Hey everybody, you’ll be pleased to hear that Julian, California is a really great area for growing fresh, juicy apples.
And because of that there are some excellent spots where you take advantage of the opportunity, and take the family for a lovely day out picking your own apples from the various orchards. Such a great way to make happy memories!
But if you’re not too sure where to go, there’s no need to worry – we’ve done our homework so that you don’t have to…
In this article, we’re sharing with you our hand-picked shortlist of the absolute best places to go apple picking when you’re staying in Julian, California.
There are 11 spots on our list altogether, and we were sure to include the precise address of each and a brief walk through of what you can expect when you get there, including when to get there.
A Quick Heads Up
Just to bring you up to speed, in case you weren’t already aware, there wasn’t much apple picking available in Julian in 2022, due to atrocious weather conditions such as storms, 90 miles per hour winds, up to 4 and a half inches of rain a day, frosts, and a historic drought.
But although crops were certainly down in 2022, we’re pleased to report that it hasn’t stopped the farmers from feeling more optimistic about future years.
But please do plan ahead and be sure to check the websites, the Facebook pages etc, to check that the orchard is open for U-Pick before you make your way to any of them, in order to avoid disappointment.
And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!
(The following apple picking spots aren’t listed in any particular order.)
1. Julian Farm And Orchard
Location: 4381 Julian Hwy, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
This lovely farm and orchard features 25 acres of sustainable farming, and is an agri-tourism hot spot offering fun field trips, and friendly farm animals in a petting zoo, picnic areas, hayrides, hammocks, a gift shop, and even a rock climbing wall, and axe throwing!
It’s a great place for weddings, field trips, and of course, fruit and apple picking…
They offer several family pick-your-own opportunities throughout the year.
There are daffodils during late February through April; strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and sunflowers from June through August; apples in September; and their famous Pumpkin picking in late September and October;
They’re open from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. You can book ahead of time and even buy a season pass if you’re interested. There’s a nice gift shop with all kinds of things to check out, and card payments are accepted.
2. Calico Ranch Apples And Cidery
Location: 4228 Firefighter Steven Rucker Memorial Hwy, Julian, CA 92036
This 30 acre family-run ranch belonging to the Young family has been owned by them for over 20 years now. When they run their U-Pick, you can find several varieties of apples, and also pears as well.
Although, after the drought, and due to other certain circumstances besides, Calico Ranch has made it known that they won’t be open for pick-your-own inn 2023, but you never know when they may open again following 2023.
Fingers crossed they do, be sure to keep a check.
They also have their own cidery, where they make all of their cider from their very own home-grown apples. And there are just two ingredients, namely apples and native yeast.
3. Volcan Valley Apple Farm
Location: 1284 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Volcan Valley Apple Farm is a delightful spot for apple picking, with excellent customer ratings and reviews.
They grow 7 different varieties of apples, and they plan to start growing two more varieties over the coming few years. Their pick-your-own season runs through September, from Fridays through Mondays, from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.
You will be asked to pay a small entry fee, although anyone aged 5 years and undergoes in free of charge. The farm provides the bags for you, and you can fill them up with your chosen apples.
The apple bags can hold between 6 and 7 pounds of yummy apples, which you pay for on leaving.
What’s more, well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, so you can really bring the whole family.
4. Apple Starr Orchard
Location: 1020 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Formerly known as “Farmer’s Road”, Apple Starr Orchard is approximately 28 acres in size and is home to about a thousand trees, with a 1:1 ratio of apple and pear trees.
And most of them have branches that children can easily reach and access. But there are also picking poles if you want to reach high up apples or pears.
The varieties of apples available include the likes of granny smith jonagold, roma, arkansas black, red delicious. And wealthy.
The varieties of pears available are bosc, anjou, comice, red bartlett and green bartlett.
There’s ample parking available, and handy picnic tables in the shade.
5. 3803 Wynola Road (AKA Old Peacefield Orchard)
Location: 3803 Wynola Rd, Julian, CA 92036
3803 Wynola Road (also known as Old Peacefield Orchard), is home to more than 200 thriving apple trees including the renowned Granny Gravenstein, which is known to be the oldest apple tree in the whole of Julian, California.
There, you will come across Jonathans, Jonagolds, Golden And Red Delicious, and granny smiths.
You’re invited to come down, bring the family and pick your own juicy apples when in season on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 in the morning through to 2 in the afternoon.
6. Apples & Art Orchards
Location: 1052 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Apples and Art Orchards is family owned and operated, and has been around for over 10 years now. But rather than adding the address to your GPS system, we recommend following the directions on the website instead.
It offers a great apple picking experience from the moment you arrive. The owner talks you through how to pick the apples, and gives you interesting facts, before escorting you to the apple trees.
While there, you can pick such apple varieties as red delicious, golden delicious, jonathan, gala, arkansan black, fuji, jonagold and new strains like fiesta, greensleeves, queen cox, and liberty plus vintage heirloom apples.
After your apple picking, you then get to hand-crank an apple press to produce an apple pulp that you can use to feed the chickens!
7. Ranchita del Reo
Location: 1656 CA-78, Julian, CA 92036
Located directly across from Julian High School and the county library, Ranchita del Reo is a 5th generation family owned and operated farming business since 1942.
They offer a private apple picking experience that lasts between 30 minutes and an hour in their apple orchard for small family gatherings.
This is run Friday through Monday during the apple picking season (usually from the end of September through November) from 9 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.
They prefer that you email them to make your reservation, but they can accept walk-ins as well.
Each person will receive a 1/4-peck apple picking bag to fill.
And in addition to the apple picking, guests are also offered a choice of either: homemade jam, cheese, crackers and cider; 3 honeys to sample, homemade cornbread and cider; or homemade salsa, corn chips and cider.
And they also have a pick-your-own pumpkin patch as well.
8. Crosscut Farm And Orchard
Location: 1209 Farmer Road, Julian, CA 92036
This is a lovely spot for apple picking in Julian. It’s a mom-and-pop operation with 700 apple trees. Their main apples are golden delicious, jonathan and liberty.
In addition to apple picking, you also get a full farm tour complete with a short introduction to apple farming, and a cider pressing demo.
It’s a lovely spot for a picnic, and they also have an arts and craft shop with handmade fabric art items available for purchase.
9. Julian Mining Company
Location: 4444 CA-78, Julian, CA 92036
As you may have guessed from the name, Julian Mining Company is better known for its gold panning and gem mining rather than apple picking.
But with its thousands of apple trees, berry plants and pumpkins, it’s also a great spot for fruit picking, too, and this is still available there.
They also have tomahawk throwing, a dig pit and a little’ mine train ride. And they offer some amazing field trips as well.
We hope you’ve enjoyed browsing through the options, I’m sure you’ll agree that there are some excellent choices there to pick from (pun intended)!
All you really need is the right weather for the perfect crop, combined with the right weather for your trip, and you’re all ripe for a fun family day out (yes, pun intended again!).
As for which to choose, just take your pick (OK, we’ll stop now!).
Have a great time!
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