Sutter’s Landing Regional Park is located less than 3 miles from the California State Capital building and offers a plethora of recreational activities. The park is named after John Sutter, who landed here in 1839 after traveling up the Sacramento River. He established a permanent camp in what is now the northwest section of the park, and shortly after he began work on what would become Sutter’s Fort in downtown Sacramento. The fort still stands today and is open for tours. As the city began to develop around the fort, the need to protect it from flooding became obvious, and soil was taken from the Sutter’s Landing Park area to elevate it and create levees. As more and more soil was taken large pits were created, and by the end of the 1800s these pits became the city’s garbage dump. In 1984 the site was identified as being a future park, and it was officially named Sutter’s Landing Park in 1989.
In October, 2003, the city approved a Master Plan for building the park, and since then many improvements and additions have been made. You will find bocce and basketball courts, an indoor skate park, an off-leash dog park, access to the 31.5-mile American River Parkway, and many opportunities for nature lovers to enjoy. One of the unique facts of the park is that it is home to a variety of animal species, even though it is less than 3 miles from the city center. On any given day you might spot white-tailed kites, northern harriers, Swainson’s hawks, coyotes, gophers, jackrabbits, river otters, ground squirrels, skunks, and aquatic life such as crawfish, steelhead trout, salmon, and catfish. Red-eared sliders, the only Pacific coast native fresh-water turtle, can also be found hanging out from time to time. The location is also great for birding, and some common sightings include mallards, cormorants, wood ducks, blue heron, red-shouldered hawks, kestrels, northern mockingbirds, yellow-billed magpies, robins, and mourning doves. The American River is the highlight of the park, and it is a great place to catch a swim during the hot summer months.