Folsom Lake SRA
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.
The Folsom Powerhouse is part of a colorful chapter of Sacramento history and is also an example of the tremendous advance in the commercial application of electricity. H.P. Livermore realized that the water of the American River could turn generators for electricity in Sacramento, 22 miles downstream. With his partners, Livermore built the powerhouse, which still looks much as it did in 1895.
The opening of the powerhouse brought with it a "grand electric carnival" parade through downtown Sacramento and a 100-gun salute from a detachment of soldiers near the substation. Vintage generators are still in place at the powerhouse, as is the control switchboard, faced with Tennessee marble.
Visitors touring the powerhouse can see the massive General Electric transformers, each capable of conducting from 800 to 11,000 volts of electricity, in addition to the forebays and canal system that brought the water from the dam.
The recreation area, located near the town of Folsom, can be reached via either Highway 50 or I-80.
Group Tours are available throughout the week by special arrangement.
Call 916-985-4843 for more information.
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.