Folsom, CA, hosts a myriad of exciting events and activities to enjoy during the summer months. Less than 40 miles from Sutter's Mill, where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848, Folsom owns a rich history of stories from the Gold Rush back to the Nisenan tribe that initially called the land home. In addition, the city is also home to numerous bike and walking trails, from paths spanning the lake and beyond to connecting walkways weaving in and out of Folsom's downtown, offering dining, shopping, and nightlife. Regardless of what type of vacation you're trying to have, it will be one to remember.
Sutter Street, Folsom Historic District
Also known as the “Heart of Folsom,” Sutter Street is filled with historic storefronts reminiscent of the 1850s when Pony Express and gold prospectors roamed the streets. More than 80 businesses in the area sell items from local antiques to fabulous meals from simple to fine dining. There is also live theatre, museums, and art galleries to enjoy if you want to get out of the sun. You can enjoy a lakefront stay at Lake Natoma Inn, a 138-room, full-service hotel, just a short trip from the extensive nightlife options from clubs to laid-back taverns and pubs. If you're lucky, you might be able to catch the local Saturday farmer's market that pops up on Sutter Street throughout the year. Get ready to immerse yourself in the community and history of downtown Folsom.
Learn more about it here.
Johnny Cash Trail
From Folsom Lake, you can take the Johnny Cash Bridge, and you're on the Johhny Cash Trail! This 2.75 trail is a Class 1 bike and pedestrian trail that travels west to the Folsom Historic District and east toward the Folsom Lake Crossing Trail. During your walk, you can also enjoy the embodiment of the Man in Black's spirit the whole way, with larger than life art installations coming in the near future. The trail also connects to the American River Trail, one of the top bike tracks in the nation. Also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, the area is trekked by over 5 million people annually.
Explore the trail here.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Spanning over 19,000 acres, Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma and their neighbor, the American River, provide tons of waterfront space to enjoy on hot summer days. On the western shores are the Granite Bay and Beal's Point sites that offer day use of the area for swimming and camping, with over 60 locations available. There is also space to enjoy fishing, hiking, and boating around the area as well. Additionally, with all the space and parking around the lake, the area rarely feels crowded so you can have a stress-free day in the sun and water.
Learn more information about it here.
Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary
For all our animal lovers, the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is a perfect place to spend the day learning about local animal residents, including bears, wolf-hybrids, monkeys, birds, raptors, foxes, cougars, reptiles, insects, and much more. The zoo provides scenic pathways through their local wooded landscape, offering you the story and history of each animal along the way. You can even take a ride on their Folsom Valley Railway that takes you through the Folsom City Lions Park, which sports a playground, baseball field, pavilion, and butterfly garden. Even when you're done visiting the animals, there's even more nature waiting outside their door. Their summer schedule runs park hours from 9 am - 3 pm until September 30th.
Find more information about the zoo here.
Folsom History Museum
Funded by the Folsom Historical Society (FHS), the Folsom History Museum opened its doors 47 years ago in 1976. The museum has a collection featuring local history from the Nisenan tribe to the 1960s through their permanent exhibit, “The History of Innovation.” You can also peek at their newest exhibition, “Go Bulldogs: Celebrating 100 years of Folsom High.” They also focus on the development of the Gold Rush, railroads, and other pioneer practices that made the area what it is today. After you finish looking through Folsom's history, you can also stroll over to Pioneer Village, an outdoor museum and maker space including gold panning and a working blacksmith forge. You can also explore their miner's cabin, a Southern Pacific Railroad caboose, and a walk through the historic Ashland Station.
Check the current exhibits they're running here.
Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park
Before the Folsom Powerhouse, the city was powered using local steam engines placed within a few miles of the location that needed electricity. Eventually, in 1895, the building came to be, and using the American River's flow, it powered Sacramento with 11,000 volts of hydroelectric power. This power transfer was the first instance of significant electrical power being generated and economically "shipped" to where it could be used. Today the powerhouse looks as much as it did in 1895, where you can view its old hydroelectric facilities and the turbines used to produce electricity.
Get more information about the park here.
Folsom, CA, is a vibrant destination that seamlessly blends captivating history, picturesque landscapes, and a wealth of engaging activities. From its Gold Rush heritage to the intriguing stories of the Nisenan tribe, Folsom offers a rich historical tapestry to explore. Visitors can immerse themselves in the charm of the Folsom Historic District, with its historic storefronts and vibrant arts scene. The city also beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its extensive trail networks, including the famous Johnny Cash Trail and the renowned American River Trail. Folsom Lake State Recreation Area provides ample opportunities for relaxation and recreation along the scenic waterfront. While Animal lovers can find delight in the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary, history buffs can delve into the fascinating exhibits of the Folsom History Museum. For your last stop, the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park stands as a testament to the region's innovative past. With its diverse offerings, Folsom promises a memorable experience for every visitor, blending the allure of the outdoors with captivating history and cultural exploration.