Julian was founded by Confederate veterans after the Civil War, and enjoyed a boom when gold was discovered in the area a few years later.
A mountain town situated among Cleveland National Forest, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Julian gets the kind of seasonal weather that is rare in Southern California. Leaves change color in fall, snow falls in winter, flowers bloom in spring and the summer months are hot.
From San Diego: take I-8 E to CA-79. Turn left onto CA-79. CA-79 goes through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, past Lake Cuyamaca, and eventually to the center of Julian. Or, take I-15 N to Scripps Poway Pkwy. Take Scripps Poway Pkwy to CA-67N, which turns into CA-78 - which also goes through the center of Julian.
An extremely limited bus service is available via MTS. Route 891 runs once weekly, on early Friday afternoon, from El Cajon with a journey time of just under two hours. In the opposite direction, the bus departs Borrego Springs early Friday morning.
Once you arrive in Julian the best thing to do is find parking and stroll Main Street. To visit the local wineries, state parks, and Julian Train you will need to drive.
- Anza Borrego Desert State Park (East from Julian on Highway 78), ☏ . Camping, biking, hiking, a large variety of flowering cacti, palm groves, bighorn sheep and exotic birds.
- 1 Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (Located south of Julian on Highway 79), ☏ . The beautiful park offers camping and hiking in an oak woodland forest, with a sprinkling of pines and lovely meadows with creeks. There are over 100 miles of trails which accommodate hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
- Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District, 15027 Highway 79, ☏ , toll-free: . Open 7 days a week from 6AM until sunset. Family fishing lake with camping. Picnicking, boating, hiking, nature walks and cabins. Terrific wildlife watching. Free fishing class every Saturday. Cabins with lake view. Fishing permits - $6 for adults - $3.50 for kids (8 through 15). You will need a California State Fishing License if you are 16 years of age or older. Motorboat rentals - $40 all day - $30 after 1PM Rowboats - $15 all day - $12 after 1PM
- Volcan Mountain Preserve Foundation, ☏ . Preserve is open 7 days/week, sunrise to sunset. The summit is open Sa Su. Preserve is home to wildlife, spring wildflowers, several species of oak and pine. Guided walks on weekends. Trailhead: off Farmer Road, north of Julian; take Farmer Road to Wynola Road, turn right 100 yards, turn left on Farmer Road; enter trail through stone gates.
- William Heise County Park (between Wynola and Julian on Highway 78/79; take Pine Hills Road to Frisius Road; left on Frisius), ☏ . Trail information is available at the Ranger Kiosk. There is a trail to he lookout, which affords views of the desert and ocean on a clear day. Parking fee.
- Saint Ysabel Open Space Preserve (on Farmers Road, 1 mile north of the Volcan Mountain trailhead.), ☏ . 8AM to sunset (weather permitting). 11 miles of multi-use trails.
- Laguna Mountain Recreational Area (east of Julian on Highway S1 via Highway 79), ☏ . Picnic areas, campgrounds, restrooms, plus 70 miles of hiking trails, including the Pacific crest trail. Dogs-on-leash are welcome on trails. Trips beginning on Cleveland National Forest land require a National Forest Adventure Pass for parking at trailheads. Day passes available at the Pie Town Gear and the Laguna Mountain Store..
- Palomar Mountain (NW of Julian between S6 and S7 via Highway 76), ☏ . Hikes of varying length and difficulty, including the Observatory trail and Doane Valley Nature Trail.
- Main Street Carriage Company, Corner of Main and Washington, ☏ . Historic 15-minute narrated tour of downtown Julian on a horse-drawn surrey. We are able to accommodate large group tours. Available for parties or special events.
- California Overland, LLC, 1233 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, ☏ , toll-free: . Adventure calls! Explore the Anza-Borrego desert on 2- and 4-hour tours, overnight camping trips or full 30-hour excursions aboard ex-military troop carriers. Private jeep tours also.
- Enthrall, Inc., ☏ . Provides Julian 1870s Gold Rush Tours and field trips, including the musical Gold Hill, town site guided tour, Eagle Mine tour & lunch.
- Eagle And High Peak Mine, End of C Street, ☏ . Tour one of Julian's original gold mines. Guides lead you through the intricate path of tunnels in the hard rock mine and share tales of the life of early residents of Julian. Call for hours of operation.
- Julian Mining Company, ☏ . Discover gold & minerals using gold pans, sluice box and 'rockers.' Hayrides, U-Press cider, gift shop, raspberry picking & pumpkin patch in fall.
