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An Elk Grove Heritage Ranch

Bob Mahon, Linda Lema, Jack Mahon and Tom Mahon (Managing Partner) are the fourth generation reared on the ranch.


The Mahon Ranch is situated south of Elk Grove and just east of Highway 99 between Grant Line and Dillard Roads in South Sacramento County at 38°22'20" North, 121°20'00" West.  The Ranch is bisected by the Cosumnes River and is principally riparian in nature supporting a robust agricultural farming and livestock grazing operation.

In addition to the 500 acres of the Home Ranch, we lease and operate 600 acres of adjoining property, own 790 acres of grazing land at our Clay Station Road Ranch in South Sacramento County and operate over 44,000 acres of summer rangeland in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in El Dorado County. 


The Mahon Ranch is part of a historically and culturally rich region of California.  The area of the Ranch was occupied by archaeological cultures for over 10,000 years.  Prior to the arrival of Euro Americans, the Ranch area was part of the territory of the Plains Miwok who inhabited the lower reaches of the Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers.

“We appreciate, respect and work to preserve these elements as a natural part of the life and operations of the Ranch.”

The Ranch Founder came to California as a 21 year old immigrant from Canada - of Irish roots, arriving in Sacramento in 1870 with $30 in his pocket.  For 12 years he worked with and for some of the icons of the era in Sacramento County eventually acquiring the Home Ranch in Elk Grove.

With transitions from one generation to the next – in the 1930’s from John Mahon, the Founder, to son J.W. Mahon; in the 1960’s from J. W. Mahon to son Lester B. Mahon and in 2006 to the current Mahon generation – adjustments also came in management and operating philosophy.  But, with each transition came a tenacious dedication to the traditions and values of Western ranching and farming – ardent continuation of the Mahon legacy.

Early Exploration and Settlement

The general area was discovered and named by Spanish explorers in the late 1700s and remained at the fringes of the Spanish Mission settlements until the 1820s when Mexico gained independence from Spain.  The area stayed on the periphery of the Mexican Territory even though during the 1830s and 1840s the Mexican government granted several rancheros to immigrants, including the Rancho Omochumnes, within which the Ranch is nested.

Historic Events

In the early 1840s the area was traversed by the legendary Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, particularly during the period of unrest between the Californians and Mexico.  On June 10, 1846 at Murphy’s Corral, just west of the Ranch, Californians overpowered a unit of the Mexican Army.  The “Bear Flag” action of California’s independence from Mexico followed on June 14, 1846 in Sonoma.

Cattle Drives: during the early 1900s, Mahon Ranch cattle were driven approximately 10 miles west to the Elliot Ranch corrals at the Western Pacific Railroad tracks for loading onto rail cars for shipment to market.  For several decades in the 1900s, cattle were also driven 80 miles east each summer onto grazing range in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Silver Lake on Highway 88.  In later years, truck and trailer rigs have been used to ship cattle to the summer range and to markets in Elk Grove and throughout the west.

Floods: with the exception of two small dams which create a small reservoir near the community of Rancho Murrieta 10 miles upstream from the Mahon Ranch, the Cosumnes River is the last undammed river flowing from the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Named by native cultures as the river of “salmon people,” the Cosumnes River is dynamic and unpredictable flooding each year with tremendous fury and changing course numerous times in its recorded history.

“We are committed to continuing the history and traditions of our family operation.  For over 125 years, and moving into the fifth generation, we believe the ranch is a strong family legacy within the greater Elk Grove community.”
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Photography: Kathi Cook