I started hiking from the Folsom Lake Peninsula campground down to the tip of this stretch of land. Usually underwater, the drought of 2015 had drained the lake down to 15% of capacity. This exposed lake bed that is rarely visited during normal lake levels. Like many people I tripped across sunken boats, abandon gold mines and a surprising number of dams.
Posts related to the American River in California, history, hiking, pictures, maps.
With the North Fork of the American River actually flowing around Rattlesnake Bar since the stationary waters of Folsom Lake didn’t occur until around the bend at Horseshoe Bar, I figured I might be able walk across the river to explore Goose Flats and the old mining operations. I thought if the miners of the 1850’s could ford the river so could I. Much of the bottom and banks of the river are choked with mud, muck and sediment as the lake elevation can be eighty feet above the river bed at Rattlesnake Bar.
A 2015 drought depleted Folsom Lake has allowed a rare opportunity to hike from the current Salmon Falls bridge over the South Fork of the American River all the way down to the old bridge which is usually covered by Folsom Lake. What makes this hike so special is that the South Fork of the American is flowing free like a river should.
Sometimes the craziest ideas actually become reality. In 1870 one man proposed tunneling underneath the Sierra Nevada mountain range to ship Tahoe lake water to San Francisco. While that may seem like an audacious scheme today, similar projects were already underway in the 19th century and parts of the tunnel project under the Sierras have […]
Even before Folsom Lake Dam was built and the reservoir filled, the north fork of the American River was supplying water to communities, farms and ranches in south Placer and northeast Sacramento counties. I recently found aerial photography from 1952 showing a free flowing north and south fork of the American River. Finally, I can […]
Even though I had visited the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area Peninsula Campground on many occasions, I had never really hiked the established trail system at this park site until December of 2014. The trails at the Peninsula Campground are nice and wide and easily accommodate hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Developed either from old […]
The east side of the north fork of the American River is challenging to hike because of the lack of accessibility and rugged terrain along the Folsom Lake. After I discovered the abutment for a bridge on the west side of the river, I had to get to Anderson Island on the other side. Not only was I able to find the suspension bridge cables, I found the ruins of Zantgraf mine which is fairly well preserved.
The low water levels of Folsom Lake in this drought year of 2014 offer unprecedented opportunities for hiking and biking around usually water-logged historical sites. The fully exposed North Fork Ditch offers a relatively flat trail for mountain biking from Beeks Bight up to Horseshoe Bar. At certain locations, you’ll need to park the bike […]
Inherently, all hikes are good. Some hikes, however, have more merit than others. The South Fork American River Trail is lacking in many of the characteristics of a good or great hike. While it is a nice trail, you need to choose carefully when you decide to hike it and where you start.
It feels like a miniaturized Yosemite when you first walk into Auburn Quarry Crags climbing park.