Rolling on California’s American River Parkway

Rolling from downtown Sacramento to Folsom, CA, the American River Parkway trail, or the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, covers 32 miles and makes a great choice for a bike overnight.

Bicycle Adventurer: Eric Buell

When: July 12–13, 2016

Accommodations: Beals Point Campground (open year round) at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

Distance: Eric rode out and back for a total of 66 miles over two days.

Another Map: In addition to the Google map below, here's a great map of the American River Parkway as a .pdf file

Bonus tip for this adventure: 

  • Great ride along a bike path.
  • The whole path is within the American River Parkway.
  • This park preserves the natural area around the Lower American River

Day One

I hit the paved American River Bike trail early and followed the American River northwest toward Folsom Lake, 32 miles away. It was a really nice ride along the river. I took my time and stopped just to enjoy this protected natural resource. I found the trail mostly flat until I got to Folsom: the last couple miles of the trail involve some climbing. 

Once I set up camp, I was hungry and rode down to Folsom for a bite. Once back at camp, I grabbed my camera and hiked along the lake until sunset. I got some great sunset photos of the lake. And at this point, I was pretty tired, so I went to bed pretty early.

Day Two

I got up early, around 5:00 am, and rode down to the 7-Eleven store for coffee and breakfast. I then rode up to the Oak Shores area on Folsom Lake to explore. Oak Shores is a really nice shore access and picnic spot. I locked up the bike and explored some of the hiking trails in this area. After about an hour, I rode back down to the campsite and packed up. My ride down toward Sacramento was much easier and I didn't stop as much, as I was trying to beat the heat.



It was a great trip and now I am hooked on bike camping!

Your favorite local bike shop? Practical Cycle, “A bike shop for the rest of us.” 114 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Bike overnight tips and tricks? 

This is a great trip for beginners:

  • No traffic to compete with.
  • Plenty of bike shops along the way.
  • And less than a mile away from the campsite, you'll find restaurants and convenience stores so you won’t have to worry about cooking.

__

HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

3 responses so far ↓

George Solomon - Oct 16, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Hello There,

Nice writeup on your overnight trip. I would like to try your trip to test out some equipment and mostly to have fun. However, I would be driving from Monterey. Are there safe places to park overnight?

Thanks,
George S

Gary Amado - Dec 7, 2016 at 3:24 PM

The park area at the beginning of the trail is not a safe place to park overnight. But within a short riding distance of there near downtown Sacramento are a couple of motel/hotels that should be safe in their parking lots. You might ask for permission.

James - Dec 16, 2016 at 10:28 AM

Avoid the trailhead parking by riding Amtrak or Sac RT (light rail or bus) to train station near trail head

Leave a Comment

Leave this field empty