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The American River Parkway (a.k.a. the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) hugs the banks of the American River as it flows through riparian habitat preserved by the American River Parkway Foundation. The trail runs for 32 miles between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake's southwestern banks at Beal's Point. The bike path meets the Sacramento Northern Bikeway just north of Del Paso Boulevard near Azteca Stadium.
The two-lane trail is completely paved, with mile markers, trailside maps, water fountains, restrooms and telephones along the way. There are also plenty of places to stop to eat, rest or enjoy the scenery. Most of the trail is shaded and level, although the route does traverse some rolling terrain. Along the way you'll pass through several parks and swimming areas, as well as through the suburban enclaves of Sacramento.
Two beautiful, not-to-miss pedestrian bridges that cross the river along the route are: the Guy West Bridge, a suspension bridge which links the trail to the California State University campus, and the Fair Oaks Bridge, a truss bridge built in the early 1900s.
About 2 miles of the trail is on-road in a designated bike lane.
There are numerous access points and places to park along the 32-mile route. Check the map for further details. Trail Access Points (from east to west): Negro Bar 3.1, Hazel Ave 8.4, Fish Hatchery 8.6, Sunrise Blvd 11.3, Goethe Park 17.0, Arden Bar 17.8, Watt Ave 21.2, Howe Ave 22.9, CSUS 23.4, Cal Expo 25.2, Discovery Park 31.3, Old Town 32.
My wife and I have cycled in many scenic places in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. Some of these trips have been 3-months long, but when we return to the ARBT we are amazed at how spectacular it can be throughout the entire year. We are fortunate to be able to ride almost every day of the year in Sacramento and the ARBT certainly facilitates our riding throughout the entire Sacramento area.
We entered the paved trail off of Expo Parkway near Costco and rode towards the Fish Ladder. It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of trees shade the trail. Perfect cycling weather with temperatures in the 60s. It was a Sunday so the trail was busy, but still very enjoyable. Lots of port-a-pottys along the way. We rode 31 miles out and back, but didn’t go all the way to the fish ladder. We ate lunch at a peaceful spot in the river and saw deer, wild turkeys and ground squirrels. Great ride.
There is a $12 fee to park because it is a State Park. If you want to get to lake you’ll have a little walk because Folsom Lake is low right now. If you’re looking to jump on your bike and ride this is a nice starting point. We were there the first week of August and it was a little warm. I would recommend lots of water. The trail has some inclines so be aware you’ll get a little exercise. I would recommend this trail. It is paved and seem to be pretty well maintained.
Review of the 1st 4 miles coming east from Discovery Park. All four of us started our from Discovery Park and headed east along the trail. The trail itself is very easy and the surface is very smooth. 99% of the faster cyclists were polite and gave us adequate warning of their presence. Alas the first few miles are not very scenic. A lot of litter on the sides of the trail and many tents. Not an area we'd care to cycle in again as a family at the current time.
This is a great trail that is a smooth ride with many benches and stopping points along the way, even a few restrooms as well. People are decently considerate on the trail but you will have the occasional "tour de Sacramento" guy going way too fast.
Also if you are a mountain biker steer clear, the Park Rangers do not mess around here and you don't want to be caught off the paved trail, there are many off road paths along the route but strictly no bikes on that part.
I rode from Old Town to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and back to car in Old town.
Pros: The trail is a beautiful paved trail that meanders along the American river from Sacramento to Lake Folsom. Just a slight grade up as you ride east.
Cons: Many homeless encampments along first four miles of trail near Sacramento. I have heard of crime occurring upon cyclists riding through this area.
Cycle time; 3:45 Hours
Distance 49 miles.
Great ride from Beals CSP to Hazel Ave. Saw a couple of wild turkeys, an egret doing a mating dance then crossed then walked across bike path like I have never seen an egret do. Moments later a deer crossed the bike path. Lots of flowers, sunshine but as soon as I got hot a shady part of the trail would come along. Watch for caterpillars, they are crossing the path too.
Smooth surface, well maintained shoulders, great views, mixture of wild natural plants and trees with groomed parks dotted along, and the river! Obviously very popular with local cyclists, runners, dog walkers, strollers, etc. Don't miss it!
Just visited the east end of the trail with a friend that is new to cycling. The trail had a variety of users (walkers, runners, skaters, beginning and experienced cyclists). Many options were available to us, including hills/flat, shady/sunny. We also enjoyed some of the interesting trail features (bridges, riverside picnic benches). Wildlife and views were great, especially in the Folsom area.