- Julian Stables, P.O. Box 881, ☏ . Experience the most scenic side of Julian from the area's "original trail riding stables." Unparalleled views. Thousands of satisfied customers. Reservations required.
- Kenner Horse Ranch: Horseback Rides & Events, 17550 Harrison Park Rd, ☏ . Beautiful backcountry scenery: mountain ridges, wooded forests, alpine meadow, ponds, wonderful wildlife. Reservations requested.
- Julian Pioneer Museum, ☏ . The museum is housed in an old stone building that was once the Mayerhofer Brewery & Treshil Blacksmith Shop. Located at 2811 Washington St., it is 1 block from the Town Hall. Nicknamed, “Julian’s Little Attic” the museum is a treasure chest of artifacts from the not-too-distant past.
- Observer's Inn/Observatory/Gifts, 3535 Highway 79, ☏ . M-W F Sa. 1-hour tour of the night sky. View the planets, galaxies, star clusters and the moon through large research grade telescopes, led by an experienced astronomer. $20 per person/up to 10 people per session; advance reservations required (no credit cards).
- Himalaya Tourmaline Mine, 26439 Highway 76, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Dig pink and green tourmaline gemstones from world famous Himalaya Tourmaline Mine. Open year-round, rain or shine, Thursday - Monday at Lake Henshaw Resort.
- Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad, less than 1 mile east of Julian, ☏ . During the "Julian Train & Gold Mine Tour", you can take a 1-mile train ride on narrow gauge mining railroad, explore the Smith Ranch 1870 gold rush mine, and pan for gold. November–December, enjoy a memorable mountain ride aboard the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad's "Christmas Train Express". Additional tours include "Pioneerways" and "American Revolution Adventures. Phone or email to reserve your seat.
- Julian Historic Walking Tour, ☏ . Map available for self-tour at the Chamber office located at the Town Hall---on the corner of Main & Washington Streets. Plaques placed on historic buildings on Main, Second, Third, Washington, B and C Streets reveal Julian history from Gold Rush times to the 1920s.
Apple picking (in season)Edit
- Apple Lane Orchard Apples (0.25 miles east of town on Highway 78 across from the high school football field), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Fresh cider, preserves, fruits and souvenirs, so bring your cameras.
- Apple Starr Orchards, ✉ email@example.com. A Certified Organic Orchard (California Certified Organic Farm) since 2000. Apples and pears numbering 1000 trees. Offers u-pick in September until the end of harvest (October).
- Calico Ranch, Highway 78, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open in October, Friday through Sunday, 10AM to 5PM until the apples are gone. The farm was first planted in the 1930s with many varieties of antique apples and pears now available for fresh fruit sales.
- Peacefield Orchard, 3803 Wynola Rd, ☏ . U-Pick apple orchard. Plus Healthy Chocolate & Healthy Coffee.
- Wynola Valley Orchard, 3962 Highway 78, ☏ . Grows over 30 varieties of apples and pears.
- The American Gardner, 2116 Main St, ☏ .
- Bad Betty's Old West Gifts and Jewlery, 2116 Main St, ☏ . Replicas of Old West weapons, lingerie, Native American Indian items, jewelry, gifts for golfers.
- Banner Queen Gallery, 36766 Highway 78, ☏ . F-Su 1-5PM. Artwork by Robert Freeman and Julian artists.
- The Birdwatcher, 2775 B St, ☏ . Everything for people who love wild birds. Featuring birdhouses, bird feed, bird feeders, books, music, apparel and gifts for the garden.
- Crossroads Treasures, 21952 B, Hwy 79, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Rock and gift shop selling rocks and minerals, books, native American jewelry and artifacts, gem sluice, geode cutting, yard art and plants, pendulums and crystals.
- Falcon Gallery, 2015A Main St, ☏ . Limited edition prints books, jewelry, home accents and gifts. Children's room features educational supplies and books.
- Grandpa's Old Time Photo, 2116 Main St., Ste 1D, ☏ . Old time costume photography in sepia tone. 1-10 people and people with dogs. $29 for 2 people.
- Hog Heaven, 2608 B St, K.O. Corral, ☏ . Providing goods that bikers find useful, functional, fun, warm or just plain cool! Includes thermal underwear, socks, warm clothing, masks, gloves, cargo needs, etc. for the ride.
