A natural landscape encased by iridescent skies and crisp mountain air dominates the view heading into the Gold Rush era town of Julian in the heart of San Diego’s backcountry.
Rich in history with a small town spirit, the whole family will enjoy the grand legends Julian has to share. In 1869, gold was discovered in a small creek and the town flourished until the gold played out. Unlike most gold mining towns of the time, Julian didn’t disappear after the mines were depleted, and instead the pioneers planted apple orchards to fill the gap caused by the loss of mining.
Today Julian’s charm and Victorian architecture stretch from one end of town to the other. Still famous for its apples, the apple pie made and served here is simply delicious and is offered year round.
Attractions in Julian, California
Enjoy a breathtaking stargazing experience at the nearby Observer’s Inn, home to an astronomical observatory with several research-grade telescopes. Discover the beauty of those clear mountain skies at night with a glimpse of our galaxy and beyond. Located at 3535 Highway 70, call for reservations at (760) 765-0088 or www.observersinn.com
A guided Walking Tour with resident historian David Lewis will uncover the “roots” of Julian. His knowledge and passion of the town is contagious. You’ll get to discover the historic sites including the Julian Pioneer Museum and Cemetery, the two-cell Julian Jail built in 1914, and the Grosskoopf House, a replica of an original pioneer house from the late 1800s. Call David at (760) 319-6180 to arrange for the tour.
Julian Train Ride & Gold Mine Tour. Ride along with conductor Greg Smith and Honeydog for 20 minutes up the mountainside on an 18” narrow gauge gold mining train pulled by a rare Atlas Type K tunneling locomotive. You’ll disembark and explore the authentic Smith Ranch gold rush mine hand-dug in 1870, look for gold nuggets, and view the artifacts left by the early miners. Ride the train back down the mountain listening to Greg’s wonderful stories that bring history to life. The 1 ½ hour journey is available year round. Longer tours are available for larger groups including the American Revolution Adventure (3.5 hours); Pioneerways Adventure (3.5 hours); and the Pilgrim Thanksgiving Adventure (2.5 hours). Book in advance for a guaranteed seat at (760) 765-2288 or www.pioneerways.com.
Historic Eagle and High Peak Gold Mine is located on the hill overlooking downtown Julian. Embark on a one-hour guided walking tour of one of Julian’s original gold mines. A tour guide will lead you through an intricate path of tunnels in the hard rock mine and share tales of the arduous life of gold miners and the early residents of Julian. Located at 2320 C Street (760) 765-0036,
For information on Julian visit www.julianca.com
For information on East County visit www.sandiego.org/eastcounty
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.