I recently moved to the area and was in need of a long easy to follow trail. This is my third trail to try in the area and I must say it is the best!!! Best part is that it is all paved, nice scenery and friendly people sharing the trail. I love it!!! Keep in mind I'm a runner and it was very easy to share this trail with the bikers.
Would this be a good trail for a bigginer bike rider
This trial is awesome!!!! It runs along the American river in Sacramento Ca. It is very clean has endless amount of shade places to sit and read a book or just listen to nature. It was my lady's first ride on a long trial without cars. She enjoyed it so much we are making plans to go back an do a longer ride on the trial.
My boyfriend and I just finished 40 miles on this trail and it was great! I'm new to riding so it was a good beginner trail that was mostly flat. Best part was the view and mile indicators, bathrooms and rest areas along the way. Bikers have the lanes and joggers stay to the side which was nice, felt like a safe location as well even for being a little secluded in areas.
Although there are some sketchy areas with a lot of homeless people on the west end, the majority of the trail is well maintained and enjoyable to ride. The scenery is nice and the trail is wide enough to share with others whether serious riders or casual explorers.
Ride from Discovery Park to Watt. Trail winds its way along the river and inland. Lots of birds and squirrels. Fresh air. Almost entirely flat.
After reading reviews about this trail, my wife and I decided to give this a try. We had read negative reviews about the trail in the Discovery Park area, so we decided to avoid that section and drive from downtown to a trailhead near Watt St. After driving around for quite a while we couldn't find the trailhead so decided to access the trail at Northrup St, closer to downtown. We parked our car on the street, which appeared pretty secure with reasonable people and car traffic, easy access to the trail and decided to head towards Folsom lake.
Very nice bike trail and nice paved surface. Lots of access to restrooms and water sources. People and cyclists share the trail, security was never an issue.
Headed towards the fish hatchery, crossed the river and went to Folsom Lake. Considering it was a Friday before Memorial Day, bike traffic was moderate but not heavy.
Total of 52 miles ... would highly recommend this.
Well-maintained, a bit crowded on weekends due to running groups. A great area resource!
near the cal expo access i had actually found two bald eagle feathers
One of our favorite trails ever. One recommendation however, don't park in the more secluded areas such as Rossmoor Bar. Our truck was broken into and vandalized and everything stolen. Highly recommend parking where there is more human activity, either in one of the parks, or in a residential area.
"I enjoy this multi-use trail often. Lately, the issue seems to be getting past pedestrians whom are taking up more lateral space than needed. "
"If you've never been to Sacramento and are wondering what there is to do here, ignore anything else you hear and just head for this trail. It's the best thing Sacramento has going for it.
While riding along the American River it's hard to believe you are actually in the midst of a major metropolitan area, especially as you head further east. The asphalt path follows the American River Canyon from the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, up to Nimbus Dam, then crosses the river (Hazel Ave. bridge) and continues up to Folsom Lake. There are a few hills and a general uphill grade going eastbound, but its nothing serious.
It's not uncommon to see deer along the route, and once I saw a 5-point buck all the way down at the trail's west end, in Discovery Park. I've also seen coyotes (rarely), lots of birds (hawks, quail) an occasional snake and even a skunk or two.
The trail is 32 miles long, but it can easily be extended another 20 miles by crossing the Tower Bridge on the west end, and riding west on West Capitol Ave. until it meets up with the paved bike path that parallels Interstate 80. This runs to the town of Davis. Don't expect any scenery on this section other than cars and trucks on one side and wide-open fields on the other. Lots of exhaust fumes to deal with as well. But the ride is paved and flat.
Negatives: Homeless camps near the Discovery Park (west) end of the trail. Can get somewhat crowded on weekends or holidays. Can be blistering hot in the summer (however, there's plenty of river access to jump in and cool off). No camping permitted except at Folsom Lake campgrounds (east end). Sections of the trail can flood during spring runoff when the American River rises. Also, summer weekends between Sunrise Ave. Bridge and Goethe Park the river will be full of loud, often drunk ""rafters."" This is the weekend party crowd, not to be confused with serious paddlers. They're not usually a problem other than being loud and somewhat annoying at times.
In other words, this isn't the wilderness, but it's about as close as you can get in the midst of a heavily populated area."
"This is the longest multiuse trail that I've riden. It is very isolated from any auto traffic, but quite accessible thru the park system, excellent parking. It only crosses two roads and now runs for over 40 miles and has many tributaries. There is access to Davis via a bike path over the causeways from West Sacramento. The terrain is generally flat until one approaches Lake Natoma and Lake Folsom. The trail now loops around Lake Natoma and is a beautiful loop of ~12 miles."
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