American River Parkway (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail)


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American River Parkway (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) Facts

States: California
Counties: Sacramento
Length: 32 miles
Trail end points: Jibboom St & Natomas Park Dr in Discovery Park (Sacramento) and Beal’s Point Recreation Area (Granite Bay)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032575

American River Parkway (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) Description

Closure notice: The lower portion of the trail is closed from the Campus Commons Golf Course to the H Street Bridge and from the Route 51 Bridge to the Union Pacific Railroad Crossing. See Sacramento County for more current information and posted detours.


The American River Parkway (Jedediah smith Memorial Trail) follows the American River as it flows through riparian habitat preserved by the American River Parkway. The scenic trail runs for 32 miles between Folsom Lake’s southwestern banks at Beal’s Point and Discovery Park in Old Town Sacramento.

About the Route 

The two-lane trail is fully paved, with mile markers, trailside maps, water fountains, and restrooms along the way. Note that signage advises walkers and runners to stay on the left side or shoulder of the trail; stay alert while passing. 

The trail is mostly level, although the route does traverse some rolling terrain. About half the route is shaded by trees, while the other half offers views of wildflower fields. Along the way, you’ll pass through several parks and swimming areas, as well as the suburban enclaves of Sacramento.

The trail's western endpoint is located in Discovery Park at the confluence of the American River and the Sacramento River. Heading east from here, the trail continues to meander through the American River Parkway. Throughout the trail's entire route, in fact, the trail stays primarily within the Parkway, a series of parks and protected greenspace that hugs the American River throughout Sacramento.

The next 8 miles traverse a narrow greenspace that border suburban neighborhoods before passing William. B Pond, River Bend Park and Hagan Community Park. 

In Rancho Cordova, where the river takes a steep u-bend, the trail takes a more straightforward path through the dry shrubland before reaching Sunrise Recreation Area. 

Following Sunrise Recreation Area, it leaves the banks of the American River and heads up of northside of Lake Natoma, Mississippi Bluff

The northernmost 8.4 miles of the trail are managed by California State Parks; here, signage refers to the trail as the American River Bikeway. South of Hazel Avenue, the trail is signed as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail and is managed by Sacramento County.

Many beautiful pedestrian bridges cross the river along the route: the Fair Oaks Bridge, a truss bridge built in the early 1900s; the Harold Richey Memorial Bridge, which connects River Bend Park to the William B. Pond Recreation Area; and the Guy West Bridge, a suspension bridge that links the trail to the California State University, Sacramento, campus.


Near the trail's western endpoint, the trail connects to the Sacramento Northern Bikeway.

In the Magnolia neighborhood, the trail intersects with the Bannister Bike Trail & Jim Jones Bridge and the Sunrise Bikeway.

The Western State Pioneer Express Recreation Trail connects to the American River Parkway at the southern end of Lake Natoma and at Beals Point Recreation Area.

The American River Parkway parallels the Lake Natoma Trail, which traces the southern edge of its namesake lake.

Also, near Lake Natoma, the trail connects to the Folsom Parkway Rail Trail and the Humbug-Willow Creek Trail.


Parking and Trail Access

The American River Parkway (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) Jibboom St & Natomas Park Dr in Discovery Park (Sacramento) and Beal’s Point Recreation Area (Granite Bay).

There is a fee to park at Beal's Point in Granite Bay. All listed locations have at least one accessible space. 

See TrailLink map for all parking options and detailed directions. 

American River Parkway (Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) Reviews

Awesome trail!

We really enjoyed this trail! Great views with lots of places to stop. And plenty of restrooms. We went during the week and there were a lot of people out there. I can imagine it gets pretty crowded on the weekends. But, we would definitely ride this one again.

Go-to locale for bike riding throughout the year

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.

Beautiful river ride

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.

Beals Point

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.


Coming east from Discovery Park is not scenic

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.

Great trail for road bikes

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.

My American River Trail Ride May 14, 2017

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.

Turkeys, Egrets, Deer

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.

What a gem!

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!

Great trail for variety of users

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.

new to the 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.

Trail info

Would this be a good trail for a bigginer bike rider

First ride on her new bike!!!

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.

Awesome ride!

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.

Love riding this trail!

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.

pretty ride

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.

Awesome bike trail in Sacramento

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.

Best thing about Sacramento

Well-maintained, a bit crowded on weekends due to running groups. A great area resource!

jedadiah smith memorial trail

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. "

Best part of Sacramento

"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."

American River Bike Trail

"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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