Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park is the ancestral home of the Kawaiisu Indians that lived in the Tehachapi Mountains, at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada, until the early 1900s. Although no structures remain on the village site, the area's rich history comes alive through trained volunteer tour guides and the clues that the inhabitants left behind.
Tomo-Kahni means "winter home" in Kawaiisu, and rock rings mark the locations of many of the "kahnis", or homes, that were built of juniper boughs. Hundreds of mortar holes in the park tell of a very active past. The tour also includes Medicine Cave, Nettle Spring and a cave with pictographs - a sacred place of the Kawaiisu.
Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the site, the only way to explore the park is through guided tours, which involve a moderately strenuous 3-hour hike with frequent stops at dramatic overlooks and remnants of the lives of the Kawaiisu.
Activities begin with an orientation in Tehachapi before a caravan heads to the park entrance gate, in the mountains just northeast of town. Weather at the high-elevation park is variable, so layered clothing is recommended. Adequate drinking water, sun protection, and sturdy walking shoes are also necessary. Tours fill up fast, so reservations are highly recommended.