One of the most scenic and historic spots in Southern California—Oak Glen just east of Redlands—is nestled in the heart of apple country, where the summers are cooler and the winters dusted with snow. The five-mile scenic loop of 30+ ranches, farms and businesses are open year round. Here, you will see one of the most scenic byways Southern California has to offer.
Pioneer Enoch Parrish opened the first apple orchard here in 1876, followed by the Wilshire family. The Rivers brothers and their families followed in 1906. Their orchard, Los Rios Rancho (Spanish for “The Rivers Ranch”), is still in operation, as are many of the other original orchards and ranches in the area.
The Law family came to the area with its own apple orchard in the early 1930s and built the first roadside packinghouse, first restaurant and gift shop, along with various other shops. In 1996 a Wildlands Trust came to Oak Glen offering a picnicking area and hiking trails, allowing many special activities that make the area attractive to virtually everyone. Many families make a visit to Oak Glen for a number of festivities and events.
During your visit, be sure to stop at the following places:
- Riley’s Apple Farm
- The Hawk’s Head; a charming full-service restaurant modeled after a traditional 18th century tavern bakery. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of work to make an honest apple pie.
- Wilshire’s Apple Shed of Oak Glen; offering the best quiche and hot chocolate and a wonderful gift shop.
- Snow-Line Orchards; known for their famous mini apple cider donuts and amazing jams.
Visit OakGlen.net for more information, hours and directions.
Lynne Tucker is a travel writer and photojournalist based in Palm Desert.