Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park

Quick Facts

Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park

California

(916) 988-0205

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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.

Map of Folsom Powerhouse (CA)

Latitude, Longitude: 38.678324, -121.176882

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Activities

  • 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

    A hiking trail leads through the park grounds and out to Lake Natoma.

    In addition, adjacent Folsom Lake State Recreation Area 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

    The two-story brick and granite Powerhouse looks much as it did in 1895. On your self-guided tour of the Powerhouse, you'll see that the magnificent generators, wooden flumes, and the Tennessee marble-faced control switchboard stand as imposingly as they did over a hundred years ago.

    Historical photos and interpretive exhibits explain how the Powerhouse worked. Visit the restored Blacksmith Shop between the Superintendent's Office and the Bookstore. Below the Powerhouse, at the edge of Lake Natoma, you'll also see an ancient grinding rock used by the Maidu to prepare their acorn meal. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the area surrounding the Folsom Powerhouse was home to the Southern Maidu. Situated on a river and with a moderate climate, the area provided the local inhabitants with a variety of fish, birds, deer, roots, fruits and nuts.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic site is located near the Blacksmith Shop.

Seasonality/Weather

Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

The recreation area, located near the town of Folsom, can be reached via either Highway 50 or I-80.

Flying

The closest major airport to Folsom Powerhouse SHP is Sacramento International Airport, approximately 22 miles away. From there, car rentals are available.

Public Transportation

Folsom Stage Line Transit offers public transportation in Folsom and surrounding communities. For more information on bus fares and scheduling, call 916-355-8395.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(916) 988-0205

Links