Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.
Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.
What is open now?
- Folsom Sector Office
- Beals Point Campground
- Peninsula Campground
- Negro Bar Group Campground
- 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 and restrooms at these locations are open. Please check Boat Ramp Status below for open launch facilities.
- Special Event are being permitted on a limited basis
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
- Concessions – a limited number remain closed please check with the park for specific locations.
- Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
- High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
- Special events and tours may be permitted on a limited basis, until further notice.
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time.
- Plan Ahead:
- The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
- Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
- Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day.
- Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
- Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
- Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.
Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.
California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, 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.
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.