Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
After a three-year closure, California State Parks is reopening the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, popularly known as the American River Bike Trail, on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Reopening this section of the trail will once again allow the recreating and commuting public to enjoy the north shore of Lake Natoma.
The American River Bike Trail is part of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area’s (SRA) 19,500 acres. The park has 95 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists, runners and horseback riders. A paved, mostly accessible bicycle trail loops around Lake Natoma, linking Beals Point and the American River Bike Trail.
A large landslide covered portions of the American River Bike Trail, located between Nimbus Dam and the Negro Bar area of Folsom Lake SRA, during the winter storms of January and February 2017. In late August of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in partnership with State Parks initiated repairs by removing the debris that covered the trail as a result of those storms. The second phase of the project utilized a geotechnical contractor to scale a portion of the bluff to remove loose rock from the face of the bluff directly above the trail. Following the scaling, crews removed the additional debris and repaved the damaged sections of the trail.
State Parks thanks the public for their patience and understanding as it worked with its partners to reopen this popular trail for everyone’s enjoyment.
As with any outdoor activity, State Parks encourages its visitors to practice safe and environmentally-sound practices such as staying on designated trails, leaving no trace, controlling your speed and always wearing a helmet.
For additional questions, you can contact California State Parks’ Gold Fields District Office at (916) 988-0205.
California State Parks announces the start of a major renovation project that will improve recreation facilities at the Negro Bar unit of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) beginning on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.
The renovation project will include:
- New interpretive panels that highlight the area’s historic, natural and cultural resources.
- ADA accessible walkways to the swim beach.
- New stairway access to the beach.
- A new restroom facility.
- A new paddle sport concession facility and Junior Lifeguard facility.
- Improved picnic facilities with picnic tables, shade ramadas, barbecues, trashcans, and additional group picnic sites.
- Converting an existing gravel area into additional paved parking.
The renovation project is expected to last through October 2020 and will impact access to the swim beach area and day-use parking facilities in the western portion of the park. The launch ramp, main parking area, horse assembly area, group campground facilities and trail access to the American River Bike Trail will not be affected.
For questions about this project, please contact California State Parks’ Gold Fields District Office at (916) 988-0205.
Granite Bay Stage 2: CLOSED
Granite Bay Stage 3: CLOSED
Granite Bay Stage 4: CLOSED
Rattlesnake Bar: CLOSED
Peninsula North: CLOSED
Peninsula South: CLOSED
Granite Bay Stage 1: OPEN
Folsom Point: OPEN
Browns Ravine: OPEN
Nimbus Flat: OPEN
Willow Creek: OPEN
Negro Bar: OPEN
Temporary Closure of American River Bike Trail-March 3rd & 4th 2020
The America River Bike Trail from Hazel Avenue Bridge to Nimbus Dam on the north side will be closed to the public March 3 & 4 while we remove and replace some damaged asphalt along that section of trail. Any additional questions please contact the Folsom Sector Office at 916-988-0205.
Located at the base of the Sierra foothills, the lake and recreation area offers opportunities for hiking, biking, running, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, water-skiing and boating. Fishing offers trout, catfish, big and small mouth bass or perch. Visitors can also see the Folsom Powerhouse (once called "the greatest operative electrical plant on the American continent"), which from 1885 to 1952 produced 11,000 volts of electricity for Sacramento residents. For cyclists, there is a 32-mile long bicycle path that connects Folsom Lake with many Sacramento County parks before reaching Old Sacramento. The park also includes Lake Natoma, downstream from Folsom Lake, which is popular for crew races, sailing, kayaking and other aquatic sports.
Regular day use hours apply to all areas except the following:
- Overnight moorings for registered boat campers
- Folsom Lake Marina at Brown's Ravine
Lake Natoma is primarily managed for non-motorized and slow-speed aquatic recreation such as rowing, paddling, etc. There is a 5-mph speed limit enforced on the entire lake.
The following units are closed to vehicles until further notice:
- Nimbus Shoals
For any and all questions and the most current information, please contact the park at (916) 988-0205
Camping is available at Beals Point year-round and at Peninsula Campground beginning April 1, through the summer (Peninsula Campground closes October 1). Additional information about Camping can be found here or by calling (800) 444-7275.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is located in the Sierra-Nevada foothills about 25 miles east of Sacramento, can be reached via either Highway 50 or I-80. Both Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma have many access points and entrances. The administrative offices are located at the base of Folsom Dam at the corner.
The park has multiple entrances most of which are fairly easily accessed by either Interstate 80 to Douglas Blvd.(east), or Highway 50 to Hazel Ave., or Folsom Blvd., (north).
Directions to the Peninsula campground:
80 east Reno
From Hwy 80 take the Elm St. exit out of the city of Auburn, at the 1st light make a left, at your very next light you will make another left that is High St. High St turns into Hwy 49 you will travel on Hwy 49 for 10 miles towards the city of Cool. You will enter a small town called Pilot Hill from that small town you will turn right on Rattlesnake Bar Rd. that road will dead end into the campground in 9 miles.
Hwy 50 S.Lake Tahoe
From Hwy 50 you will take the El Dorado Hills Blvd. exit go north on El Dorado hills for about 10 miles (at some point the road changes names to Salmon Falls Rd.) you will enter the small town of Pilot Hill you will make a left on Rattlesnake Bar Rd. which dead ends onto the campground in 9 miles.
Directions to the Beals Point campground:
80 east Reno
From Hwy 80 you will take the Douglas Blvd. exit out of the city of Roseville. Go east on Douglas for about 6 miles make a right on Auburn-Folsom Rd. go about 2½ miles until you come to a stop light the sign will say Beals Point and you make a left.
Hwy 50 S. Lake Tahoe
Take the Folsom Blvd. exit go north on Folsom for about 7 miles (the road will change names to Folsom- Auburn) you will come to a stop light, the sign will say Beals Point and you make a right.
Transportation to the Park
A variety of transportation methods are available to park visitors at Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma. With its urban setting and the accessibility of the parks entrances, local bus services can be used reach Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma. Private vehicles as well as bicycles, horseback, and foot travel are the most frequently used methods of park entry.
The primary recreation season coincides with the spring and summer months when temperatures are in the 80s, 90s and 100s.
Visitation is highest from April through September. In the spring months when school is still in session, evenings and weekends are the times of highest lake activity.
Climate, Recommended Clothing
Summers at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area are generally hot and dry. Dress lightly for high temperatures but be careful of over exposure to the sun.
Winters can be very cold with lengthy periods of central valley fog conditions. Dress in layers as the damp can bring on a penetrating chill.
Spring and Fall offer warm days and cooler evenings and nights. Dress in layers.
Good walking shoes are a must when exploring any of the park trails. Shoes or sandals are recommended on the lake's beaches and boat ramp areas.
Granite Bay Group Picnic Sites
Granite Bay Main Beach at Folsom Lake SRA offer two reservable group picnic sites with easy access to the lake and the Granite Bay Main Beach parking area. The group picnic sites are available year round during normal park hours. The group picnic areas can accommodate 100 people both sites include 11 picnic tables, 1 large BBQ station, flush toilets adjacent to site and 2 water faucets. All park day use fees apply. Reservations can be made 90 days in advance at our Folsom Sector Office at 7755 Folsom-Auburn Rd Folsom, CA 95630.