Visiting Sutter’s Fort
Located in the heart of Midtown Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park has been part of the California State Park system since 1947, and is both a California Historical Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
Set in 1846, Sutter's Fort preserves important California history and tells the story of the many cultures that inhabited Sutter’s Fort and the surrounding areas during the 1840’s- including Mexican Citizens of Alta California, the emigrating Europeans and American pioneers, and Native Americans. The park is known as a Living History Museum.
The park has annual attendance of over 100,000 each year, and nearly half of those visitors are children who visit Sutter’s Fort to experience educational programs.
Visitors can enter the park through the large gates facing 28th Street. Admission fees are per person, and visitors may navigate Sutter's Fort at their own pace. Audio tours are offered in English, German, Japanese and Spanish. A written tour is also available.
Sutter's Fort has many areas to explore, including:
- Carpenter Shop
- Vaquero room
- Trade Store
- Weaving room
- Beehive Oven
- Cooper's Shop
There are also many historic artifacts to view, including the famous Patty Reed doll that helps tell the story of the Donner Party.
The History of Sutter’s Fort
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 based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt, Germany and is open daily.
Hours of Operation
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Admission: Adults $5, Youth $3, (ages 5 to 17), Children under five are free.
Special educational interpretive program fees are $7 for adults and $5 for youth. Please inquire with park for more information.
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.
For information on parking around the Fort: please click here