Description - Pacheco State Park is the last remaining section of the 1843 Mexican land grant of Francisco Pacheco. In the middle of the 19th century, the Pacheco family's land holdings extended to nearly 150,000 acres.
- Pacheco State Park is the last remaining section of the 1843 Mexican land grant of Francisco Pacheco. In the middle of the 19th century, the Pacheco family's land holdings extended to nearly 150,000 acres. The Pacheco family distinguished itself by successfully keeping title to their land through five generations. The park came into existence through the dream of Paula Fatjo, a direct descendant of Francisco Pacheco, for whom the Pacheco Pass is named. Paula Fatjo wanted her ranch, El Rancho San Luis Gonzaga, to be kept intact for the enjoyment of people who shared her love of horses and the beauty of the unspoiled land itself, so she donated the parklands to the state.
Among the historic features of the park are an old line shack used by Henry Miller's cattle company in the late 1800s, and part of the old Butterfield stage line route. Although the total park area is 6,890 acres, only the western 2,600 acres are open for public use. At this time, the eastern portion of the park that adjoins San Luis Reservoir will remain closed to the public until additional trail systems are developed and the safety concerns associated with an existing wind turbine farm can be addressed.
Recreation - The 28 miles of designated trails offer several loop options to give visitors the choice of a hike or ride from one to 20 miles or more. The park has beautiful displays of spring wildflowers, scenic vistas, and excellent hiking, mountain biking, and horse trails. A Ranger patrols the trails to assist visitors with directions and information. As visitors proceed on the trails, there are opportunities to enjoy beautiful views of the San Luis Reservoir and the San Joaquin Valley. A lovely view of the Santa Clara Valley is available to the west. During the spring, the park's grassy slopes abound with blossoming wildflowers. The park is home to tule elk, deer, bobcat, coyote, fox, hawks, eagles and a variety of smaller animals.
Climate - Climate in the Central Coast varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. Also, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry. This area is semiarid, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to 100 degrees in the summer and 45 to 65 degrees in the winter. Evening are quite cool all year due to coastal marine air moving eastward across the Pacheco Pass. Very windy on high ridges, especially in spring and summer. Layered clothing is suggested for all seasons, with heavier layers in winter.
Pacheco State Park is located 24 miles west of Los Banos and 20 miles east of Gilroy on Dinosaur Point Road off of Highway 152. The park is located along the scenic, historic Pacheco Pass.