Apple Hill in Camino, California is a huge autumnal tourist destination offering cool autumn air filled with the smells of fresh produce and barbecue smoke. The area is best known as a provider of a wide variety of fresh apples grown in Northern California. In addition to apples, in the autumn Apple Hill hosts numerous craft fairs, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms and activities to appeal to young and old alike. All of this is the sanctioned activity in this beautiful, forested region that we call Apple Hill.
In addition to those activities, however, this is a prime location for a somewhat more clandestine activity: letterboxing!
For those of you unfamiliar with the sport of letterboxing, please move along – there is nothing to be seen here. For those of you who know the game, put Apple Hill on your list of destinations!
Finding Apple Hill Letterboxes
People in our area talk about Apple Hill as though it was a town or a fixed location to be found on a map when, in fact, it is a collective of apple growers that covers a fairly wide swath of apple growing region. When you are searching for clues to Apple Hill boxes, go to your favorite letterboxing site and start by searching for “Apple Hill” – that will turn up some boxes that are right in the heart of things. Second, search for Camino, CA – that is the town that is generally most identified with Apple Hill. Also search for Placerville, CA and Pollock Pines, CA as those are the other towns that the Apple Hill region covers.
When to Go Letterboxing on Apple Hill
Without a doubt, the most beautiful time of year on Apple Hill is the autumn. Sadly from the first day of autumn through Christmas Eve, Apple Hill is swamped with tourists, and finding the solitary time to attend to letterboxing business is difficult. Even in the outskirts where letterboxes are hidden it is generally impossible to find private time.
For this reason, we recommend letterboxing in this region at any time through the rest of the year.
Winter: After Christmas, Apple Hill goes from being a booming attraction to being nearly abandoned. Since it is in Northern California, there is a good deal of pleasant weather throughout the year, so put on your warm coat and mittens and take a hike in the country in mid-January.
Spring: Nearly as beautiful as autumn on Apple Hill, the springtime is the ideal letterboxing season in most areas, and Apple Hill is no exception. Though the craft fairs are not up and running this time of year, there is still lots of fun to be had. And, without the crowds, it is all the better for box hunting.
Summer: As is true throughout this region, the summertime can get hot, but it is a great time to break out the shorts and tank tops and hit the trails. Be sure to take your Nalgene, wear a good head covering and your sunscreen. With that said, have a blast!
Remember the Rules
When letterboxing anywhere, remember to be a good scout: Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints. Be careful of all the usual things that one must be careful of in the country – there are snakes and bugs that will bite and poison oak flourishes throughout the region. Be sure to carry a small first-aid kit and a cellular phone is advisable. Beyond those basics, take your usual letterboxing supplies and have lots of letterboxing fun in this beautiful Sierra Foothill region.