Best Hikes Near Julian, CA

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Over the last couple of years, San Diego hikes like Iron Mountain and Mount Woodson have gained extreme popularity. Meanwhile, forty to fifty minutes east of Mount Woodson in the area surrounding Julian, you can find miles of breathtaking hikes without all of the foot traffic. What are you waiting for? Let’s lace up the hiking boots, pack lots of water, and start exploring!

Santa Ysabel East Preserve

The Santa Ysabel East Preserve offers a beautiful hiking trail from the bottom of the Santa Ysabel to the top of Farmers Road. For a more strenuous hike, start off highway 79 and hike up the trail. Access from Farmers Road is a very easy hike down the hill. Oak woodland and rolling grassy hills are perfect for the furry friend you bring along, as long as they wear a leash.


Upper Access:

500 Farmer Road

Julian, CA 92036

Lower Access:

22550 Highway 79

Santa Ysabel, CA 92070

Hours: 8 am to Sunset

Length: Over 13 miles of Trails

Difficulty: Easy to moderately-difficult

Cost: Free

Open To: Horses, mountain bikes, and dogs are permitted provided they are on a leash.

Volcan Mountain

With a scenic vista of the San Diego coastline, Volcan Mountain offers a stunning perspective of San Diego County. Hikers start out at about 4,100 feet above sea level and those who climb to the summit reach 5,353 feet over about 5 miles. This is a great early morning or evening hike to catch the sunrise and sunset. In the summer, temperatures can make this hike hot and sweaty, so bring sun protection and a good amount of water.


1209 Farmer Road

Julian, CA 92036

Hours: 8 am to Sunset

Length: Roughly 11-mile round-trip hike to the summit and back

Difficulty: Moderately-strenuous (over 1,200 altitude increase)

Cost: Free

Open To: Horses, mountain bikes, and dogs are permitted provided they are on a leash.

Stonewall Peak

With 360 degrees of breathtaking views of the Cuyamaca area, Stonewall Peak is one of the more popular hikes in the region. As the season’s change, so does the view. Hikers can experience wildflowers, fall colors, and even snowy mountain tops. This hike has plenty of switchbacks, but it’s important not to take shortcuts to preserve the integrity of the trail for everyone to use. Some of the rocks on top of the peak have Native American grinding holes.


Across the street from Paso Picacho Campground, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Length: 5.4 miles

Difficulty: Moderately-strenuous

Cost: $10 per vehicle parking fee by California State Parks

Open To: Hikers only (pets are allowed only on paved roads within the park)

Lake Cuyamaca

This hard-to-miss landmark is beautiful from any angle. The Lake Cuyamaca Recreation Park offers easy hiking options for all ages around the lake. Watch out for wildlife. The lake is home to fish, ducks, geese, hawks, and Bald Eagles.


15027 CA-79

Julian, CA 92036

Difficulty: Easy

Open to: Hikers, and pets (be mindful of California State Park Boundaries with pets)

Cost: $10 per vehicle parking fee

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Cuyamaca Peak via Conejos Trail

Cuyamaca Peak is the second-highest peak in San Diego Country. Most adventurists hike the peak via Paso Picacho Campground. An alternative route is to hike Milk Ranch Road to Azalea Spring Fire Road and then take the Conejos Trail to the summit.


Park at the Trout Pond Parking area and walk across the Highway 79 to Milk Ranch RD.

Difficulty: Strenuous 6 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain/loss 1850 feet

Open to: Hikers only (pets are allowed only on paved roads within the park)

Cost: $10 per vehicle parking fee by California State Parks

**Due to the frequency of injuries and deaths, I do not recommend hiking to

Three Sisters Falls or Cedar Creek Falls. **

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Hi! I'm Eva.

I'm having the time of my life living out the American Dream as an entrepreneur, elected official, and full-time commuter college student.

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Julian, CA 92036

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