Here’s a collection of free vintage California map images. These are curated from various public domain resources, lightly edited, and are available for personal or commercial use as they are out of copyright in the United States. If you’re from outside the US, you may have different restrictions.
To download these images, click on the image to open it to full size and then save to your computer or device. They are 300 DPI JPGs and suitable for printing to use in paper collages and junk journals, or for digital collage pages.
I had to downsize these quite a bit so they weren’t huge 20MB files; if you need larger images at a higher resolution, be sure to check my free public domain maps resource post here.
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And now: onto the images!
Kaweah 1904 Map (Brown)
This map is a section of Kaweah from 1904. Kaweah is an unincorporated community in Tulare County, California, and I’ve never visited it! It’s in the Central part of California and is close to Sequoia National Park, which you can see labeled at the top right corner.
Guadalupe 1942 Map (Tan)
This is a map of Guadalupe, California from 1942. Guadalupe is near Santa Barbara and Lompoc, and I actually HAVE been to this part of the state! It’s beautiful up there, and you’re close to the ocean so you get a nice sea breeze.
Dunsmuir 1935 (Green)
Dunsmuir is located in northern California, on the upper Sacramento River. It’s actually a really nice tourist town (supposedly, as I’ve not been there yet) and has good outdoor sports activities for people to do like fishing, skiing, and climbing. You can see Mount Shasta from Dunsmuir, and you can in fact see it on this map, too! It’s the brown circle at the top half of the map.
Dunsmuir 1935 (Brown)
This is the same map as before. But brown! I regret not being a map expert, but I’m guessing the green one shows forest growth and the brown one shows mountain ranges or something.
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Colfax 1938 (Brown)
Colfax is a city in Placer County, California and is named after U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, who I’ve never heard of. I didn’t expect to be tested on my historical Presidential knowledge in this image posts, but now I know a fun fact for my next dinner party.
Colfax 1938 (Green)
Once again, this is the same map as above, but green! According to Wikipedia, Colfax is mentioned in Jules Verne’s book, Around the World in Eighty Days. That’s pretty cool!
Burney 1939 (Brown)
Burney is an unincorporated town in Shasta County. I have GOT to share this tidbit from Wikipedia with y’all:
Burney was named after Samuel Burney, a settler in the area in the 1850s. Burney was found dead in the valley in 1857, which came to be called “the valley where Burney died,” and finally just “Burney”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burney,_California
Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1901 (Brown)
Calaveras Big Trees State Park has two groves of giant sequoia trees and has been a major tourist attraction since 1852. This is the park which has the famous “car tunnel” cut through one of the trees, the one that’s on every California tourist postcard.
Bartle 1932 (Tan)
Bartle doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, which seems like a good opportunity for an aspiring editor! Bartle is located in Siskiyou County and is about 24 miles from Dunsmuir. What’s there to do there? I’m guessing a lot of hiking and outdoors things like running from bears.
Lassen Peak 1894 (Tan)
Lassen Peak, aka Mount Lassen, is a “lava dome volcano and the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range of the Western United States” (Wikipedia). It’s 10,457 feet high and last erupted in 1921, over 100 years ago.
White Mountain 1917 (Green)
The White Mountain Range stretches across California and Nevada, and this map in particular shows part of the Inyo National Forest which covers part of it.
Weaverville 1913 (Tan)
Weaverville was founded in 1850 and is a historic California Gold Rush town! According to the 202 US census, it has a population of just 3,667 people.
Sierraville 1890 (Brown)
Sierraville is located in Sierra County, California. Apparently it has the only traffic signal in the entire county, and as of the 2010 US census has a population of 200 people. It does have a post office, at least.
Napa 1902 (Brown)
This map shows the Napa River flowing into the San Pablo Bay estuary, up near San Francisco. The Napa River is of course famous for draining along the Napa Valley, where all of California’s famous wines grow.
Mojave 1915 (Green/Tan)
This map shows the Mojave Desert which is in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Mojave is where Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve are located, as well as three State Parks (Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Saddleback Butte State Park, and Red Rock Canyon State Park).
Las Vegas 1908 (Orange)
This light orange-colored maps shows part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, which is to the west of Las Vegas. Las Vegas on this map is on the right edge, a teeny tiny dot because it had just been settled 3 years before in 1905. At the time of this map, it hadn’t even been incorporated yet!
I hope you enjoyed these images! If you use them in a collage or junk journal spread, leave a comment and let me know!
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