|Folsom Lake State Recreation Area|
|Location||El Dorado, Placer, and Sacramento Counties, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Folsom, California|
|Area||19,564 acres (79.17 km2)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
The Folsom Lake State Recreation Area surrounds Folsom Lake in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. It is located near the city of Folsom, California, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Sacramento.
The 19,564-acre (7,917 ha) park was established in 1956 after the creation of the Folsom Dam. Folsom Lake is the ninth largest reservoir in California and a major recreational asset for the Sacramento area. It consists of two reservoirs: Folsom and Natoma. About 2 million people visit the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area every year. Generally, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area experiences hot summers and mild winters. Campgrounds in the area consist of the Peninsula Campground, Beals Point Campground, Negro Bar, and Avery's Pond.
The lake and recreation area offer opportunities for hiking, biking, running, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, water-skiing and boating. Fishing offers trout, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass or yellow perch. Visitors can also tour nearby Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park (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 (51 km) 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.
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.
There are 95 miles of trail at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. These trails are used by hiker, bicyclists, runners, and horseback riders. A portion of the Western States/ Pioneer Express Trail between Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada also runs through the park. A paved bicycle trail loops around Lake Natoma, linking to Beals Point and the American River Bike Trail.
Native Americans of the Maidu or Nisenan tribe inhabited the land around Folsom Lake for thousands of years. During the winter, they lived in permanent villages around the American River and in the summer made temporary homes made of bark. The Nisenan used local resources found around the lake like acorns and berries to trade with coastal tribes. They wove their baskets from willow, redbud, tule, milkweed, sedge grass and native grapevine. In 1848, the California Gold Rush began and most of the Nisenan land was given away. The Nisenan became overwhelmed and their population was severely decimated due to diseases. However, some survived and still live in surrounding reservations.
The Folsom Lake Area was also a significant mining site during the California Gold Rush of 1849. During recent drought years, water levels had been so low at Folsom Lake that the old mining town of Mormon Island was revealed. Mormon Island was a sandbar about 300 feet long where gold was found by members of the Mormon Battalion. When news of gold discovery spread, Mormon Island grew and gained a population of up to 2,500 people by 1853. However, By the 1940s, very few families were left in the area due to fire, diminished gold, and a new railroad.
The Natoma Water Company was formed in 1851 by local miners to construct a 20-mile ditch that would supply water for miners seeking gold. The ditch started up by the new salmon falls bridge and reached down to Granite City, which today is named Folsom. The ditch was named the "Natoma Ditch" and it cost around $175,000 to build. In 1912 the Natoma Water Company lined 13,000 feet of the ditch with concrete. In 1953 the government bought most area to build Folsom Lake. The Natoma Water Company is now called Natoma Company.
People from all over the world came to the South Fork and North Fork of the American River to mine for gold. People were from England, Scotland, Wales, New York, Virginia, Kentucky, Hawaii, China, etc. They camped next to their mining areas and eventually these camps became small towns. Among these are Rattlesnake Bar, Mormon Bar, Mormon Ravine, Oregon Bar, and Manhattan Bar.
Folsom Dam was built in 1955 as a concrete dam flanked by earth wing dams and dikes, with a total length of about nine miles. The shoreline extends about 15 miles up the forks of the American River. Lake levels at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area normally vary from 460 feet in early spring to less than 400 feet by summer as the rainy weather passes and snow in the Sierras melts. Downstream, behind Nimbus Dam, smaller Lake Natoma has about 500 surface acres of water. Folsom and Nimbus Dams were built by the Bureau of Reclamation as part of California's Central Valley Project to control the waters of the American River. Other functions of the dams include flood protection, household water supply, power and irrigation.
