There’s gold in these mountains! Well, there was, once upon a time. In the 1870s, prospectors discovered gold in Julian, leading to the creation of Eagle Mine, known as the Mother Lode of Southern California. Most of the gold is long gone, but the mine has been restored and turned into a great spot to learn about our gold-mining past.
A tour of the Eagle means following your guide through a thousand feet of tunnels and getting the vibe for what it was like to work in a gold mine in the 1870s. You’ll learn how the miners extracted gold from these tunnels, which include a shaft that is more than 27 stories deep! The narrow tunnels twist and turn over old cart tracks and under rock filled with quartz-bearing veins. At the end of the tour, try your hand at panning for real gold! You won’t get to keep the gold, but it sure is fun to slosh aside the dirt and find those golden specks in the bottom of your pan. The mine is on 24 acres of land, and includes a shady picnic area where you can relax and ponder what life must have been like back in those days.
EAT: If gold mining whets your appetite, head down the road a couple minutes and visit Julian’s Main Street—full of Old West charm and shops and restaurants to explore. The young at heart will get a kick out of the Candy Mine inside the Miner’s Diner, and no visit to this apple-growing hotbed is complete without a visit to the famous Julian Pie Company. A slice of fresh baked pie really hits the spot after all that prospecting. Our top choice: the apple mountain berry crumb pie.
Julian is at the crossroads of CA-78 and CA-79. From the heart of town, head northeast on C St. for 0.3 mile, and continue 0.2 mile on Miners Rd. The tour lasts about an hour and is suitable for all ages, providing you are able to climb a short ladder to exit the mine. Tours are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 13, and $1 for children under age 4. The mine is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No dogs.