- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
Closure notice: From June 2022 until the fall of 2023, the trail is closed between Union Pacific Rail crossing and just west of State Route 51 American River Bridge. Visit Sacramento County’s regional parks webpage for details.
This Northern California pathway 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.
For the easiest bike ride, you can start at the northeast end of the trail at Beal’s Point and travel downhill. The first 8.4 miles of the trail are managed by California State Parks; here, signage refers to the trail as the American River Bikeway. Beginning at Hazel Avenue, the trail is signed as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail and is managed by Sacramento County.
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 provides picturesque views of Folsom Lake, Lake Natoma, and the American River. It connects with a number of other trails, including the Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail, Lake Natoma Trail, Folsom South Canal Recreation Trail, Sunrise Bikeway, Sacramento Northern Bikeway, and Two Rivers Trail. Multiple unpaved hiking trails also intersect it.
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.
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.
Parking is available at numerous locations along the trail. There are parking lots at Beal’s Point (275 feet east of Oak Hill Dr) in Granite Bay, at Black Miners Bar on Park Road (0.2 mile south of Greenback Ln) in Folsom, at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center (1901 Hazel Ave, Gold River), at Upper Sunrise Boat Ramp on South Bridge Street (0.8 mile northeast of Sunrise Blvd) in Rancho Cordova, at Sunrise Recreation Area on South Bridge Street (0.3 mile west of Sunrise Blvd) in Rancho Cordova, at Hagan Community Park (2197 Chase Dr, Rancho Cordova), at William B. Pond Recreation Area on Arden Way (0.3 mile from McClaren Dr) in Carmichael, and at Discovery Park on Natomas Park Drive (0.7 mile southwest of Garden Hwy).
There is a fee to park at Beal's Point in Granite Bay. All listed locations have at least one accessible space. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy
(a non-profit) and we need your support!