In May 1979, the California State Park and Recreation Commission approved the General Plan for the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. The public participated heavily in this plan through six public workshops and over 3,500 mail in questionnaires. The public agreed that Lake Natoma should retain its quiet character but Folsom Lake needed to be upgraded for recreational use.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is home to many species of plants and animals. Some of the common plants in the area include blue oaks, interior live oaks, foothill pines and annual grasses. In the spring, wildflowers include Indian paintbrush, larkspur, lupine, brodiaea, fiddleneck, Dutchman's pipe and monkey flower. In addition to plant life, there are also several species of animals including black-tailed deer, raccoons, skunks, opossums, gray foxes and coyotes. Birds commonly found in the area include nesting egrets, herons and cormorants, Canada geese, blackbirds, scrub jays, quail, wrens, bushtits and towhees. There are also wrentits, California thrashers, kingfishers and grebes near the water. Red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, ospreys and eagles may be spotted flying over the area.Rattlesnakes are also common.
The park has many ancient blue oak trees that range from 400 to 500 years old. Vegetation in the area is 50 percent interior live oak, 25 percent blue oak, 14 percent annual grassland, 5 percent cottonwood/willow riparian, freshwater marsh and seasonal wetlands, and less than 5 acres of vernal pools.
Birdwatching is a year-round activity. Bird migration occurs in autumn and spring. Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake have up to 80,000 wintering gulls and some waterfowl. Great blue herons, great egrets and double-crested cormorants begin setting up breeding territories in February and stay until August. Their young can be seen March though August.
Peninsula campground is located at the end of Rattlesnake Bar Road, on the peninsula between the North and South Forks of the American River. It can be accessed from Pilot Hill on Highway 49 by following Rattlesnake Bar Road 11 miles to the campground. It is also accessible by boat for Boat-In camping. It has 100 campsites with facilities including flush toilets, hot showers, piped water, sanitation station, two boat launch ramps, and oaks nature trail.Peninsula is a remote campground which can be subject to winter and/or road closures. Campsite reservations can be made only on-season and during off-season it is first-come, first-served.
Beals Point campground
Beals Point is located on the west shore of Folsom Lake, just north of the dam. It can be accessed off Auburn-Folsom Road, south of Douglas Blvd. There are 69 Sites allowing trailers and RVs up to 31’. Facilities include flush toilets, hot showers, piped water, sanitation station, snack bar, beach equipment rentals, and a beach.
Negro Bar Group campsites
Negro Bar is located on the west side of Lake Natoma. It can be accessed off Greenback Lane in Folsom. Campground facilities include 3 Group sites. Sites A & B accommodate 50 people and Site C can accommodate 25 people. Flush toilets are available. A Group must contain at least 9 people.
Gold was first discovered along the south bank of the American River in the area known as Negro Bar.This site received its name because it was one of the earliest recorded locations mined by African-American gold miners during the California Gold Rush of 1849. At the time, Negro Bar was a large sand bar located on the south bank of the lower American River, in what is now the City of Folsom. Most African American miners left by 1852 to nearby mining sites that were more successful. Today, Negro Bar State Recreation Area is located on the opposite side of the American River.
Avery's Pond environmental campsites
Avery's Pond is located Near Rattlesnake Bar, north of the Rattlesnake Bar Equestrian Assembly Area. It can be accessed by parking at Rattlesnake Bar and walking 1.1 miles to the sites. There are 2 Sites and each holds 8 people. There are no water or garbage service and no dogs or fires allowed.It is commonly used as a horseback riding trail. Avery's pond is a historical pond made in the 1880s by a pioneer rancher named Ira Avery. Elevation of the pond is at 530 feet, about 20 feet above Folsom Lake. The 1854 North Fork Diversion ditch provided water for Avery's Pond and water from the pond became a reliable year-around water source for Avery's extensive orchards. Avery used to supply lumber, fruit, and sheep to the gold miners in the area. His ranch consisted of about 117 acres, of which 40 acres had 1,500 fruit trees (pears, persimmons, cherries). The pond is lined with fine-grained alluvium.
Nimbus Dam and Lake Natoma are also included in the vicinity of the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.
