Nestled in the picturesque Cuyamaca Mountains just one hour east of downtown San Diego, Julian is a premier year-round getaway destination for those seeking an escape to the natural beauty of the countryside. This historic mountain hideaway offers a multitude of options from taking a day trip to sample its famous warm apple pie to escaping for a romantic weekend in the tranquility of the great outdoors.
Unlike San Diego’s coastal communities, Julian is unique due to its four distinct seasons, from the changing color of fall leaves and the fresh spring blooms of lilacs and daffodils to a warm summer breeze and even a majestic snowfall.
The annual fall apple harvest runs from mid-September to November and draws locals and visitors hungry for fresh apple pies and just-pressed cider. For two days in October, the area celebrates the Julian Apple Days Festival with apple displays, music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children’s games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, food and merchandise vendors, contests, and, of course, apple pie and cider.
In June, celebrate the discovery of gold in Julian during the Julian Gold Rush Days. This weekend event includes gold panning, gold mine tours, face painting, historic skits, reenactments, a scavenger hunt and more.
Julian is a shopper’s delight with a friendly and inviting Main Street of old fashioned stores and specialty shops offering everything from artwork, antiques and apple pies to books, candles, quilts, crafts, clothing, jewelry, seasonal decorations and more. Just off Main Street, on B and C Streets up to Third Street, there are also a number of quaint little shops tucked on the hill worth exploring.
Shoppers can also discover and purchase the works of world-class artists. The Julian Arts Guild, a collective of talented painters, sculptors, potters, jewelry makers, craftsmen and women, hosts four annual art shows throughout the year showcasing its diverse group of artists, culminating with an Open Studios and Galleries Tour each November.
Wynola Farms Marketplace is another premiere destination in Julian for art, antiques and local libations, where guests can browse 16 unique shops, sample local produce at its popular Sunday farmers market and taste Julian Hard Cider and wines from the award-winning Orfila Vineyards & Winery.
Horse lovers can find a truly magnificent horseback riding experience around Julian’s backcountry. Guests can rely on experienced trail guides to lead them to some of the most breathtaking views from vistas surrounding Julian valley. For the camping enthusiast, Julian offers some of the best private and public campgrounds in San Diego County. Due to its prime location, campers have the choice of retreating to the high desert or setting up camp around areas such as Lake Cuyamaca, where fishing, biking and hiking are just some of the many activities available to nature buffs.
Julian’s mountain setting provides great scenic routes for leisurely road biking or challenging mountain biking. Spanning unbeatable views of the deserts and valleys below, riders flock to Julian for annual bike events like the Tour de Julian in November and the Julian Death March in October. Julian also boasts over 15 notable hiking trails among its scenic setting. A diverse selection of trails can be found in the forested Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the meadows of Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve and the woodlands of Santa Ysabel Preserve.
Whatever the season and whatever your interests, there is something for everyone in the spectacular mountain town of Julian. Extend your trip by exploring more of San Diego's East County.