Updated: Jan 26, 2022
There are a number of local farms that run u-pick operations in the greater Julian area. You can check to see which u-pick orchards are open to the public on the Chamber website.
For this local guide, I am specifically highlighting my favorite orchards. These orchards are easy to access, don’t require reservations, are well laid out, and have a decent amount of parking available.
Julian’s gateway community of Wynola is home to the majority of local farms.
*Always check websites and social media accounts to verify the orchard's hours of operation and that u-picking is available.*
Julian Farm & Orchard
Located off Highway 78 in the heart of the outskirt community of Wynola Julian Farm and Orchard is hard to miss. There is a decent sized gravel parking lot. The __ acre farm is well-groomed. The property features u-pick berries, pumpkins, and apples. Other activities are also on the premises. Close by is CA Mountain Bakery, Wynola Pizza, and the Julian Station (home of The Cooler, Julian Hard Cider, and Merdo Acres) is about a block away.
Location: 4381 Highway 78 Santa Ysabel CA 92070, US
Hours: Friday - Sunday 11-5 (seasonally)
Reservations: Not required
Cost: $10 purchase in activity tickets to be used towards farm activities
Parking: The grounds have a good size gravel parking lot right off the road. Parking does fill up quickly. Parking along the highway is not permitted.
Calico Ranch & Cidery
About a quarter-mile down Highway 78 heading toward Main Street Julian is Calico Ranch & Cidery. Calico Ranch is known for its u-pick orchard and historic property. In ____ they opened a cidery on the property.
Location: 4200 Highway 78 Julian CA 92036, US
Parking: The grounds have a dirt parking lot right off the road. Parking does fill up quickly. Parking along the highway is not permitted.
Volcan Valley Apple Farm (formally known as Raven Hill)
Volcan Valley Apple Farm is Julian’s largest, and probably most well-known, u-pick orchard. Here the 8,000 trellis-grown apple trees make it easy for all ages to pick apples. At the beginning of each row, look up for a sign with the apple variety. Walk the orchard to pick a few of all the 7 different varieties. Jonagold, Granny, Fuji, Gala, and Empire — a few of the varieties grown here. After you pick apples, walk over to Menghini Winery. The property was originally an apple processing plant. Now it’s home to Julian’s oldest winery.
Location: 1284 Julian Orchards Drive Julian CA 92036, US
Hours: Friday - Monday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm [last bags sold at 4:30 pm / Gates close at 5:00 pm] (seasonally)
Reservations: Not required
Cost: $15 . . . . (1) bag plus (1) admission
$5 . . . . (1) admission per person
FREE . . . . Children 5 years old & under
Parking: There is limited parking in front of the orchard by the North and South gates. Please note that parking along the road is only allowed in designated spots. On weekends additional parking is available at Menghini Winery and the West gate is open.
Highlands Valley Orchard (formally Odell’s Organic Orchard)
Just down the street from Volcan Valley Apple Farm is Highland Valley Orchard. Owned and operated by Julian Beer Co. guests can walk about the farm and pick fresh pears. So yummy!
Address: 1095 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Reservations: Not required
Ranchita del Reo
Run by a 4th generation Julian family who has been in the farming business since 1942, Ranchita del Reo is a great option for those looking for a more private experience. They offer a great, private apple picking experience.
Address: 1711 Hwy 78, Julian CA 92036, US
Hours: Based on reservation
Cost: Based on reservation ($50-100)
Know Before you go: Tips from a Julian Local
Expect crowds and traffic. Weekends in Julian between September and New Year's Day are very busy. I definitely recommend coming during the week. If you can come only on a weekend, try to arrive at the orchard when it opens for the day. By noon, Julian is crowded.
Go when the orchards first open or you may miss the season! In San Diego County, peak apple picking season usually begins at the end of August (when the apples begin to ripen) through the beginning of October (when the orchards sell out). The dates for apple picking vary each year.
Julian runs on mountain time, as in most places close by 5 pm.
Closed-toed shoes are a must.
Check the weather before you come. The weather tends to be pretty warm during late summer. Don’t forget to bring water.
I recommend wearing weather-appropriate clothing that can get dirty.
Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are highly recommended.
Parking is very limited. PLEASE only park in designated areas. Parking is not allowed along the highways. Don’t be the bad apple of the bunch. Cars illegally parked create traffic congestion and block exits. Law enforcement will be out ticketing illegally parked cars.
Julian has a restroom shortage.
Julian Apple Orchard Candle
Be sure to bring home a Mountain Made apple scented candle with you! It's assured to leave your home smelling like Julian.
What to make with your apple harvest?
Now that you have a bunch of handpicked Julian apples to take home, what are you going to do with all these apples? You’ll need plenty of apples for making homemade applesauce, pies, cobbler, and you’ll want to save some just for munching. Check out all these apple recipes you can make!
Tell me about your experience picking apples in Julian. Comment below or find me on social @mountainmademe
**All information provided in this post was correct to the best of my knowledge at the time the post was published. Information provided in this post may change without notice. Please double-check with the individual business for the most up-to-date information.**