Historically, the American River provided approximately 100 miles of stream in which salmon and steelhead could spawn and rear. When the Folsom-Nimbus project was completed in 1958, most of the spawning and rearing areas for the fish were cut off. Nimbus Hatchery was constructed to replace the salmon and steelhead runs that were blocked by Nimbus dam.The Nimbus Fish Hatchery located at Nimbus Dam raises Chinook salmon and steelhead for release to the American River. About 4 million Chinook salmon and 43,000 steelhead are released each year. Educational activities for children and adults are offered. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation pays the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to operate the hatchery.
Lake Natoma is an intermediate lake along the American River, located between Folsom Dam and Nimbus Dam. It is primarily a recreational lake. It includes Negro Bar State Recreation Area. The Sacramento State Aquatic Center is also located here and equipment rentals are available for paddling, rowing, water ski and wakeboard, boating and jet skiing, and sailing and windsurfing. The Sac State Aquatic Center is a cooperation between students at Sacramento State, the University Union at Sac State, California Department of Boating and Waterways, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
Folsom is a city in Sacramento County, California, United States. It is commonly known for Folsom Prison, the song "Folsom Prison Blues" as well as for Folsom Lake. The population was 72,203 at the 2010 census. The median home price in Folsom is $651,491 with the average household income at $100,163.
Lake Oroville is a reservoir formed by the Oroville Dam impounding the Feather River, located in Butte County, northern California. The lake is situated 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the city of Oroville, within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Known as the second-largest reservoir in California, Lake Oroville is treated as a keystone facility within the California State Water Project by storing water, providing flood control, recreation, freshwater releases assist in controlling the salinity intrusion into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and protecting fish and wildlife.
The Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada and eastern Sacramento Valley, in the U.S. state of California. The main stem of the river is about 40 miles (64 km) long, and its headwaters are split into three major forks. The Yuba River proper is formed at the confluence of the North Yuba and Middle Yuba Rivers, with the South Yuba joining a short distance downstream. Measured to the head of the North Yuba River, the Yuba River is just over 100 miles (160 km) long.
Pine Flat Lake is an artificial lake or reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills of eastern Fresno County, California on the western north-south border to the Sierra- and Sequoia National Forests, about 30 mi (48 km) east of Fresno. The lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and is open to boaters, campers & hikers.
Folsom Lake is a reservoir on the American River in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, United States.
The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail is a paved multi-use pathway that runs between the confluence of the Sacramento River with the American River, just north of downtown Sacramento, California, and Beal's Point at Folsom Lake, north of Folsom. The trail is 32 miles (51 km) long, and is used as a major recreational destination, as well as a commuter artery for cyclists. The trail is considered one of the longest paved purpose-built bike trails in the country. The trail is maintained by the County of Sacramento and is painted with mile markers placed at every half-mile increment.
Lake Natoma is a small lake in the western United States, along the lower American River, between Folsom and Nimbus Dams in Sacramento County, California. The lake is located within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area which is responsible for maintaining the facilities and bike trails surrounding the lake. Lake Natoma is located 15 miles east of Sacramento, and has 500 surface acres of water. The total length of lake Natoma is 4 miles.
Mormon Island was once a mining town, which had an abundance of Mormon immigrants seeking gold in the American River during the California Gold Rush. Its site is in present-day Sacramento County, California.
The Nimbus Dam is a base load hydroelectric dam on the American River near Folsom, California. Approximately 8,700 acre-feet (10,700 dam3) of water is retained by the dam. It is responsible for the impoundment of water from the American River to create the Lake Natoma reservoir. The dam stands 87 feet and spans 1,093 feet. The Nimbus powerplant consists of two generators. Each generator produces enough electrical power to power over 200,000 100-watt light bulbs, about 15,500 kilowatts of electrical power. Nimbus Dam consists of 18 radial gates, each with their own gate bays. These 18 gates today are the ones that were completed in 1955 along with the rest of the dam. Of the eighteen gates, four of them have had their coating system replaced. This protects the gates from a faster rate of corrosion. The other fourteen gates have the original coating.
