It takes a little imagination to visualize what Fort Tejon might have looked like in its heyday. Between 1854 and 1864, this U.S. Army fort protected people in the surrounding region from the social and cultural conflicts between American settlers and California Indians.
Today, only a few of the original adobe structures remain – half of the original grounds, to be exact.
Unless you happen to visit during one of Fort Tejon’s special events, I’m guessing most visitors opt to do what we did – stroll the self-guided ½-mile loop. If you do, you’ll see the original barracks building, the reconstructed officers’ quarters, the guardhouse, jail and other buildings that serve as reminders of Fort Tejon’s military history.
We especially enjoyed the natural surroundings (namely, the oak woodlands). We got a kick out of watching tons of Beechey ground squirrels running around like mad.
Fort Tejon makes for a wonderful pitstop, perfect for enjoying a picnic snack under the oaks and stretching little legs.
- Small visitor center just inside the entrance
- A few picnic tables are perfect for a snack or meal
- Self-guided ½-mile loop takes you around the existing buildings
- Gorgeous natural surroundings & lots of wildlife
- Few crowds (we had the place entirely to ourselves on a Monday in July)
- Fort Tejon is currently open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day; best to call ahead to confirm at (661) 248-6692
- Download the official Fort Tejon brochure here
- Contact the park for information on living history demonstrations & other special events (see pricing details here)
- Bathrooms are located at the park entrance
- No concessions available in the park
- The park has no designated hiking trails, but there is a ½-mile self-guided walk around the historic area
- There are a few picnic tables in serene settings just perfect for a snack or picnic
- Parking is free; day use of the park is currently $3 for visitors 16 & older
Fort Tejon State Historic Park is 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles, near the top of Grapevine Canyon, via the Fort Tejon exit off I-5.
Interested in learning about other California State Parks? See the list of spots we’ve visited at exploring California State Parks with kids.