- Julian Yesteryears, 2116 Main Street, Suite D, ☏ . Progressively old fashioned gifts, jewelry, collectibles. Local arts, local crafts.
- Mountain Beadworks, Highway 78, Wynola (In Wynola, just 3 miles west of Julian.), ☏ . Beads, gifts, classes, family activities and fun (and Golden Retrievers, too.)
- Pie Town Gear, 2317 Main St, ☏ . Purveyors of outdoor adventure equipment. Featuring day packs, backpacks, clothing, shoes and gear. Also, maps, books and Cleveland National Forest Adventure Passes.
- Pistols & Petticoats, 2116 Main St (upstairs), ☏ . Go back in time to the old west in this unique gift store. You'll find items from the parlor to the boudoir reminiscent of old saloon days.
- Santa Ysabel Art Gallery, 30352 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Exhibiting regional contemporary and traditional artists in all media with emphasis on California style plein air painting and local artist James Hubbell. Located in historic and picturesque Hillyer house.
- Santa Ysabel Indian Mission & Padre Gift Shop, 23013 Highway 79, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Museum, religious articles & everyday gifts and collectibles.
- The Skagen Ranch Studio, ☏ . Housed in a historic barn, the Skagen Ranch Studio offers fine art from Africa, India, Romania and other countries around the world. By appointment only.
- Town Hall Crafters, ☏ . Hand-crafted items made by local crafters. Sewing, woodwork, jewelry. Craft shows held monthly in the Julian Town Hall.
- Julian Station, 4470 Highway 78, ☏ . A rustic former apple cider house that features shopping, wine tasting, hard apple cider tasting and the Julian Certified Farmers Market every Sunday from 11AM to 4PM.
- Wynola Junction Antiques and Collectibles, 4326 Highway 78, Wynola, ☏ . Daily 10AM-6PM. A variety of antique and collectible dealers located in the historical fruit packing shed in Wynola - 3 miles West of Julian.
Julian is known for its apple pie. Visiting for even an hour and not having any would be a serious oversight. Most are on Main Street and cannot be missed, since there are often lines outside the store fronts.
- Apple Alley Bakery, 2122 Main St, ☏ . Serving a variety of homemade apple pies, pastries and cookies. Lunch menu includes potpies, calzone, soup, sandwiches and salad.
- Julian Pie Company, 2225 Main Street, Julian or 21976 Highway 79, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Locally owned family business specializing in apple pies and cider donuts. Some 17,000 trees provide apples for pies at their Julian and Santa Ysabel locations.
- Mom’s Pies, 2119 Main St, ☏ . Through the front window, watch Mom’s bakers lovingly prepare pies and baked goods for you. Steaming soups and sandwiches served on freshly baked whole-wheat buns.
- The Candy Basket, ☏ . Old-fashioned "real" candy store. 450 types of candy, hand-made fudge, maple, licorice, salt water taffy, chocolates.
- Julian Cider Mill (corner of Main and B Streets), ☏ . Candy, caramel apples, honey, dried fruits, apple butter, jams and jellies, marmalades, preserves, cider, honey.
- Bailey Woodpit Barbecue, 2307 Main St, ☏ . Texas style barbecue, wood smoked meats, fresh homemade salads, rolls, pies, live music Friday & Saturday nights, catering available. Beer, wine, cocktails, kids menu, Visa/MC.
- Candied Apple Pastry Company, 2128 Fourth St, ☏ . A full-service pastry shop specializing in classic pastries, artisan breads, elegant wedding cakes, and candied apples.
- Cowgirl Cafe, 2116 Main St, ☏ . Rustic decor with a cowgirl touch. Features meatloaf sandwich and apple cider float.
- Jeremy's on the Hill, 4354 Highway 78, ☏ . California fresh cuisine. Burgers made from scratch, etc. Beer and wine, too.
- Miner’s Diner, 2130 Main St, ☏ . Original old-fashioned soda fountain and diner with full breakfast and lunch menu. Daily specials. Open 8AM to 5PM
- Poncho Villas, 2907 Washington St, ☏ . Authentic Mexican food. All dishes are homemade. Known locally for carne asada, they also serve pizza and lasagna. Beer and wine. Inside dining and drive-through. M/C & Visa. Family owned.
- The Round-Up BBQ Grill, 26439 Highway 76, Santa Ysabel, ☏ . Overlooks Lake Henshaw. Specializes in wood fire grilling and rotisserie. Serving local natural beef. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Beer & wine. Catering available.
