In the heart of Midtown Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park captures the pioneer spirit of families arriving in wagon trains at the dawn of the California Gold Rush. John Sutter built the Fort and his agricultural empire, was critical in the rescue of the tragic Donner Party and served as a diplomat with the Mexican government until it all came crashing down in 1848. A fascinating place to visit for history field trips, kids and adults!

October 24-25, 2014

Haunted Fort


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November 15, 2014

Hands on History: The Donner Party


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Events and Exhibits


October 24 – 25, 2014  The Haunted Fort

(6:30pm – 9:00pm) 



Sutter’s Fort, once a portal for weary pioneers, again serves as the gateway to their restless spirits, who return to tell the tales of their lives and melancholy deaths at this special family friendly event. Tours leave every 10 minutes; tickets available at:




November 15, 2014 – Hands on History - The Donner Party

10 am - 5 pm

$7 per adult (18 and older), $5.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under Hands on History: The Donners and Other Emigrant Wagon Parties Wagon travel across the Sierra Nevada was a dangerous proposition. In the winter of 1846-1847 over 80 emigrants became trapped in the Sierra snows. We know them as the Donner Party, but they were many different families and individuals. Sutter’s Fort was their destination and became their only hope of survival. Rescue parties of volunteers were assembled at the Fort, mules and packs were gathered, and a variety of food supplies were packed for the rescue. Few people are aware that the second relief party carried 100 lbs. of cocoa and 400 pounds of sugar among other more staple items. The Sutter’s Fort Collection is the largest repository of original source Donner Party material in existence. View replicas of these rarely seen original documents and hear the mysterious and haunting stories that have fallen through the cracks. Visitors will be able to pack a wagon or write in their journal with a quill pen, or make a corn husk or rag doll and create their own pioneer souvenir item. Come to the Fort and hear why there is so much discussion about the Donner Party – did you know the snowbound emigrants lived in two separate camps almost 5 miles apart? Cannon demonstrations will be held at 11, 1, and 3. For more information call 916 445-4422.



December 13, 2014  A Simple Emigrant Christmas 

$7 per adult (18 and older), $5.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under

A Simple Emigrant Christmas - Join us at Sutter’s Fort for this special seasonal event. In John Sutter’s day, people from around the world passed through the gates, each with their own customs and traditions for the holiday season. “A Simple Emigrant Christmas” presents several vignettes showing holiday scenes, including foods, music, decorations, and traditions from other cultures. During the day visitors will be able to dip candles, make cornhusk dolls, and create Christmas ornaments.  For more information, please call (916) 445-4422.