For those that desire a back-country adventure filled with rich history, family-fun activities & a variety of unique lodging options, Banner Ranch may be the place for you!
Located on 62 acres in the Historic Banner district, Banner Ranch is actually only 12 minutes from Main Street Julian. It’s just far enough from town to make you feel way out there though which creates a very exciting getaway!
This is the perfect spot for family trips where you have the option of either camping, wagon glamping or staying in a tiny home! The property is also perfect for a rustic wedding, festival or any other special occasion.
During the California Gold Rush, Julian was booming with excitement and hopes and dreams of people striking it rich. Some actually did strike it rich out here, as there were some pretty profitable mines in the surrounding hillsides.
Banner City was where many of the miners and their families lived in the late 1800’s. Although the mining days have mostly come to a close (there are still some people mining out there believe it or not), pieces of the old history still remain.
Once the gold fever died down and many families began moving down the mountain, the property which is Banner Ranch began being used as a general store. Even today that same old building, built in the 1870’s, is still a general store as well as a saloon! In the 50’s the property was permitted to be a mobile home park which parts of the property still are today. When we took a walk around the property we could see some long-term residencies. It must be so cool to live out here!
We did notice bedrock mortars on the property while walking around and the general store shows some Indigenous artifacts as well, giving insight that this property has history dating far beyond the colonial period.There is a creek nearby, and where there is water, there is life. I am not sure at this point if this was a seasonal village for the Kumeyaay, but the mortars definitely point towards that being a high possibility. I did not take photos of them as to not bring too much attention to them if people visit.
When the current owners purchased the Banner Ranch in 2020, it was in quite disrepair. There have been major efforts to restore the property back to its thriving earlier years.
We visited during Halloween season and got to experience their Haunted Forest walk! What made it so much fun was the fact that you are walking through a legit forest in the middle of the woods at night. Every corner has spooky touches and you can tell that a ton of effort and love was put into it. I’m really hoping to return next year!
Here’s a shot of their saloon with the general store inside:
And our amazing glamping wagon for the night! It was quaint but also had some really nice, modern touches such as the shower! There’s also a portable oven, microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator helping to make you feel at home:
We then set off for the Haunted Forest walk! It was SO much fun and around 1/2 miles of hiking grounds:
We then went back to the campground where our wagon was. There are community firepits allowing you to connect with the other guests for the evening.
The next morning we walked around a bit to become better acquainted with the property.
This is believed to be one of the old miner’s homes. Just imagine living there! It’s kind of part hobbit home being built into the land like that!
We were greeted by two sweet and adorable burros very early into our walk:
They’ve got a wooden statue of Peg Leg Smith right outside the saloon. Smith was alive from 1801-1866 and was a ” mountain man, prospector, and spinner of tall tales” in the area:
Here are some shots of the tiny homes which are available as a lodging option:
And the historic mobile home park for long-term residents: