“Hike around Lake Natoma on bike paths with an option for singletrack.”
— Bill Cuthbertson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Bikers have right away on the paved trails and pedestrians are invited to travel single file on the left shoulder.
This route will take you around Lake Natoma in Folsom, CA. You can use the paved bike path or venture off on the singletrack trails. Water and bathrooms are located at several points, but it's best to bring your own water. (Sometimes the water has been shut off when they are making repairs.)
Need to Know
The bike trail gets a lot of cyclist on the weekends so you might want to take the singletrack trails. Watch out for poison oak and ticks if you venture off the bike trail.
Free parking is available at both ends of the trail, but there is much more parking at the garage in Folsom, as shown. When the salmon are running, the free parking lot at the half way point is usually full.
You can start at several locations. This map starts at the parking garage in Folsom. You can start in either direction but there is a section on the northwest side of the bike trail about 2 miles in where you are at the bottom of the bluffs and there is no shade. Best to tackle this sweltering portion of the route early in your outing, especially if you get a late start.
The bike trail can have a lot of traffic on the weekends so you may want to transition to the nearby singletrack trails. If you stay on the trails between the lake and the bike trail, it's hard to get lost. You also see more of the lake and less of any civilization if you are on the singletrack. If you venture to the other side of the bike trail, the singletrack gets further away from the lake. You could get lost but you would find a road within a mile or two.
The best time to be on this trail is in the early spring when everything is green (March-May) and early in the morning when all of the wildlife is around.
Flora & Fauna
I would be surprised if you didn't see any deer, geese, ducks, or turkeys. I've also seen river otters, foxes, coyotes, snakes and even a bald eagle. When the salmon are running there are a lot of fishermen at the dam.
History & Background
Folsom is a cool historic town to visit. There is also a salmon fish hatchery by the dam.