We recently took a road trip down to Southern California and this time we opted to travel the Hwy 101 route. In researching travel options I noticed that we would be very close to the Jack London State Historic Park. Part of our travel prep always includes quite a bit of reading (we love to read) and so before we left we decided we’d read White Fang, by Jack London. You can check out our White Fang reading experience HERE. The book completed, we were ready to visit Jack London’s park, with the primary focus being seeing his Wolf House.
We arrived at the park 2 hours before closing so we made the most of our time there. There is a nominal fee to enter the park and public restrooms right off the parking lot. From there you set off on foot to travel the well-made paths to your destination of choice. In our case, we chose to spend our time primarily at Wolf House and then in visiting Jack London’s gravesite. The distance from parking lot to Wolf House is less than a mile but they do provide transportation (via golf carts) to those who need it.
The first stop on the path is the “House of Happy Walls” museum. This house was built by Jack’s wife, Charmian, after his death. It now provides the backdrop to Jack London’s life, containing his books, various memorobilia, and a video documenting the history of Wolf House. You can also tour the House of Happy Walls itself which is a treat as it is quite beautiful.
After visiting the museum, you can proceed down the trail a bit before it forks. One direction will lead you to the gravesite, the other to Wolf House. The trail is quite gorgeous and easy to navigate. There is some poison oak off the path so you do need to keep an eye out for it (especially if you have little ones who frequently tumble over unexpectedly . . . like ours did!) but it is a walk and view to be enjoyed.
Wolf House was a site to behold. The stop over to visit this park was instantly worth every bit of time and energy it took to get there! We were amply rewarded with the magical, mystical view of Wolf House (see the history of the house HERE).
There is a fence surrounding the house so as to discourage/prevent you from getting too close. The structure is now deemed unstable and as we Americans are very conscientious of lawsuits, so we don’t usually allow people to touch history (which might, after all, harm them). That said, on the far side of the house you will find a staircase which you are encouraged and permitted to use in getting an up-close-and-personal view inside of this incredible home. We were grateful for the option!
And one last photo, just in case you need more convincing:
We hung around the house area for awhile just to marvel. The kids loved it because of our White Fang reading experience and also, let’s face it, because it looks like a tumble down castle. And who doesn’t love a good castle?
Because our time at the park was rather limited, we eventually had to say goodbye to Wolf House and skeedaddle our way over to the gravesite to see it and discuss Jack London’s life and belief system.
By the time we visited the museum, house and gravesite, we had used up the two hours available to us and we needed to leave as the park was closing.
Was it worth the time and effort? YES! If you plan to go, we heartily recommend that you read at least one of Jack London’s numerous stories as it will greatly enrich your experience. It enriched ours and we were all delighted with our visit to the park.