On July 10, 2015, President Obama signed a proclamation declaring the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California.
The 330,780-acre monument extends from nearly sea level on Bureau of Land Management lands around Lake Berryessa in the south, up to 7,000 feet through the northern Snow Mountain Wilderness and the eastern boundary of the Yuki Wilderness in the Mendocino National Forest.
Conveniently located just north of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument offers a wealth of natural, historical and cultural resources, as well as exciting recreation opportunities for visitors.
This is a landscape filled with ancient, historic and modern stories. The dramatic geology, remarkable biological diversity and rich history sparked the President’s use of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish the Monument. However, the area also offers great recreation and breathtaking scenic vistas.
Visit the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument page.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument includes three scenic Wilderness Areas for non-motorized adventure. There are also many recreation uses throughout the Monument, including hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.
The Mendocino National Forest features a world-class off-highway vehicle trail system, with part of the network included in the Monument. Large areas, including Fouts Springs on the Grindstone Ranger District, serve as gateways to exploring the designated motorized roads and trails.
The Bureau of Land Management features exciting whitewater for kayaking on Cache Creek in the southern portion of the Monument – the closest whitewater river available to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.
For those looking to get an aerial perspective on the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, there are hang gliding launch points both near and within the Monument boundary.
Native Americans have inhabited these lands for at least the last 11,000 years. The Yuki, Nomlaki, Patwin, Pomo, Huchnom, Wappo, Lake Miwok and Wintum tribes all had a role in the pre-history and history of this region – one of the most linguistically diverse in California.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is dense with cultural sites ranging from seasonal hunting and gathering camps and mineral gathering sites in the high country, to major village sites with subterranean, earth-covered, round buildings in the lowlands. The area is rich with chert quarries, task sites where tools were re-sharpened, food sites dominated by grinding stones used for preparing acorns and small seeds, pitted boulder petroglyphs where stories were shared, and early trade routes that allowed interaction between the tribes.
In the early 19th century, Spanish and Mexican expeditions, as well as fur trappers for the Hudson Bay Company, explored this region. European-American settlement began during the 1840s gold rush, with some residents staying to operate small sawmills within the area’s dense forests. The restored 1860s-era Nye homestead cabin, the historic Prather Mill, and remnants of railroad logging are tangible reminders of these historic uses.
Around the turn of the 20th Century, mineral-laden waters and hot springs attracted visitors to resorts and spas advertising their therapeutic benefits. Observant visitors can still spot the remains of the foundation of the Bartlett Springs Resort.