Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

Located in the rolling foothills of the Sierra mountains, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area offers the best of Northern California. Scenic views abound across 19,500 acres and feature two reservoirs, Folsom and Natoma, as well as forested hills and open grasslands.

Located 25 miles east of Sacramento, park-goers and campers enjoy easy access to both the sights of California’s capital city and the serenity of the Sierra mountains.

In the summer, visitors don hats and sunscreen to enjoy the hot weather. In the spring and fall, cooler weather sets in with a touch of rain. In the winter, fog rolls off the lake, and campers can feel a chill.

The park’s miles of pristine shoreline and extensive trail map attract millions of people each year, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy during their stay. Hike or ride horses through the park’s trail system, or bike the 32-mile long cycling path that connects through neighboring parks and into Old Sacramento. Spend the morning touring the historic Folsom Powerhouse, and catch fresh fish for dinner in the afternoon. After a day of outdoor recreation, return to your campsite and enjoy hot showers and an evening by the fire.

With beautiful sites and ample amenities, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is a prime RV destination any time of the year. Peak season is April through September.

RV Rentals in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Transportation in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Driving

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is easily accessible by both RV and car. Since it is located only 25 miles east of Sacramento, visitors can also enter the park using local bus services. You can enter the park on bicycle, horseback, and on foot as well.

The park has many entrances, but most can be accessed from Interstate 80 through east Douglas Boulevard or from Highway 50 via Hazel Avenue or Folsom Boulevard.

If you are heading to Peninsula Campground, note that all pathways will lead you into the small town of Pilot Hill and onto Rattlesnake Bar Road. After about 9 miles, the road will dead end at the campground.

If you are destined for Beals Point Campground, look for signs for the turn off along Auburn-Folsom Road.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Campsites in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

Peninsula Campground

The Peninsula Campground accommodates trailers up to 18 feet and RVs up to 24 feet. There are 100 family sites available without hookups. The campsite includes a sanitation station, restrooms with hot showers, and piped drinking water. Campers have easy access to two launch ramps, and can enjoy the secluded peninsula space between the north and south forks of the American River. Peninsula Campground is open April 1 through October 1.

Beals Point Campground

Located north of the majestic Folsom Dam, Beals Point features 20 RV campsites. The sites fit trailers and motor homes up to 31 feet. Each site comes with full hookups. Campers can also enjoy a sanitation station, ADA accessible restrooms with hot showers, and piped drinking water. Beals Point is open to campers year round.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

In-Season

Horseback Riding

There’s no better way to explore the hills that surround Folsom Lake than on horseback. Park roads are wide and designed for easy trailer navigation, but you can also park outside the lake area and ride in. There are several equestrian staging areas throughout the park with hitching rails and water troughs, the largest of which you’ll find at Granite Bay. With 95 miles of trails to explore, you’ll pass other equine enthusiasts, bicyclists, and hikers as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Boating

During the warm summer months, Folsom Lake is dotted with boats of every shape and size. Visitors enjoy water skiing, tubing, and windsurfing. Rent a boat at the marina, or bring your own watercraft. There are 12 boat ramp areas in the park, including two launch ramps at Peninsula Campground.

The park is also home to Lake Natoma, which sits downstream from Folsom Lake. Natoma welcomes non-motorized watercraft and sports like sailing, crew racing, rowing, and kayaking. There is a 5-mph speed limit enforced.

Fishing

Spend a day at the park enjoying the peace and quiet of chasing the perfect catch. Fishermen of all skill levels and ages can enjoy casting a line in both Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma. Just be sure to get a valid California fishing license. The water is home to trout, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, and even kokanee salmon. Lake Natoma also offers an ADA accessible fishing pier and open platform at Nimbus Flat.

Off-Season

Folsom Powerhouse

The historic Folsom Powerhouse was built in 1885 and was known during its peak as the greatest electrical plant in America. Until 1952, it harnessed the power of the American River and produced electricity for the city of Sacramento. Today, the powerhouse is a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a state historic park. Visitors can tour the powerhouse, view vintage equipment, and learn about the extensive canal system that directed water from the dam.

Biking

Folsom Lake State Recreation Park features 95 miles of trails that are open to bikers of all ages. Mountain bikers can enjoy the popular Darrington Trail with views of the south fork of Folsom Lake and Salmon Falls. For street bikes or those preferring a paved trail, a 32-mile long bike path loops around Lake Natoma and links Folsom Lake with additional parks in Sacramento County before ending in Old Town Sacramento.

Picknicking

No matter the season, Folsom Lake is always a great place for a picnic. There are seven family picnic sites throughout the park, all of which feature charcoal grills. Picnic areas at Beals Point, Nimbus Flat, and Peninsula Campground also have accessible picnic tables, restrooms, and designated parking. Granite Bay Main Beach is home to two group picnic sites that each accommodate up to 100 people. The sites include 11 picnic tables, a large charcoal grill, restrooms, and running water.

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