In 1839 a Swiss immigrant named John Sutter received a land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He used the land to create a flourishing agricultural empire and named it New Helvetia (New Switzerland.) This empire established Sacramento’s earliest settlement and the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley.
In 1847 Sutter sent aid to the Donner Party, a group of immigrants trapped in a winter storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Word spread and Sutter became known for his hospitality and for providing temporary refuge to travelers. This reputation made New Helvetia the destination for early immigrants to California.
Less than a decade after they were established, Sutter’s properties were overrun by gold seekers and the fort is all that remains of New Helvetia. It has been restored to its former state based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt, Germany and is open daily.
For general Sutter's Fort information please call (916) 445-4422.
Parking around the Fort: Click here for City of Sacramento Parking information
Sutter's Fort Tour Size: Up to 80 people per group (including chaperones) maximum.
School Tour Grade Levels: Tours of Sutter's Fort are designed for 3rd grade students through high school.
Adult Supervision Requirement: One adult is needed for every 10 students.
Bus Parking: Free bus parking is available on "L" Street in front of Sutter's Fort.
Metered automobile parking is also available around the parks' grounds.
Tour Reservations: In order to guarantee a space for a tour of 10 or more people, school tours and other group tours must have a confirmed reservation. Space availability is ONLY assured with a reservation placed through Reserve America at (866) 240-4655. Please note: each tour guide can accommodate a maximum of 80 people including adults, students, and other children in a single group.