Gilcrease Orchard, a fall favorite in Las Vegas

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Rows of sunflowers for the picking at Gilcrease Orchard. Photo by @gilcrease_orchard on Instagram.

Fall invariably brings golden hour lighting, pumpkins and cooler temperatures every year, a relief for many after the long summer months. Last year, although pumpkin patches are a popular way to reign in the season, many were met with disappointment when COVID-19 closed them down. 

This year, however, Gilcrease Orchard, a ranch in northern Las Vegas, is the perfect location to enjoy the new season to the fullest amidst the ensuing pandemic.

The Gilcrease Orchard began with the Gilcrease family, who moved to the Las Vegas Valley in 1920 and purchased 900 acres of Lower Tule Springs land. The ranch struggled to be profitable amidst the Great Depression, but the family remained dedicated to serving the Valley with fresh produce.

A century later, the Gilcrease Orchard has grown into a successful and cherished piece of Southern Nevada, with its humble beginnings only adding to its charm and sincerity.

Las Vegas’s desert landscape does not usually include rows of produce and crops, yet the unique design of the orchard defies the arid climate by utilizing natural artesian springs. As a result, year-round harvesting of produce is enjoyed. 

Today, the ranch no longer has monetary goals. It has evolved into a non-profit foundation, and, as stated on the Gilcrease Orchard official website, “was established to protect and preserve the Gilcrease Orchard for the community to enjoy recreational and educational experiences through agriculture.” 

Different times of year offer different picking selections, and fall is one of the most lucrative seasons for the orchard with a diverse spread of produce and other items available for purchase.

Freshly grown pumpkins and other gourds adorn the pumpkin patch, which is only open for a few months out of the year. The patch sits adjacent to rows of sunflowers and lines of apple trees, which provide shade for guests to cool off under.

After wheeling their harvest to the checkout in Gilcrease’s complimentary wheelbarrows, guests are able to purchase a myriad of seasonal homemade snacks, including apple cider, donuts with cinnamon sugar, kettle corn and caramel apples.

Many guests take advantage of the scenic backdrop of the orchard in their pictures online, with the tagged photo section revealing hundreds of locals posing amidst the trees. Gilcrease Orchard’s Instagram features all of the fall festivities happening weekly on the ranch. 

The warm and fun vibe of the orchard invites all Las Vegans to spice up their fall with a trip to the pumpkin patch or snack bar, especially after a year of chaos. Each purchase helps to sustain this gem of an outdoor activity, preserving it for future generations to appreciate and becoming a staple in reigning in the season.

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