Lake Natoma Trail


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Lake Natoma Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Sacramento
Length: 5.5 miles
Trail end points: Gold Lake Dr, 0.1 mile north of Leidesdorff St (Folsom) and American River Parkway, 500 feet north of Gold Country Blvd & Nimbus Rd (Gold River)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6825092

Lake Natoma Trail Description

Many consider the Lake Natoma Trail to be a part of the American River Bike Trail, but it is a distinct trail that connects with the parkway as part of a larger trail system in Folsom.

The trail spans 5.5 miles of mostly flat, paved terrain that closely hugs Lake Natoma between Nimbus Dam and the Folsom Historic District, offering visitors the chance to take a scenic journey with many benches and picnic tables along the way for stopping to enjoy the views. The route is partially shaded by trees, and as trail users make their way from south to north, they will pass vast grassy plains to the right and have magnificent waterside views of Lake Natoma to the left.

At its southern end, the Lake Natoma Trail intersects with the American River Parkway near the Nimbus Fish Ladder. The trailhead here has a parking area overlooking the Nimbus Dam, where the American River meets Lake Natoma, and is a short distance from Nimbus Flat State Recreation Area, a small park with a lakefront beach and a boat ramp.

The only surface change of the route occurs 1.4 miles into your journey when you reach a wooden bridge that is somewhat bumpy. In another 1.4 miles, you will arrive at the Willow Creek Recreation Area, where there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms, a parking area, picnic tables, beach access to the lake, and a boat ramp. In 0.1 mile, the Lake Natoma Trail intersects with the Humbug–Willow Creek Trail, then continues 2.4 miles to trail’s end and downtown Folsom’s historic district.

In the Folsom Historic District, visitors will find shops, restaurants, museums, an amphitheater, and a light-rail station. If you want to keep the adventure going, the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, Folsom Parkway Rail Trail, and Johnny Cash Trail are only a short distance away.

Parking and Trail Access

You can park at several small parking lots along Leidesdorff Street, as well as in the parking garage at the corner of Leidesdorff and Reading Streets. It is a short walk down Gold Lake Drive to the beginning of the trail below Lake Natoma Inn, although many prefer to meet the trail from a feeder path starting at the east edge of the north park-and-ride lot on Leidesdorff Street.

You can also join the trail at Willow Creek (vehicle fee to enter) or Nimbus Flats (vehicle fee) or from the Iron Point light rail station (cross Folsom Boulevard to the feeder path and travel either northeast or southwest to join the trail proper).

Visit the TrailLink map for additional options and detailed directions.

Lake Natoma Trail Reviews

midnight skateboard

It is really fun

Lake Natoma

All tho I only went 6 mile on this trail it was nice and fun, Beautiful view and nice people on the trail.

Scenic trail with smooth surface

Hit this trail on a Saturday and started out from the car park at the dam. Our family of four cycled along the trail for just under 4 miles. Great lake views, smooth trail, and polite trail users. Good number of stopping places with lake views. Highly recommend.

Trail Newbies on the American River

We are new to Sacramento and novice bike riders in our late 60's. We have ridden 2 segments of this trail.

The first segment was from Negro Bar (off of Greenback Lane) to the Hazel Blvd. bridge then back to Negro Bar. Total distance was about 10 miles. There are a couple of steep sections (for us) but, in general a very comfortable and visually stunning ride. The bike path is completely paved and wide enough that oncoming traffic is not a concern. Very fun ride!

The second segment was from the Willow Creek Recreation Area parking lot (off of Folsom Blvd.) to about a mile below the Hazel Blvd. bridge then back to Willow Creek. This segment is on the opposite side of the American River and runs parallel to Segment #1. Total distance was about 12 miles. This is a beautiful track, all paved, very comfortable riding and a perfect workout for my wife and I.

I would rate the Willow Creek track one-half star higher than the Negro Bar track in terms of aesthetics and comfort - but both are super! We are now plotting to ride the entire 32 miles of the American River Bike Trail. We are fortunate to live so close to such a wonderful recreation area!

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