Near the mountain town of Julian is Vulcan Mountain and Vulcan Mountain Preserve. It is located about 2 miles north of Julian. Although there is no trailhead parking area, there is a visible sign where the entrance is. Park off on the side of the road and walk up the road a bit to the official artistic gateway to the preserve.
The trail is wide and well maintained. However, it is about a 5 mile round trip to the top and back. The hiking will be moderate to strenuous. The peak stands at 5353 feet in elevation. Although not a sharp pointed peak, the views from the top are spectacular in all directions. On the top is a historic point of interest. It includes an old postal service beacon light used to provide aerial support and direction during the early to mid 1900's. Airplanes carrying the U.S. mail would use these beacons spaced about every 15 miles to guide their more common flight paths. The peak USGS elevation marker pin is located on a rock under the oaks.
This is a great hike in the springtime as the hills are covered with rolling meadows and oaks. It is also a nice hike in the fall to see the changing colors. It is real close to Julian so plan accordingly to enjoy a piece of pie, nice dinner or drink afterwards. Also note that this park has limited public use times and include most weekend unless there is poor weather. Please check the links below for more information.