Julian, California is a small town tucked away in the mountains above San Diego county. Surrounded by National Forest, apple orchards, hiking trails and wildlife, it is a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Main Street is lined with family-owned mom and pop shops selling eclectic gifts and unique handmade items. The many restaurants and pie shops serving made-from-scratch dishes will cater to any craving. While most people may know Julian for its famous apple pie, many may not know that Julian has a deep history rooted in gold mining. Take a breath, take a tour, find adventure and enjoy yourself!
Gold Mining Tours in Julian, California
Imagine having the ability to explore a prosperous gold mine of the past! To have that way of life recreated as you explore the inside of a pitch black mountain with tunnels in all different directions and stairs leading up and down multiple stories, thrown back in time and completely immersed in history!
The Eagle and High Peak Gold Mine and Museum in Julian, California, is a sight not to be missed! You’ll find it just off of the main street in Julian (which is conveniently named “Main Street”). A quiet dirt road opens up to massive mining equipment, a souvenir shop and parking. Parking is not abundant so call ahead if you are planning on bringing multiple carloads of people.
This tour is CASH ONLY as is the souvenir shop. My daughter went crazy for a jar of fool’s gold. She HAD to have it. Thank goodness we had enough cash.
TMOM Tip: Dress in layers. Springtime means sunshine but also low temperatures and brisk winds.
What to Expect
While waiting for your tour to begin, you are free to peruse the souvenir shop which is filled with various gemstones, gold items, artifacts of the past and historical photos of the mine when it was in operation. There is also a gold panning station out front and you are free to pan your heart out while passing the time. This is such an awesome sensory play activity mixed with a history lesson. I could barely tear my kids away.
Entering the mine- Your tour guide will be filled with knowledge and a deep passion for the mine which makes it that much more exciting. We began the tour in the Eagle Mine. Light turned to dark and our eyes adjusted to jagged rocks lining the walls and ceiling of the mountain around us. Winding around through tight spaces, we were sent on a trip going left and right and up various stairs.
Lights have been installed for touring purposes but our guide turned off the lights for only a minute and lit but one candle in the pitch black so we were able to experience the exact conditions that the miners dealt with originally. Using dangerous equipment and dynamite in those conditions would be insane! Seeing the railway tracks meander throughout the mountain with various rail cars made us feel as though we were in an Indiana Jones movie. Basically, the kids were ecstatic…and I felt like a kid again. The tour lasts about an hour and is worth every minute.
The Pie- All of that adventure will make you hungry and there is no shortage of great grub in the vicinity and the pie is abundant. Do yourself a favor and enjoy lunch and pie with your family afterwards.Here are a couple of our favorites:
Miner’s Diner – a quaint diner and soda shop. Everything from a simple and delicious burger and fries to a hot bowl of minestrone soup. This is our go to spot…with the convenience of pie directly across the street.
Mom’s Pie Shop- Is it world famous? It should be by now. There is usually a line but it’s for a reason. Apple pie, pear, blackberry and my personal favorite, strawberry rhubarb plus many more. It’s warm and cozy with a wood burning stove and restrooms.
Let’s Recap- This is a simple, family fun day trip to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. With so many gold mining shows on T.V these days, the technique and knowledge surrounding mining has built up popularity again. Turn off the T.V and live it! Feed your curiosity and appetite for adventure with living history and…pie. Again, this is cash only!
Kids 5-12- $5; Under 5- $1
Located at 2320 C st in Julian Ca