arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

San Diego East - Mountains

Julian, Laguna and Cuyamaca Mountains

Our favorite family-friendly day trips to East San Diego include the historic mining town of Julian, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and the pine-studded Laguna Mountains.

Get Your Fill of Crisp Air and Stunning Vistas

The mountains of San Diego’s East County are an easy escape from the urban environment and conjure up images of the Old West with their historic sites and towns. They may not be tall or especially snowy compared to other mountains in the west, but their accessibility (6,000 feet and less than one hour from downtown San Diego) means you can hike, bike, sled, snowshoe or cross-country ski during the day and be back in the city by nightfall.

Julian

The delightful mountain community of Julian was once the second largest town in San Diego County during the gold boom of 1869. Set in the Cuyamaca Mountains and reached by tree-lined country roads, picturesque Julian is nearly empty of traffic and uncluttered by commercial development. Cattle graze on the hillsides, apple orchards dot the landscape, roadside stands sell homemade jams and fresh produce—it’s truly a peaceful, pastoral scene. This quaint town is as famous for its apple pie as it is for its collection of gold mines (several offer tours geared toward children). Julian enchants with its friendly restaurants, bed & breakfast hideaways, antique stores, art galleries and nearby hiking and nature walks.

Julian’s charm and Victorian architecture stretch from one end of town to the other, housing handicraft and antique shops, a general store and country-style restaurants. The irresistible aroma of cinnamon and apples fills the air as many shops and eateries sell homemade pies filled with fruit from local orchards. One of the most popular times to visit Julian is during the apple picking season each autumn from mid-September through mid-November, a tradition begun in 1909 and celebrated annually with the 2-day Julian Apple Days Festival.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Located slightly south of Julian is Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, home to more than 100 miles of hiking trails, many open to horseback riders, as well as campgrounds and picnic sites. On a clear day, the park’s highest viewpoint, Cuyamaca Peak (6,512 feet), reveals views of Mexico, mountain ranges near Los Angeles and wide expanses of desert. The park is also inhabited by magnificent wildlife, including large herds of mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, an occasional cougar, and more than 150 identified species of birds.

Laguna Mountains

The pine-studded Laguna Mountains, located within the Cleveland National Forest’s 8,600-acre spread, offers outdoor enthusiasts hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and mountain climbing during the summer months and sledding and tobogganing in the winter.


Follow this link to learn about San Diego's East County Region.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

On The Road Again Package

Days Inn By Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Valid: Mar 29, 2021 - ongoing

Book our On The Road Again Package and receive cozy room accommodations, free nightly parking (usually $10/night) and a complimentary $25 gas card! Make San Diego your road trip destination!

Accommodation

AAA & CAA Member Rate

Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
Valid: Jan 13, 2021 - ongoing

AAA or CAA Members receive special savings when they book their 2021 stay at the Holiday Inn Bayside! Membership card must be presented at check in. Without proper membership ID discount cannot be...

Accommodation

Have Vaccine, Will Travel!

Grande Colonial Hotel
Valid: Mar 19 - ongoing

You’ve been compliant with masking and social distancing. You’ve stayed close to home inside your bubble.  You haven’t eaten out in months!  But you’ve received your...

Events to check out

Event

Heiva San Diego

Aug 13 - Aug 15, 2021

Heiva San Diego, a Polynesian celebration representing Tahiti as the bridge between French Polynesia and the US and sharing our culture with the community. This year, due to the pandemic, the...

Event

PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

San Diego Photography Tours
Nov 4, 2020 - ongoing

Learn how to capture the essence of the late-day light and magical nighttime beauty of America’s finest city, on an Instagrammable private photography tour. Whether mastering how to shoot our...

Event

Catered Pizza + 1 Bottle of WINE

Castelli Family Vineyards
Aug 29, 2021

Who's ready for a FUN Sunday! On August 29th between 12pm - 5pm we will have Catered Pizza and lots of wine. Cost: $49.99 Details: Choose one pizza and 1 bottle of wine. You can pick either...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish