Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

California

(916) 988-0205

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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.

Recreation at Folsom Reservoir is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation under agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, Central California Area Office. The reservoir was created by Folsom Dam across the American River. The dam is a feature of the Central Valley Project - American River Division - Folsom and Sly Park Units.

Map of Folsom Lake State Rec. Area (CA)

Latitude, Longitude: 38.747132, -121.140308

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Activities

  • Boating

    Launching facilities are located at several places around the lake. The marina at Brown's Ravine also features boat slips, a towing service, gas dock and snack bar. You may camp overnight aboard your self-contained sailboat or powerboat only in designated mooring areas. You may obtain a map of the mooring areas when you register for boat camping at the Granite Bay entrance station or the marina at Brown's Ravine. If no one is available at the time of your visit, contact park headquarters. Your boat must have self-contained sanitary and gray-water systems with sleeping accommodations for all aboard. You may camp ashore only at the Peninsula Campground in a designated campsite. Beach the bow of your boat and anchor off the stern. A secure tie-up is essential, as the wind may rise during the night. Boat camping is limited to two consecutive nights.

  • Bicycling

    The park has 95 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists, runners and horseback riders. The trail system includes a portion of the Western States/Pioneer Express Trail between Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada. Oaks Nature Trail is accessible. A paved, mostly accessible bicycle trail loops around Lake Natoma, linking to Beals Point and the American River Hike & Bike Trail. Darrington Trail is a popular mountain bike trail on the south fork arm of Folsom Lake, near the Salmon Falls area.

    There is a 32-mile bicycle path that connects Folsom Lake with many Sacramento County parks before reaching Old Sacramento.

  • Camping

    Peninsula Campground has 100 family campsites--some accessible--and can accommodate trailers up to 18 feet and motor homes up to 24 feet. A sanitation station is provided. No site hookups are available. Accessible flush toilets, hot showers and piped drinking water are available. Two launch ramps and a day-use area are near this secluded campground near the end of the Peninsula between the north and south forks of the American River. Reach the area by boat or drive ten miles south from the town of Pilot Hill on Highway 49.

    Beals Point Campground, just north of Folsom Dam, has 49 family campsites accommodate trailers and motor homes up to 31 feet. Hookup sites and a sanitation station are available. Piped drinking water and wheelchair-accessible restrooms with hot showers are available.

  • Fishing

    Folsom Lake waters hold trout, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch and kokanee salmon. A valid California fishing license is required. An accessible pier and fishing platform are available along Lake Natoma.

  • Hiking

    The park has 95 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists, runners and horseback riders. The trail system includes a portion of the Western States/Pioneer Express Trail between Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada. Oaks Nature Trail is accessible.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors can tour nearby Folsom Powerhouse. The Powerhouse was built to harness the water power of the American River at the original Folsom Dam, completed by Folsom Prison laborers in 1893. The Powerhouse landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a state historic park.

  • Horseback Riding

    The equestrian staging area at Granite Bay has hitching rails, a water trough and chemical toilets. Horse trailers can unload and park. Staging areas are also located at Rattlesnake Bar, Brown's Ravine, Falcon Crest and Sterling Pointe, amongst others.

  • Picnicking

    Family picnic sites are located at Nimbus Flat and Negro Bar on Lake Natoma, and at Beals Point, Granite Bay, the Peninsula area, and Folsom Point on Folsom Lake. Beals Point, Nimbus Flat and Peninsula have accessible picnic tables, restrooms and parking. All sites have barbecue stoves; bring your own charcoal. The group picnic area at Granite Bay will accommodate up to 200 people.

  • RVing

    There are 18 RV-only sites that have complete hookups; max length is 40. There are 30 additional standard sites.

  • Water Sports

    Canoeing, windsurfing, and swimming are all popular at the lake.

    The park also includes Lake Natoma, downstream from Folsom Lake, which is popular for crew races, sailing, kayaking and other aquatic sports.

Seasonality/Weather

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.

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.

Park Partners

California State Parks Foundation

The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) was founded in 1969 by William Penn Mott, Jr., former director of both California's Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service. With their 120,000 members, CSPF is the only statewide independent nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks. Since 1969, CSPF has raised more than $170 million to benefit state parks. CSPF is committed to improving the quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities offered by California's 278 state parks--the largest state park system in the United States.

(415) 262-4400

Several Concessions

The Concessions Program at California State Parks provides a very important part of the park visitor's experience. At Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Concessionaires offer facilities, services and goods in support of the Department's mission and to enhance the visitor's experience. Following is a list of the concessions you will find when you visit the park. Most are open during the peak season from Memorial Day through Labor Day and some are open year round. Please contact the specific vendor or the park for the latest information regarding operating hours, services, etc.

Summer food concessions are available at Granite Bay, Beal's Point and Brown's Ravine Marina Store.

For information visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26436.

Directions

Driving

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 of Folsom-Auburn Road and Dam Road in Folsom, California.

Park Entrances 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 2 ½ 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 Baals Point and you make a right.

Flying

The closest major airport to Folsom Lake SRA is Sacramento International Airport, approximately 22 miles away; from there, car rental services are available.

Public Transportation

Folsom Stage Line buses run from Monday-Friday year-round, with more regional operations running on weekends.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(916) 988-0205

Links