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Julian Pioneer Museum

10 Must-Visit Places In Julian (2023)

Julian is a small mountain town in San Diego County, tucked within the verdant landscape just north of Mount Laguna. It is quite a preferable spot amongst celebrities, and you might find a few of them vacationing here. Julian is primarily known for its apples and apple products throughout Southern California, and here you can taste at least seven unique varieties of the fruit. However, that’s not all that the town has to offer. From charming museums to beautifully restored historic homes, gorgeous mountain backdrops, and gold mining past, there’s a lot this small town holds.

Julian can be reached within an hour’s drive from San Diego. For its appealing hideaway and peace from the big city annoyance, this small town welcomes tourists all through the year. If easy-going streets, quiet surroundings, and small-town vibes are your jam, then planning a quick day trip or a weekend getaway to Julian is totally worth your time and experience.

10 Must-Visit Places In Julian

To make sure your time goes terrifically well, take some tips from our list of 10 Most Popular places to visit and things to do when in Julian. Have a look:

1. California Wolf Center

The California Wolf Center is basically a rescue and care center for wolves located near the town of Julian, 8 minutes from downtown. The center is committed to capture, treat and return wolves to the wild. It is today home to two breeds of grey wolves, including North American grey wolves and Mexican grey wolf. The center has created a near-natural environment for making the wolves feel at home despite being in captivity. A few chosen wolves amongst the pack are used for educational programs that allow visitors to learn about their daily lives, wolf biology & ecology, and their issues. It is one great place to spend an hour or two at, though make sure you have made your bookings in advance.

Must-Visit Place In Julian-California Wolf Center

Image Source Photo Courtesy California Wolf Center From FB

2. Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca, which is also denoted as Cuyamaca lake, is one of the finest outdoor recreation places in Julian. It is a 110 acres lake and recreational area located in the east of Cuyamaca mountains at an elevation of 4,600 feet. The area is mostly wilderness, and thus the beauty here is unbeatably gorgeous, all worth viewing and capturing. There’s a lot to do at Lake Cuyamaca for visitors, including boating and fishing, where one can find channel catfish, smallmouth bass, sturgeon, Florida Bass, and trout in abundance. The lake attracts fisherman from all over California state, and you can find a lot of them any time of the year. The nearby region of the lake is also famous amongst camping enthusiasts, hikers, and picnic seekers. There’s a store, cafe, and tackle shop on the site as well.

3. Julian Pioneer Museum

Julian Pioneer Museum is a small but charming museum to explore when in Julian. The museum is home to exciting artifacts that tells a lot of Julian’s history and life in the past. Earlier, when Julian came into existence, the region was full of native American villages, and that is what this exciting site tells a lot about. Through several historical artifacts, the museum, the stories from 1869 to the present that is well preserved in an 1890-blacksmith shop. Here you can find things like time-worn clothes, mining equipment, an original buggy, and sleigh, along with the finest fame laced collection of the State. The museum is open for exploration from Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. 

4. Santa Ysabel East Preserve

Julian being a mountain town, offers a lot of opportunities where one can explore the beautiful rolling hills, and the Santa Ysabel East Preserve is definitely one fine example of that. The gateway to the preserve can be reached 3 miles from downtown Julian making one reach to the scenic glory of gently rolling hills, oak woodlands, hiking, horse-riding and biking trails, grasslands, wildflower beds, picnic spots, and whatnot. All the trails here offer challenges from easy to moderately strenuous, well-groomed, and marked all the way 18.5 miles long. No part of the trails goes over an elevation of 1000 feet, though there are some steeps, all it is worth capturing experience and view. Dogs at least are always allowed inside the preserve. Also, if you are lucky enough, you might discover some wildlife on your way.

5. Go for Apple picking

When in the Californian town of Apples, you cannot just simply go back without picking some fresh apples from the orchards. Apple orchards in Julian let you pick your own apples and even take them back home with you. However, the apple picking season here does not last very long, typically from September to October or at times until November. Septembers at Julian start getting chill enough for great apple production, and it is the time when you can book yourself some apple picking tours. If you have kids along, Apple Starr Orchard is an excellent option as some of their 70 years old trees have shallow branches that make it easier for even kids to pluck the fruit. Calico Ranch Orchard is another great option for families; however, if you want to go in a group, Apples & Art Orchards can be your ultimate stop.

6. Do taste and shop for some Apple pies

Apple pie is undoubtedly one of the prime draws that keep welcoming visitors to Julian all throughout the year. From the old-school apple pie to peach-apple, apple-berry crumb pies, apple cider donuts, and apple nut bread, there are a lot more apple dishes than you can think of. One of the best places to try these delicious sweets is the Julian Pie company. Using apples from their own orchards, they prepare delicious flaky, crispy crust with unique toppings like ice cream, chicken, local cider, and whatnot. Another great spot is the Mom’s Pie, offering the exact taste your mom makes back at home. Pie companies at Julian even sell frozen pies in case you want to go back home, reheat them and go for another shot of sweet munching.

7. Explore the underground Gold Mines

Earlier in the days when apples were not in the scene here, Julian was known as the Gold-Mining town. Until the late 18th century, the city was home to more than 200 gold mines, and a few of the tunnels from then are restored for public tours today. While you are in Julian, here, you can explore the Gold-mines and learn about the struggle and conditions of miners who were subjected to work for straight 12 hours a day. The best spot of experiencing that is the Eagle Mine that takes the visitors 1,000 feet to 4000 feet of underground tunnels offering a journey back in time. The mine is made up of several levels with an intricate series of tunnels, and exploring them is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. When in Julian, do not miss the chance to explore the Gold-mines.

8. Gaze the jet-black star-studded sky

Gazing in the sky might not be as pleasurable for everyone, but when most of the cities are filled with light pollution all night, it is in Julian where you can find a clear sky full of glittering stars. Julian as a town is a member of the official Dark Sky Community, which means it is one of the rare places (within 1%) that can still view the Milky Way. They take strict measures to avoid any kind of light pollution during the night, and if you have even a slight bit of interest in any field of science, you can capture astounding views of stars and planets from the telescopes here. The cities distance from the urban glow with support of surrounding mountain peaks improves the view of the sky. From dark sky events to sky tour & talk, there are a lot of events going here all throughout the year, ensuring everyone gets their telescopic assist to the wonders of the sky.

9. Ride the horse-drawn carriages covering the charming downtown

Downtown Julian is a small but leisurely place, and the best experience you can grab here is of the horse-drawn carriage ride. The Julian Carriage Company takes you on a playful and fun 15 minutes ride for a splendid afternoon excursion in downtown Julian. Due to the number of people waiting for their way, the rides are most of the time exceptionally expensive; however, if you had made a reservation prior, you might get some discounts. Also, because those horses love carrots, consider taking some as a token of love for them.

10. Enjoy the unpredictable Julian Snowfall

Unlike most mountain regions in California, Julian, too, gets a good amount of snow every year, but the quantity and time significantly vary from year to year. Snow here depends mainly upon the storms, and typically they start from January and stays till April. When the entire countryside and the peaks around are filled with snow flax, Julian transforms swiftly into a wonderland. And if you are lucky enough to catch the prime snowfall days here in the city, you will definitely experience views that are straight out of either Hollywood movies or from an artist’s canvas.Enjoy the unpredictable Julian Snowfall, Julian

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