The 100 year old North Carolina Apple Orchard at Altapass is an icon of heritage and family fun in the heart of Spruce Pine NC, just off the
Blue Ridge Parkway. A visit to Spruce Pine NC in the summer or fall is not complete without a visit to the Orchard at Altapass. Dig into “family fun by the bushels” and take the family for a memorable day in the beautiful mountains of the High Country.
Altapass Orchard is situated along the crest of the Eastern Continental Divide, providing the perfect climate for the perfect apples. Before becoming an apple orchard, Altapass was roamed by buffalo, Indians, Daniel Boone and the
Overmountain Men. McKinney Gap is to the east of Altapass Orchard and is the lowest gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Altapass derived its name from ‘Alta,’ meaning high, and ‘pass,’ representing McKinney Gap. This area was chosen as the site for the Clinchfield Railroad and in 1908, the ridge and accompanying gap were outfitted with 18 tunnels, including the Blue Ridge Tunnel and the Vance Tunnel that flanked Altapass Station, and 13 miles or track around the current orchard. A resort sprung up due to the railroad traffic, but Altapass was deserted when passenger trains along Clinchfield were discontinued.
A railroad worker planted apple trees in the area above the ‘loops’ section of Clinchfield Railroad. This area has southern exposure, keeping the apples frost-free, and providing plenty of sunshine. Altapass proved to be the optimal environment for apple growing.
At one time, Altapass Orchard was the primary employer in
Spruce Pine North
Carolina, shipping 125,000 bushels of apples a year via the Clinchfield Railroad.
Today, Altapass Orchard grows a large variety of apples, offers old-time entertainment and preserves Appalachian music, heritage and hospitality. Katherine Trubey purchased the orchard and 280 acres in 1995. Together with Bill and Judy Carson, Katherine restored not only the orchard but the Altapass culture nestled along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bring the whole family and experience Appalachian culture at its finest! The Altapass Foundation was established to protect the apples, wetlands and other natural features of this North Carolina Apple Orchard. Orchard at Altapass is open to visitors from May 16 - October 31. Authentic bluegrass music is featured from 12:30-4:30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Storytelling hayrides, craft demonstrations, nature walks and Monarch butterfly conservation project are among the other fun and memorable activities at Altapass Orchard. Visit the Orchard of Altapass during September and October and pick fresh, delicious apples. The varieties of MacIntosh, Jonagold, Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Stayman-Winesap, Virginia Beauty, York Imperials, King Lucious, and Red Delicious are available. Also, be sure to check out The Altapass Orchard Shop and pick up delicious goods like apple butter, blueberry jam, honey, syrup, cinnamon barbeque sauce and artichoke relish.
I hope that you will take a few moments to tour this site to discover all that we have to offer in the wonderful Spruce Pine, NC area. You'll be glad that you did!