Nature Activities

Julian is surrounded by two state parks, a national forest, a county park, and preserves.  The one thing they have in common is their beauty.  We hope that you take the time to explore our unique natural world.

Anza-Borrego Visitor Center

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the lower 48.  The park protects unique plants, wildlife, historic Native American sites and geological history.  There is a visitor center with educational exhibits and countless trails.  In the winter and spring, Anza-Borrego is also home to colorful wildflowers.  We hope you that you have an adventurous day trip on the other side of our mountain.     

CA Parks and Recreation

California Wolf Preserve

Come visit San Diego's only wolf reserve to learn fun facts, meet the wolves, and get an inside look at wolf conservation! Tours of their resident wolf packs at their conservation facility are by appointment only, so please sign up for one of their three educational tours.

California Wolf Reserve

Cuyamaca State Park

Cuyamaca State Park offers 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.  The park also has a visitor center that provides information about the natural ecosystem.    

Cuyamca State Park

Lake Cuyamaca

About a 15-minute drive from Julian, Lake Cuyamaca is a picture-book, 110-acre lake. Situated at an elevation of 4,600 feet in an Oak and Pine forest, it is surrounded on three sides by the 26,000-acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Lake Cuyamaca is the perfect getaway. You can walk around Fletcher Island, have a picnic or go paddle boating.  Few places in San Diego County offer the pristine views of mountains and water.  

Lake Cuyamaca

Mount Laguna

With its Jeffrey pines, Mount Laguna is reminiscent of the Sierras. Hiking trails lead you through large open meadows, stands of pine trees and to peaks with incredible views of the desert below. As part of the Cleveland National Forest, day passes are required and can be purchased at the Mount Laguna Store.

Mount Laguna

The Santa Ysabel Preserves

The Santa Ysabel Preserves are surrounded by oak woodlands, native grasslands, and fields of wildflowers that portrays a beautiful natural setting during your hiking, biking, and riding adventures within the boundaries of this 3,800-acre preserve.  More than 13 miles of multi-use trails wind through the various habitats in this scenic mountain preserve.  Santa Ysabel Creek runs along the entire northern boundary of the preserve. 

The Santa Ysabel Preserve

Volcan Mountain Preserve Foundation

Rising over 5,000 feet, Volcan Mountain is the dominant scenic feature for a significant portion of San Diego's backcountry and visible from the Pacific coastline 60 miles away. It is one of the last privately-owned and relatively untouched areas of Southern California and is an extraordinary natural treasure which must be preserved for future generations.  The hiking trail leads you to the beautiful views of Julian and beyond.

Volcan Mountain

William Heise County Park

Situated 4,200 feet above sea level in a forest of pines and oaks along the northern extremity of the Laguna Mountain Range, this 929-acre park is one of the few county parks to get snowfall each year.  Forests of oak, pine, and cedar surround peaceful mountain meadows and provide an undisturbed setting for miles of scenic hiking and equestrian trails.

William Heise County Park