Placer, Sacramento, and El Dorado Counties Northern California

Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake

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Photo of Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake known by many as a boating lake, drawing boating enthusiasts from all around the greater Sacramento area. But Folsom is a lot more than boating. The broad variety of activities available in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area attract more than two million visitors there every year.

Located just east of Sacramento on two branches of the American River, Folsom Lake is close enough to the capital city that people in the area can be on the water in less than an hour.

Folsom is one of those lakes that has something for just about everyone. Sure, there's water skiing and wakeboarding, camping and swimming, sailing and fishing. But there are also miles of great hiking trails around the lake, popular with horseback riders, mountain bikers, joggers, nature lovers, and day hikers. There are beaches and wake boarding instructors, jet ski camps for kids, bird watching walks, and ice cream vendors.

Vehicle Entry Fee: $10 - $12.

Boating Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake is almost always crowded with boats. On summer weekends the launch ramps generate both comedy and frustration. Once out on the water, wakeboarders and skiers have plenty of room in the main body. Boaters with self contained sanitation and proper sleeping quarters can spend the night on their boats at designated mooring locations. Sailors can join one of the local clubs and complete in weekly races or just enjoy the steady breezes.

Low water during droughts several years ago limitied the boating season and forced boat owners to pull their boats from the marina. The winter of 2010-11 finally brought the lake back to full capacity.


With only one Marina, things can get congested around the Folsom Lake Marina at Brown's Ravine. Wise boaters choose one of the more remote launch ramps. The marina has almost every kind of service you could want, including towing. The operators try their best to keep traffic flowing on the ramps by providing clear guidelines. The waiting list for slips at the single marina is years long.


Folsom Lake has great fishing for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Skilled bass anglers often hook 10-pounders. The lake also holds good populations of rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, crappie, bluegill and catfish.


Only two major campgrounds are located on Folsom Lake. The Peninsula Campground is more remote, while Beal's Point is adjacent to a beach, snack bar, and other amenities. Campers can access the Peninsula Campground by boat. Other than some RV Parks and some resorts at Coloma, there is little other camping in the area.


There is no lodging right at Folsom Lake, but because of its close proximity to the towns of Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Loomis, Auburn, and many other cities, lodging abounds within a ten mile radius. Some hotels are upscale, catering to business travelers. Because of the competition, however, prices are not exorbitant. With a little investigating, reasonably priced lodging can be found.


When Folsom Lake has plenty of water, it's a beautiful place. Early in the summer green hills surround it so that visitors hardly realize they are only miles from more than two million people in the greater Sacramento region. Low water during drought years and late in the season give the lake a much less appealing appearance.

Nearby Communities

Folsom is the nearest city, just downstream from the lake. It has a historical district, museums, and many other attractions. Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Rocklin, Loomis, and El Dorado Hills are all within a few miles of the lake. Sacramento is only 25 miles to the west.


Folsom Lake Facts
Lake Size: 11,450 surface acres
Maximum Depth: 250 feet
Length: 15 miles
Shoreline: 75 miles
Dam Construction: 1955
Reservoir Owner: Bureau of Reclamation
Maximum Lake Elevation: 466 feet
Optimum Lake Elevation: 435 feet
Average High Air Temperatures
  spring: 80 degrees
  summer: 95 degrees
  fall: 83 degrees
  winter: 55 degrees
Summer Water Temperature: 75 degrees

Other Recreation at Folsom Lake

  • Picnicking:   Beal's Point, Folsom Point, Granite Bay, Peninsula Campground
  • Horseback Riding:   Equestrian Staging Area at Granite Bay has hitching rails and water trough; also find staging areas at Rattlesnake Bar, Brown's Ravine, Falcon Crest, and Sterling Pointe.
  • Trails:   95 miles of trails for bicyclists, runners, horseback riders, and hikers.
  1. Western States/Pioneer Express Trail - connects Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada
  2. Oaks Nature Trail out on the Peninsula
  3. Paved bicycle trail linking Beal's Point to the American River Hike & Bike Trail
  4. Darrington Trail - on South Fork near Salmon Falls area - popular with mountain bikers

California's Greatest Lakes

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