- Romano's Restaurant, 2718 B St, ☏ . Sicilian and other Italian dishes in lovely setting. Plentiful servings and homemade baked goods and desserts. Patio dining available.
- Rongbranch Restaurant, 2722 Washington St, ☏ . Steaks, seafood, down-home cooking. Lunch and dinner daily.
- Soups & Such Cafe & Flowers by Lani, 2000 Main Street, Ste. 101, ☏ . Intimate cafe with fresh flowers all around. Eggs benedict is their specialty for breakfast and there are soups & salads for lunch.
- Wynola Pizza Express, 4355 Highway 78 (three miles west of Julian), ☏ . 10:30AM to 8PM weekdays, open until 9PM Friday & Saturday. Closed Tuesdays. Live music Saturday. Pizza and other dishes made from scratch, including vegetarian dishes. Patio & dining room seating.
- Dudley's Bakery, Inc., 30218 Highway 78 (Julian Road), Santa Ysabel, CA 92070, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Th-Su 8AM-5PM. Over 20 kinds of bread, a full deli, a variety of pastries including seasonal delights.
- Julian Tea & Cottage Arts, 2124 Third St, ☏ . Tea is served daily in a charming turn-of-the-century home. Afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches, scone with whipped cream, homemade jam and dessert.
- 1 Artists' Loft and Cabins at Strawberry Hill, 4825 Pine Ridge Ave (google maps), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. A unique "bed and 'do-it-yourself' breakfast". Three separate, private cabins with full kitchens, wood stoves or fireplace, Cal-king beds, private baths with showers and tubs, off street parking, and the peace and quiet of the mountains. Supplies for your first breakfast are provided as well as coffee and tea. Each cabin has its own character, surrounded by trees and wildlife, but all share the amazing view from the Cuyamaca peaks to the ocean and beyond. $175 - 310.
- Butterfield Bed & Breakfast, ☏ , toll-free: . Five charming rooms, fireplaces, gourmet breakfasts, AAA 3 diamond rating.
- Eaglenest Bed & Breakfast, ☏ , toll-free: . Town site Victorian with great views. Four guestrooms feature fireplaces, TV/DVD/CD stereos, private patios and a two room suite. Full country breakfast & desserts, AC, pool & spa, wi-fi, kids 5 years and older welcome, golden retrievers. Sleeps up to 11, extra person fee.
- Historical House Lodging, ☏ . Old Julian charm, town site, 3 suites sleep 2-10.
- Horseman’s Inn, ☏ , toll-free: . Private atmosphere, Jacuzzi, situated on six-acre horse ranch.
- Julian Gold Rush Hotel, 2032 Main St, ☏ , toll-free: . Bed and breakfast.
- Mountain High Bed & Breakfast, 4110 Deer Lake Park Rd, ☏ . Beautiful country setting. Trees, gardens, charming, intimate. Rose Cottage for 2; or Woods Room for 2. Private entry, patio, bath, fireplace. Elegant spa/gazebo. Room service. Breakfasts.
- Oak Hill Farm Lodging, 3333 Coleman Circle, ☏ . Spacious country room. Great amenities: private baths and entries, guest-only pool, continental breakfast provided in room.
- Observers Inn, ☏ . Private guest rooms. Lobby with TV and library. On-site observatory telescopes are available for guests to use.
- Orchard Hill Country Inn, 2502 Washington St, ☏ , toll-free: . AAA four-diamond inn with 22 rooms in downtown Julian. Each stay includes a full breakfast and afternoon hors d'ouevres. An excellent, flavorful four-course dinner is also served on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
- Pinecrest Private Retreat, 3936 Highway 79 (3 miles south of Julian), ☏ . RV and Camping retreat specializing in vintage trailers located on 85 wooded acres. Group camping; limited hook-ups; dump station; Olympic pool.
- Pinezanita RV Park and Campgrounds, 4446 Highway 79 (4 miles south of Julian), ☏ . Clean and quiet campground. RV and tent camping, fishing pond, campfires allowed.
- Tucker Peak Lodge, 3975 Eagle Peak Rd, ☏ . Breathtaking views, beautiful Victorian decor, honeymoon suite and family rooms. Jacuzzi tub, fireplace and queen bed in rooms. Satellite TV and AC. Children OK.
- Wikiup Bed & Breakfast, ☏ , toll-free: . Secluded four room B & B, located in the woods one mile from Julian, which features private hot and whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and featherbeds. AAA / 3 diamond approved.