Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
As such, State Parks continues to ask visitors to plan ahead, avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet from others who are not from the immediate household members cannot be maintained, and avoid congregating. This means no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance. Full details on the guidelines are available at parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Here are some guidelines for people visiting Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.
What is open now?
- Folsom Sector Office is open to the public.
- Beals Point Campground is open. Peninsula Campground is open at limited capacity to maintain social distancing and avoid large group gatherings starting June 22. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping. To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275. Walk-ins will NOT be allowed.
- Park entrances at Folsom Lake SRA are open to vehicular traffic at Granite Bay, Rattlesnake Bar and Beals Point in Placer County; Darrington Trailhead, Skunk Hollow, Salmon Falls, Old Salmon Falls, Brown’s Ravine including Folsom Lake Marina, Peninsula and Mormon Island in El Dorado County; Folsom Point, Negro Bar, Willow Creek, Nimbus Flat, CSUS Aquatic Center, Park Shore, Nimbus Dam Overlook and Shadow Glen in Sacramento County. The day-use facilities, restrooms and boat launching facilities at these locations are open.
- Many of our concessions have begun reopening. Please contact our park office for information on the specific locations and services.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this Park:
- Negro Bar Group Campground
- Concessions – a limited number remain closed please check with the park for specific locations.
- Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
- High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
- Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
Yes, please see below:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
- Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
- Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
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 November 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.
The Bureau of Reclamation is beginning its first phase of construction for fish passage at Nimbus Fish Hatchery beginning in mid-March and ending around October.A temporary detour will reroute recreationists to cross Hazel Avenue, using the existing traffic light near the entrance to the California State University, Sacramento Aquatic Center. The detour will remain for about two years while the fish passage project is under construction.
Recreationists are advised to exercise caution and adhere to posted signage throughout the area.
Please review the Bureau of Reclamation News Release for additional Information.
Due to dry conditions, remote terrain characteristics and increasing fire danger, the following are prohibited Peninsula Campground and Day Use areas from August 14, 2020 until rescinded:
- All campfires
- Portable cooking devices fueled by wood, gas, charcoal, pressurized liquid fuel or jellied petroleum
- Liquid fuel torches ( commonly referred to as "Tiki Torches")
Please review the Penn Fire Order for additional Information.
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.