This paved trail travels from Sacramento to Folsom Lake, hugging the American River through park after lush park. Begin your bike ride from any of the access points along this 33-mile route from downtown (there are many), and ride as far as you like. Track your distance with the trailside mile markers; they start from zero at the path’s western end. Although parts of the trail feel wild, you’re never far from civilization. Need a snack or drink? Just cross the levee at almost all major streets. Sacramento’s American River Parkway site has information on the city parks along the way. Check out the Permits and Fees before you go.
-Mapped by Wayne Riley
Sacramento, CA: American River Bike Trail
Distance: 33.37 mi
Total Time: none
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Points of Interest
Location: 38.719219, -121.167698
Restrooms and water are available at Beals Point. The concession stand is open from spring to fall.
Folsom Lake viewpoint
Location: 38.720742, -121.170530
Like most California lakes, Folsom is kept at a low level in winter to make room for the spring runoff.
Bridge in the works
Location: 38.703932, -121.166496
A new bridge is being built just below Folsom Dam. The road along the top of the dam (background) was closed after 9/11. The new bridge restores a commuter link to Folsom.
Location: 38.687319, -121.169500
The walls of Folsom Prison on the other side of the river
Historic Rainbow Bridge in Folsom
Location: 38.682160, -121.178084
On the other side of the bridge you can see an old railroad bridge that has been renovated to be a cyclist- and pedestrian-only crossing.
A pleasant ride along Lake Natoma
Location: 38.665475, -121.191044
Nimbus Dam, 7 miles below Folsom Dam, is a popular fishing area, particularly during salmon season.
Location: 38.641612, -121.216364
Location: 38.635713, -121.225376
The fish ladder in the center of this photo is a popular Nimbus Fish Hatchery attraction. The October Salmon Festival showcases the annual salmon run, when fish swim back upriver to spawn.
Historic Fair Oaks Bridge
Location: 38.636517, -121.263571
Just over the river and up a slight hill in old town Fair Oaks, there are many places to stop for coffee and food.
River view: Sunrise Bridge is in the distance.
Location: 38.623711, -121.296444
Lots of activity on the bridge crossing at Goethe Park
Location: 38.592422, -121.330884
Location: 38.588850, -121.333673
Take a break at Goethe Park, the start/finish location of the world's oldest triathlon, Eppie's Great Race</a>.
Golden Gate replica
Location: 38.562630, -121.419182
This replica of the Golden Gate Bridge crosses to the California State University, Sacramento campus.
Location: 38.581822, -121.416478
This is a popular lunch and breakfast spot for cyclists -- just over the levee along the trail. Other food and coffee choices are within blocks of here.
This is about as crowded as the trail gets during the winter.
Location: 38.606626, -121.482160
Discovery Park is located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers.
Location: 38.596766, -121.506987
The river-view restaurants within the marina -- great places to kick back on a deck post-ride -- are in the distance.
Bike trail heading out of downtown
Location: 38.592674, -121.506085
Head into downtown
Location: 38.587273, -121.504798
No traffic worries as you head into or out of downtown
Location: 38.582543, -121.504498
The bikers congregate in Old Sacramento. There are plenty of coffee and food options here.
The Capitol Building as seen from Tower Bridge
Location: 38.580161, -121.505785
Location: 38.581017, -121.507373
Old Sacramento riverfront
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