- Sutter's Fort was Sacramento's earliest settlement. John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant, established this European-style settlement in 1839 when he received a 48,000-acre land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He named his ranch "New Helvetia" - New Switzerland. It was the first non-Indian settlement in California's Central Valley. Sutter became famous for his hospitality and for giving temporary refuge for travelers. In 1847 he sent rescuers to the aid of the Donner Party, trapped by winter snows of the Sierra Nevada. The fort became the destination for early immigrants coming to California. Sutter recreated a flourishing agricultural empire - only to see it overrun by gold seekers a decade later. The site has been restored to its appearance in 1847, two years before the discovery of gold. A self-guided audio tour is available. Special events are scheduled throughout the year.
Copyright: California State Parks
Aerial view of Sutter's Fort
Recreation - There are a variety of programs and events throughout the year. A digital audio tape tour is included with admission and is available all year long. You will learn first hand what life was like at the Fort.
The Environmental Living Program features live California History, and each Tuesday and Thursday during the school year for groups of fourth, fifth and sixth graders who spend a day and night at the Fort. Learning-by-Doing is the methodology of this educational experience.
The Mobile Living History Program reaches over 4,000 children each October who may not be able to visit the Fort.
Each year from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the History Live Summer Program will give visitors a hands on dynamic history lesson. A sailor, trapper, immigrant woman, Doctor, farmer, blacksmith and Vaquero will give visitors one-on-one demonstrations of pioneer life. And don't forget to see the daily cannon firings.
Climate - Gold County generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
The park is located in midtown Sacramento between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets. Traveling on I-80, from San Francisco, take business 80/Hwy. 50 east. Take the business 80 exit (north towards Reno) to the N Street turn off. travel straight on 30th Street then turn left under the freeway at L Street to the Fort which will be located on your right. (Bring quarters for the parking meters) Parking is free on Sundays.