Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

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About Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

In 1955, the construction of Folsom Dam heralded an era of family lake pilgrimages that define the popular activity you can expect to find there today. This water-based wonderland, at the base of the Sierra foothills, includes more than one lake (Folsom and Natoma), paved cycling paths, horse trails, mountain biking, bird watching and every form of watersport you can dream up. The breadth of diverse recreation is indeed one of the things that makes this area so widely appealing. Families and groups of campers frequent Folsom all summer long and enjoy the warm autumn afternoons and the purple and red wildflower displays in the spring. Come here to swim when the heat is making your limbs ache and stay all day in a water temperature that nears perfection.

Campgrounds in Folsom Lake

Beals Point Campground

1. Beals Point Campground

83% Recommend (6 Responses)

Just north of the Folsom Dam, you’ll find Beal’s Point Campground, which also offers piped drinking water, hot showers and trailer/motorhome...

Jennifer
Jennifer: My husband and I camped here on 10/3 and it was surprisingly pleasant! The park is nestled right alongside a busy road, so we...
4 Saves
Peninsula Campground

3. Peninsula Campground

Amidst open woodlands interspersed with blue oaks, foothill pines and lupine or Indian paintbrush in the fertile spring wildflower season, you can...

Jessie
Jessie: Gorgeous campground but be aware, many sites 78-81 facing the lake are quite literally on top of one another. If you are more...
1 Save

Photos

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Folsom Lake
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
Folsom Lake
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
Folsom Lake
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
Folsom Lake
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
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Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake

10 Reviews

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Check the weather if you have plans to camp and want to avoid those extra hot days and nights, Sacramento summers can get up there in temperature.

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Treat your kids, or yourself, to enormous snow cones from the snack shack at Beal’s Point.

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Parts of the beach are quite rocky, keep your shoes on until you find your sunbathing spot and settle in.

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If you’re craving a trail that you won’t see a bike on, try the quiet Pioneer Express Trail on the northwest side of the lake.

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If you go to Folsom Lake, take Douglas Blvd and avoid getting lost, this route will lead you right to the park.

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Unlike cool plunges, this water is warm enough in the summer to get in and stay, so bring your waterproof sunscreen!

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Hipcamper Jessie

Gorgeous campground but be aware, many sites 78-81 facing the lake are quite literally on top of one another. If you are more solitary, pick sites away from the lake edge. Sound carries here and it's very noisy!

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Hipcamper Jennifer

My husband and I camped here on 10/3 and it was surprisingly pleasant! The park is nestled right alongside a busy road, so we were a little skeptical driving up to it. We camped in spot #8 which had a good amount of privacy and was up a little hill, so we didn't feel like we were right on top of other campers. The bathrooms were clean and close by, and there's water piped in at each site, along with a large fire pit. The "lake" is the only disappointment, which isn't any big surprise. It was actually pretty interesting to walk along the dry lake bottom and imagine what it used to look like. It feels like you're in some post-apocalyptic movie or something...sad because of the drought, but still an interesting experience!

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Hipcamper Phil

my wife is sleeping in her car and needs a place to sleep​...........just need a parking lot to park in to sleep ..........shelters are full...my job is about to end and she is getting a new job.....but all shelters are full ...right now...thank you​
her tele is ....916 704 6803​ ​her name is beth grieves
do you know of any free camping around folsom lake ...that will let her sleep in them

History of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area offers scenic panoramas of open grasslands, rolling hills, the Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley and the Bay Area’s Mount Diablo. The recreation area covers 19,500 acres. Its two reservoirs, Folsom and Natoma, attract about two million visitors annually.
For thousands of years the land near Folsom Lake belonged to the Southern Maidu or Nisenan (“from among us”). The Nisenan lived in temporary summer shelters made from peeled tree bark. In winter they dwelled in permanent villages on the American River. These villages had community buildings including a kum ceremonial and guest structure.
The Nisenan traded with other native groups, exchanging local acorns fro black oak acorns, manzanita berries and sugar pine nuts. Coastal people traded with Nisenan for oyster shells, shell beads and basket materials. The Nisenan are still known worldwide for their woven baskets made from willow, redbud, tule, milkweed, sedge grass and native grape vines.
After the 1848 gold discovery, most of the Nisenan lands were given away as part of a land grant. The native people were overwhelmed by the loss of their food source and by diseases like smallpox. The Nisenan people were nearly decimated, but today their descendants live in nearby communities or on reservations.
Folsom Lake was created in 1955 by the construction of Folsom Dam, a concrete dam flanked by earth wing dams and dikes, with a total length of about nine miles. The shoreline extends about 15 miles up the forks of the American River. Lake level normally varies from 460 feet in early spring to less than 400 feet by summer.
Downstream, behind Nimbus Dam, a smaller Lake Natoma has about 500 surface acres of water. Built by the Bureau of Reclamation as part of California’s Central Valley Project. Nimbus and Folsom Dams control the waters of the American River and provide flood protection, household supply, power and irrigation.