Introduction to Fort Tejon

At the top of Grapevine Canyon, the adobe buildings of Fort Tejon State Historic Park guard a beautiful, tree-lined meadow. Between 1854 to 1864, this U.S. Army fort protected people in the surrounding region from social and cultural conflicts between American settlers and California Indians.

The first U.S. Dragoons arrived on August 10, 1854, and began construction of more than 40 military buildings. A small civilian community developed just south of the fort to provide supplies and labor to the military. For almost ten years, Fort Tejon provided a source of employment, protection, and social activities for local residents.

On-Site School Tours

Fort Tejon State Historic Park offers self-guided, guided, and living history school tours.

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours allow classes to enjoy the park at their own pace. Free self-guided brochures are available along with a scavenger hunt focusing on the park's historic zone. Additional information detailing the park's history and resources are available in the visitor center office. The visitor center, barracks, and officer's quarters are open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Self-guided tours are free. Reservations are required and can be booked here through our online scheduling web page.

Guided Tours

Guided tours of Fort Tejon State Historic Park usually lasts 2.5 hours. The tour begins with a brief orientation about the fort's history in the visitor center. Next, the students assemble on the parade ground for an 1850s basic military drill where they raise the historic garrison flag per army regulations of the period. The students will tour the historic places of the park to experience a picture of life on the frontier of California through the lens of a frontier army post. This includes going "behind the scenes" in areas of the historic buildings that are usually partitioned off as museum display space. The tour concludes with a cannon firing demonstration. Afterwards, your class may have lunch in the park in the shade of majestic Valley oak trees before departing. Guided tours are limited to 75 people per tour. This is due in part to staff/student ratios and capacity restrictions for our program spaces. Guided tours cost $5 per person. Children 6 and under are admitted free. Reservations are required and can be booked here through our online scheduling web page. For more information, please contact Michael Deagon via email or phone (661) 248-6692.

Student Living History Program Day Option

The Student Living History Program Day Option usually last 5.5 hours with a 45 minute break for lunch. This day program provides a one-of-a-kind learning experience that takes students on a trip back in time to 1856, just a few years after California joined the Union as the 31st state. Students will engage in hands-on experiences of life on the California frontier through the eyes of a soldier stationed at a western U.S. Army outpost called Fort Tejon. The program begins in the visitor center with a brief introduction to Fort Tejon's history and progresses to basic army marching drills, the raising of the flag over the parade ground, and issuing a uniform to "new recruits". After being divided into squads, the students will participate in hands-on demonstrations of mid-19th century blacksmithing, cooking, and adobe brick making led by parks' staff and volunteers. The program will conclude "with a bang" during a cannon drill and demonstration. Finally, the students will travel back through time to their 21st century world. This program requires a minimum of 12 students and a maximum of 24 students. The Student Living History Program Day Option costs $35 per child and $10 per adult with a $50 deposit paid upon making a reservation for the program. Reservations are required. Tour fees are paid on the day of the tour by cash or check made out to "California State Parks". For more information, please contact Michael Deagon via email or phone (661) 248-6692.

Virtual School Tours

Explore Life in 1850s California at a Frontier Army Post explores life on the frontier of California in the 1850s through the lens of a remote U.S. Army post at Fort Tejon. Teachers visit the Fort Tejon State Historic Park's Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) page to book a unique 50-minute virtual school tour for your class at Fort Tejon State Historic Park through the California State Parks' PORTS program. NOTE: This program is best suited for grades 4th, 5th and 8th.

Summer Learning Program

The Summer Learning Program engages K-12 students from afterschool programs and community organizations which offer programming specifically for disadvantaged student populations during the summer months. Students have the opportunity to visit Fort Tejon State Historic Park for a day program exploring the history Fort Tejon. Explore Fort Tejon's buildings, sites, and ruins. Imagine the lives of the soldiers and civilians, and understand the struggles of 1850s life in California.

The stimulating interpretive programs and activities that are presented in the Summer Learning Program help the students advance academically and physically. These programs introduce them to the excitement of being in natural environments and cultural settings. Students also come away with insights and appreciation for their important role as stewards of the environment. For many of the students, these programs provide them with their first experience outside of an urban setting.

For more information or to schedule a Summer Learning Program, please contact Michael Deagon via email or phone (661) 248-6692.