The Shimmering Waters of Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake provides some of the best paddling experiences imaginable throughout its 75 shoreline miles. You’ll find sandy beaches and an endless supply of secluded coves, with water so clear you can see to the bottom.
Folsom Lake lies along the American River at the base of the Sierra foothills, surrounded by panoramic views of rolling hills that come alive with wildflowers in the early spring. The lake is located about 30 miles east of Sacramento, in Northern California's Gold Country, at 455’ feet elevation. The topography varies from willow groves to low rolling hills speckled with oak and chaparral, to rocky creeks and sandy beaches, to miles of beautifully preserved wetlands and creeks.
Folsom Lake is perhaps the most popular of all attractions in the city of Folsom. What's not to like? There’s something fun to do for everyone. The proximity of Folsom Lake to Sacramento has helped it blossom into a popular waterfront playground. It provides all types of water activities for the aquatic enthusiast. Water lovers will savor the variety of aquatic opportunities, which include wind surfing, kayaking, SUP paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing, jet and waterskiing, kayak fishing, swimming and many more fun filled recreational activities.
If water activities aren’t your cup of tea, there are 10 miles of paved bicycle trails, 8 miles of mountain bike trails, 60 miles of horseback riding, walking and running trails, as well as camping and picnicking.
However, kayaking is truly the best way to enjoy Folsom Lake, giving you the opportunity to see surrounding hillsides reflecting off calm waters, explore the secluded coves, and take in the diverse wildlife that make the lake their home.
Wildlife lovers can catch a glimpse of deer, gray foxes, rabbits, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, and wild turkeys. Mountain lions and bobcats can also be seen roaming the area. For bird watchers, there are ducks, scrub jays, quails, wrens and towhees. Kingfishers and gulls are often sighted near the water, and eagles can be seen flying overhead.
The great size of the lake need not deter you from having an enjoyable kayaking experience, but the crowds might if you prefer paddling in a peaceful atmosphere. Folsom Lake is an extremely popular retreat. The powerboat and personal watercraft traffic during the summer months can be somewhat of a nuisance, not to mention the vast number of picnickers. Thousands of visitors per day on the weekends are not uncommon here. The crowds are largest from April through September.