For anyone interested in getting an authentic sense of what mining looked like in the 19th century, I highly recommend a visit to Julian to tour the Eagle Mine & High Peak Mine. Although they are now joined deep in the mountain behind the town, they were originally two different mines that were registered in 1870.
They merged after World War I when demand for gold stimulated a renaissance in mining and motivated mine owners to burrow ever deeper into the mountain.
In the 1960’s a couple, Ed and Ellen Sprague, purchased the property with aspirations of restoring it to how it looked and felt in the 1800’s. Today, their grandson proudly carries the tradition set forth.
Per tradition, they keep admission at $10, just like it has been since 1968. Although there are dozens and dozens of mines in this vicinity, the Eagle Mine is said to be one of the most successful ones, producing a ton of gold in its heyday.
The mining days for the Eagle & High Peak mine are long gone, but tours are still available which last around an hour. A tour guide will take you inside, letting you view historical artifacts used during the mining period, telling you colorful tales and teaching you how the men used to mine for gold. It should be noted that only cash is accepted.
Make sure to investigate outside the mine too as there are plenty of old artifacts from the past, a pet cemetery and a hiking trail behind:
The tour lasted around 20 minutes. If you are claustrophobic I would probably not recommend doing this tour:
After you are finished exploring the mines you will be shot out at a back entrance where there is more to explore outside:
You can even mine for gold!