) includes four wines plus cider ($15 per person).
Christine Delfino Noonan and her brothers Peter and Derek Delfino opened the winery’s tasting room in 2021.
And if you’re looking for a short walk, a ¾-mile trail winds through vineyards and orchards, ending in the woods at the rear of the property where sheep, rabbits, ducks, and chickens roam.
Details: Delfino Farms and Edio Winery are open from 11 am to 5 pm Thursday through Monday at 3205 N. Canyon Road in Camino; https://delfinofarms.com. Find maps of the El Dorado Trail at http://eldoradotrail.com.
Lunch in Cerro Alto
An on-site restaurant at High Hill Ranch, at 155 acres, the largest farm in the Apple Hill Growers Association, it’s a great stop if you’re craving something more substantial than deli. The restaurant serves barbecue dishes and burgers, as well as apple pies and apple donuts. And the property offers a fun ride at any time.
Details: High Hill Ranch is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends at 2901 High Hill Road in Placerville; www.highhillranch.com.
More hiking options
Nicknamed the Butterfly Walk due to its butterfly-winged photo op, Apple Ridge Farms’ 3/4-mile nature trail is brimming with thousands of zinnia blossoms, which stay colorful until the first frost.
For something more challenging, the El Dorado Trail leads to Camino with spectacular views along the way and relatively mild weather in fall and early winter.
Less than 15 minutes from Harris Family Farm at the eastern end of “apple hill” you’ll find Sly Park Recreation Area, which has a more robust trail system. It’s popular in the summer months for its water activities and the glitzy Jenkinson Lake scene, but its nine miles of trails offer everything from easy rides to more challenging stretches along the south shore.
Details: Apple Ridge Farms is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends at 1800 Larsen Drive at Camino; https://appleridgefarms.com. Find details about Sly Park — 4771 Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines — at https://www.eid.org/recreation-5.