A stroll through Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek, hidden from view along State Route 89A, is more like a walk through history. The lodge’s kitchen is housed in the original homestead, which dates to the early 1900s. Nearby are the original cabins, which the Todd family relocated here around the 1930s. And some of the 350 apple trees in the orchards are more than a century old — and still bearing fruit.
The Garland family bought Todd’s Lodge in the 1970s and rechristened it Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge, and for four decades, its idyllic setting and incredible food made it a premier destination in Red Rock Country. The Garlands sold the property to a Scottsdale-based group in 2014, but other than the name, not much is different. “They’ve really honored the historical nature of the place and the agricultural aspect of it,” says Rob Lautze, who’s been at the lodge for more than 30 years. “They vowed not to change anything, and they’ve held to their promises.”
Orchard Canyon now boasts 17 guest cabins; the newest, Cabin Blackberry, formerly was employee housing but now offers a king bed and an incredible back-porch view of Oak Creek. Cabins Mary and Amanda, named for Mary Garland and longtime Garland’s chef Amanda Stine, are nestled at the far end of the upper orchard and have space for four guests, along with creek and red-rock views. Most of the cabins have air conditioning and fireplaces, and all of them are surrounded by Oak Creek Canyon’s vibrant oaks and maples.
And by the fruit trees, of course. “The canyon is just an ideal microclimate for growing tree fruit,” Lautze says. In addition to more than a dozen varieties of apples, the orchards are home to peach, apricot, plum and cherry trees. In the fall, the lodge produces about 150 gallons of apple cider per week. That process always attracts curious guests — and the cider always sells out.
Produce from the orchards also makes its way into the lodge’s breakfasts and dinners, which often include locally sourced ingredients and fresh-laid eggs from the chicken coop. While both meals typically are served in the dining room, the pandemic led to meals being delivered to guests’ cabins and enjoyed there or elsewhere on the property.
Some Orchard Canyon guests have been visiting for years, but others are learning there’s plenty to love about a place that most passing motorists don’t even know is there. “It’s just great when people do discover it,” Lautze says. “We’ve had a lot more first-timers since the new owners took over, and they’re so excited to find this place.”
8067 N. State Route 89A
Oak Creek, AZ