Folsom Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the American River of Northern California in the United States, about 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Sacramento. The dam is 340 ft (100 m) high and 1,400 ft (430 m) long, flanked by earthen wing dams. It was completed in 1955, and officially opened the following year.
Lost Creek Lake is a reservoir located on the Rogue River in Jackson County, Oregon, United States. The lake is impounded by William L. Jess Dam which was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 for flood control and fisheries enhancement. The lake and dam were the first completed elements of the multi-purpose Rogue River Basin Project, consisting of Lost Creek Lake, Applegate Lake and the Elk Creek project. The lake is located approximately 27 miles (43 km) northeast of Medford.
Auburn Dam was a proposed concrete arch dam on the North Fork of the American River east of the town of Auburn, California, in the United States, on the border of Placer and El Dorado Counties. Slated to be completed in the 1970s by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, it would have been the tallest concrete dam in California and one of the tallest in the United States, at a height of 680 feet (210 m) and storing 2,300,000 acre-feet (2.8 km3) of water. Straddling a gorge downstream of the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River and upstream of Folsom Lake, it would have regulated water flow and provided flood control in the American River basin as part of Reclamation's immense Central Valley Project.
The Bear River is a tributary of the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada, winding through four California counties: Yuba, Sutter, Placer, and Nevada. About 73 miles (117 km) long, the river flows generally southwest through the Sierra then west through the Central Valley, draining a narrow, rugged watershed of 295 square miles (760 km2).
The South Fork American River is a major tributary of the American River in El Dorado County, California, draining a watershed on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The river begins in pristine Desolation Wilderness and flows through the Sierra Nevada foothills. The river at Coloma was the site of James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848, which started the California Gold Rush. The South Fork of the American is "the most popular recreation stream in the West" for whitewater rafting in North America, e.g., 80,000 visitors in 2011.Professional whitewater rafting companies such as WET River Trips have been offering commercial rafting trips from April to October on the South Fork American River since 1978.
The American River is a 30-mile (50 km)-long river in California that runs from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to its confluence with the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento. Via the Sacramento River, it is part of the San Francisco Bay watershed. This river is fed by the melting snowpack of the Sierra Nevada and its many headwaters and tributaries, including the North Fork American River, the Middle Fork American River, and the South Fork American River.
The North Fork American River is the longest branch of the American River in Northern California. It is 88 miles (142 km) long from its source at the crest of the Sierra Nevada, near Lake Tahoe, to its mouth at Folsom Lake northeast of Sacramento. Prior to the construction of Folsom Dam the river was about 9 miles (14 km) longer making for a total length of 97 miles (156 km).
The Middle Fork American River is one of three forks that form the American River in Northern California. It drains a large watershed in the high Sierra Nevada west of Lake Tahoe and northeast of Sacramento in Placer and El Dorado Counties, between the watersheds of the North Fork American River and South Fork American River. The Middle Fork joins with the North Fork near Auburn and they continue downstream to Folsom Lake as the North Fork, even though the Middle Fork carries a larger volume of water.
Camanche Dam is an earthfill Dam on the Mokelumne River in the central California, about 20 mi (32 km) from East Lodi. The dam and reservoir lie in the Sierra Nevada foothills in San Joaquin County. Construction of Camanche Dam was started in 1963 and completed in 1964. East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) owns and operates it. The purpose of Camanche Dam and reservoir is to provide flood control, water flows for agriculture, habitat for fisheries and recreation for community.
Rollins Dam is a dam on the border of Nevada and Placer counties in northern California, in the United States.
The Nimbus Fish Hatchery is located in eastern Sacramento County, built on the downstream side of the Nimbus Dam. It is one of the 21 fish hatcheries the California Department of Fish and Wildlife oversees. Chinook salmon and steelhead are raised, and about 4 million Chinook salmon and 430,000 steelhead released each year.