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I just wanted to say that when my family and I  went to your place we really enjoyed it. We all found it very interesting and I enjoyed the fact that it had more of a family environment instead of a commerical theme park. Thank you and your family for making our vacation to California a better trip.

David Oglesby, Florida 

I wanted to formally thank you VERY MUCH for the wonderful tour my son and I had today. I appreciated the personalized attention from reservation all the way to the nice goodbyes when we left. I am always looking for fun things to do for my son, but always want to make sure it's educational as well. Boy did I hit the jackpot. I was amazed at all the learning opportunities you and Greg gave to my son today. I know some kids could care less, they are on vacation and all, but my son is  a constant sponge and I always look for every opportunity to teach and foster his education. Today was an amazing example of what I look for.

I will definitely recommend to my friends to come visit you!

Thank you again. We really enjoyed ourselves today. Good luck with your future mine tours and we will visit you again!

Julie Cole, Scripps Ranch

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for the awesome birthday party. The train was very, very fun.



Thank you again for a fun and adventurous train ride around the Smith Ranch. We all had a great time and the boys have great memories of their trip to Julian.


This was originally an "add on" activity to our trip to Julian, but it ended up being the highlight of the trip! The train ride was adored by both our 4 & 8 yr old sons, and the driver included a lot of interesting facts for the adults as well. I also liked that the view on the way up - the train winds up a hill instead of the typical "slow ride around a circle" that most kiddie trains follow. Interesting views, plus it even picked up a little speed on the way down (would still be fine for seniors - just made it extra-fun for the kids).

At the top of the hill, you get out and explore an authentic mine from 1870. Little kids don hard hats and enter via an old ore cart on wheels. It's a relatively small mine , but as a parent, this was a MUCH better match for our family than the larger mine (with no train).

The kids get some time to pan for "gold nuggets". They then trade these in at the trading post for licorice (and can keep their favorite nugget). Other memorable things at the top included a rope bridge, mini train & log "fort" (the scouts come here for activities and are building that one right now).

The family that runs the ranch is very impressive, and it felt good supporting them (and I 'm not normally "mushy" that way). Fun to see father, mother, sons, friends, etc. all working together to put on a heck of a show for families. We 'll definitely be back :-)

Stacey Wright, Carlsbad, CA

We took your train ride last Saturday and had a wonderful time!  Just wanted to drop a note to you and your beautiful family to tell you that your knowledge, efforts, and friendly attitudes were greatly appreciated.  We will definitely be back during the holidays! Thank you again.


Expecting a train ride and look at an old gold mine we received much more.  The historical data shared with all of us on the train about the Smith family and the mine was absolutely wonderful.  We were fascinated by the history of the family connection to the mine, the hardships endured by the miners and the builders of the railroad.

The visit to the Smith Ranch was the highlight of our visit to Julian--much better than even the Apple pies!!!!

Tom & Betty,  Houston, TX 


Please feel free to contact us.    Phone: (760)765-2288      E-mail: greg@pioneerways.com