Drive with care... During the winter months, we sometimes have fog and an occational snowstorm. Check the weather reports and bring along some tire chains if snow is likely. Rattlesnakes and mountain lions are present in the woods, but they fear humans and rarely cause problems for our visitors. Remain aware and make plenty of noise so they know you're coming and can get out of your way!
Julian is a two street town that gets overcrowded in September and October. Sometimes, even during warm weekends, San Diegans crowd the town and parking becomes a problem. The parking on the streets is free, but if you arrive later in the day or during apple season, be forewarned that parking is of a premium and there is a parking lot at 4th and B Streets, one block off of Main Street, that charges five dollars.
Except in the case of lightening striking or power lines falling.
To give you an idea how hellish forest fires are, consider this: This photo is not a sunset shot. It was taken along a beach more than an hour's drive west from Julian when the fires of 2003 burned for a month. As the area surrounding Julian burned, Santa Ana winds blew the smoke and the ash south/west and this was the result. You may not see the ash falling, I did and it was unsettling to realize there was no relief, even at the beach. Imagine the inferno experienced in the Julian area.
The big fires that attack the Julian area tend to happen in the month of October, after the summer sun has dried everything up. The only saving grace is that after a fire, things do grow back quickly, but it takes years for the trees to mature and grow tall.
Two things to remember in Julian when snow is here:
1) Be prepared. When bad weather sets in on the mountain roads are sometimes closed and chains are required. Don't kid yourself and think, "I have 4-wheel drive". You'll be turned away just like everybody else. I've personally watched 4-wheel drive vehicles slide right off the road and crash. Buy yourself a set of chains for your car, you only have to do it once. Oh, and learn to put them on BEFORE you come.
2) Show respect. This is a small community and not a playground. The amount of trash left on the ground after the snow melts is absolutely sickening, particularly in spots along the highway where people decide to pull over and play in the snow. Take your trash with you, and don't climb over or cut (yes, it happens) through fences to access what looks like a good sledding hill. If it's fenced it's somebody's private property, and trespassing & vandalism are both crimes for which you can and most likely will be prosecuted. Would you enjoy having people break into your yard and swim in your pool, leaving trash all over your yard? It's the same thing, so use common sense. Good areas for sledding around here are Jess Martin Park (located on SR-79 just south of town) and Mount Laguna (about 20-30 minutes from town; take SR-79 south from town, turn left on Sunrise Highway and start looking for a good spot).