Folsom Lake is located in the north eastern corner of the city and is actually shared by Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties. There is a variety of activities in and around the lake. Local boaters flock to the lake during the summer months for water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, fishing and sailing. There are three different boat launch areas, numerous picnic areas, several camp grounds, fishing spots, beaches, hiking trails, and mountain bike trails. My favorite recreational area is Beal's Point, which is located off Folsom Auburn Road. This area has a variety of amenities, which include a large sandy beach, snack bar, shady areas, picnic tables in the large grass area, and public toilets. The snack bar at Beal's Point rents out pedal boats, sail boards, sail boats, jet skis, canoes, volleyball sets, row boats, shade canopies and rafts of all sizes. The snack bar also has a variety of food items and ice cream! Best time to visit is late Spring through early Summer. During mid summer, they begin to release water from the lake and the beach area becomes a sand pit.
- Sailing and Boating
- Water Sports
Officially referred to as Lake Natoma, this small body of water was created by damning the American River just below Folsom Lake. This recreation area or "Aquatic Center" offers a large grass picnic area, beaches, and a variety of water activities. Public bathrooms, drinking fountains, picnic tables, and BBQ grills are available. During the summer months, you can rent a kayak, sailboat, paddle boat, or wind surfer. I have also seen large surfboards people stand on and paddle, but not sure what they are called. Some classes are available for the rental water crafts. This is also the training center for Sacramento State University rowing team. During the peak season, there are a variety of fun events, as well as collegiate rowing competitions. TIP: If you plan on having a picnic, bring some extra bread for the large flock of Canadian geese that call this place home.
- Sailing and Boating
- Water Sports
Last summer I discovered a beautiful hiking trail near Folsom Lake. This relatively easy 2 mile hike offers great views of the lake. About mid way on the hike there is a vista point with a picnic table and drinking water, which is a nice location to stop and have lunch. In the summer months it gets quite hot, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water. TIP: There is a $3 self pay fee for parking in the lot below near the trail. However, if you park in the dirt area up top it's free and there is no need to walk back down to your vehicle at the end of the hike.
- Hiking and Walking
The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary
The Zoo Sanctuary is located in Folsom City Park at Natoma and Stafford Streets (behind the library). This little gem is more of an animal sanctuary than a zoo. They have a variety of different animals native to the northern California region. Most of the animals have injuries or issues that prevent them from being released back into the wild, so they are cared for here. At a leisure pace, it takes about an hour or so to walk through the complex. Family friendly and very informative. The admission price for adults is $4 and $3 for children under 12 years. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Summer hours are slightly different. In addition to the zoo, there is also a small kiddie train that circles the park. Parents and children can ride the mini train for a small fee.
- Family Travel
Rent a Bike and Explore
In 2003, the League of American Bicyclists awarded the City of Folsom the "Silver Medal" for being a bicycle friendly community. Folsom has over 32 miles of paved bicycle paths throughout the city. The paths wind their way through neighborhoods, green belts, open space corridors, wooded areas, and along the beautiful and scenic American River Parkway. There is an abundance of wildlife along the paths, especially near the American River. If you are looking for a longer scenic bike ride beyond the city limits or up for a challenge, follow the bike trail West along the American River and it will take you all the way to old town Sacramento (about 27 miles). If you go East, the trail will take you to Folsom Lake, which is a shorter (5 miles) but steeper up hill route. I personally prefer the 12 mile loop from old town Folsom to the Nimbus Dam (Hazel Avenue Overpass) and back. There are three bicycle shops in Folsom that offer rentals. Bicycles Plus 705 Gold Lake Drive (916-355-8901) in old town Folsom has very reasonable rental rates and is conveniently located next to the bike trail. Check out their website for rental details. http://onlinecycling.com/ The bike shop also has maps for free.
I will also include a web link to the American River Parkway, which displays Google maps of the entire bike route, including some non paved trails for the hardcore mountain bike enthusiast.
- Historical Travel
- Adventure Travel