Talk about diverse: El Dorado County stretches from the city of Folsom, at the beginning of the Sierra Nevada foothills, all the way up to Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra. It’s what’s in between that’s of greatest interest to DogTrekkers in fall, when the harvest is on and the Apple Hill growing region off Highway 50 near Camino, just east of Placerville, rolls out the welcome mat at more than 50 farms and ranches.
September and October, when vineyards blaze orange and trees are starting to turn, are prime time for a seasonal pilgrimage with your dog—and don’t forget your shopping bags. You can load up on 20 varieties of apples and a piping hot apple pie at Larsen Apple Barn, then make the rounds to you-pick places like Denver Dan’s, where your pup can accompany you inside the produce barn as well as on the grounds. Delfino Farms and High Hill Ranch welcome canines and offer a broad array of kid-friendly activities. At Pine'O’Mine, leashed dogs are welcome in the you-pick berry and apple orchards as well as in the pumpkin patch.
Six wineries are on the Apple Hill map too, with Boeger Winery, not far off Highway 50, a favorite among those who appreciate a laid-back atmosphere and rustic architecture along with big, flavorful reds. Dogs are allowed in the tasting room as well as in the lovely picnic area.
We doubt that you’ll be hungry after a trip to Apple Hill, but just in case, you might want to wander over to downtown Placerville, where your pup can lap water while you quaff a brew on the patio of the new Jack Russell Brewery Restaurant. Or, wander down Main Street and enjoy a decadent grilled cheese on the deck at Main Street Melters, or a piping hot pizza at Pizza Bene. A bit off the beaten track, in the blink-and-you’ll-miss–it hamlet of El Dorado, Poor Red’s is a recently revived roadhouse known for its barbecue and Golden Cadillacs, a sweet and creamy retro cocktail made with Galliano liqueur.
Photo Credit: @birdiebrain