What is today called the Cronan Ranch was first acquired by the Central Pacific Railroad through a Federal land patent in 1887. Michael Cronan acquired the property from the Central Pacific Railroad in 1891. The ranch was grazed by the Cronan family until 1918 when it was sold to George and James Murphy. The Murphy family used the ranch for a time and then sold the property to Byron and Francis Bacchi in 1945 for inclusion in the Bacchi Ranch. Although this portion of the Bacchi Ranch was sold in 2004 to create the park, the Bacchi Ranch remains active today on nearby lands.
The Park contains 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching and other passive recreation. The borders of the park follow the South Fork American River, Highway 49, Pedro Hill Road and private lands.