The Trail

8 Fun Facts About Folsom Lake

8/16/2023 | By Johnny Cash Trail| Folsom Lake

If you follow the Johnny Cash Trail across rolling grassy hills up to its northeastern terminus, across the Johnny Cash Bridge, and a short jaunt up the connecting American River Bike Trail, you'll find sweeping views of the beautiful Folsom Lake. The lake, hemmed in by a 9-mile concrete dam, is the home to cherished summer memories for local hikers, cyclists, boaters, fishing enthusiasts, and families. Dive into our community's history with these fun facts about Folsom Lake.

Discover Folsom Lake Trivia With These FAQs

Is Folsom Lake Man Made?

Folsom Lake is a manmade reservoir created by Folsom Dam, which was built in 1955. Folsom Dam is 9 miles long and 340 feet high. The dam helps provide water and electrical power to the region, but its primary purpose is to help control flooding of the American River. In February 1986, Folsom Dam prevented an estimated $4.7 billion in flood damages.

Is There A Town Under Folsom Lake?

When Folsom Dam was created in the 1850s, a century-old Gold Rush Ghost Town was submerged beneath the lake. The town, called Mormon Island, was once a mining town; in 1853, it sported a population of 2,500 people. In 1856 a fire destroyed Mormon Island, and it was never rebuilt. When lake levels are low (such as during the drought of 2013), spectral remnants of the town can be seen in the form of old stone foundations.

How Deep is Folsom Lake?

Folsom Lake is 276 feet deep at its deepest point. When completely full, the water level is 466 feet in elevation, known as “Full Pool Level.” When full, Folsom Lake holds over 1 million acre-feet of water. That's enough water to cover the State of Rhode Island with a foot and a half of water.

How Big is Folsom Lake?

Folsom Lake is 9 miles long and, when full, features 75 miles of shoreline. The lake extends roughly 15 miles up the North Fork of the American River and 10 and a half miles up the South Fork.

How Did Folsom Lake Get Its Name?

Folsom Lake and the city of Folsom are named for Captain Joseph Libbey Folsom. Captain Folsom purchased 35,000 acres of land that would become the home of a town he called Granite City. After his death in 1855, the town's name was officially changed to Folsom.

How Cold is Folsom Lake?

The average summertime surface water temperature in Folsom Lake is 75 degrees, but the lake may be colder than average this year, especially in deeper water. Folsom Lake is fed by the American River, and with snowmelt at record levels, the water may be much chillier than normal. Cold water can be shocking and drain your body heat which can be dangerous even for strong swimmers, so don't forget to throw your life jacket in the car and exercise caution when you head out to the lake.

Can You Swim in Folsom Lake?

Folsom Lake is a great spot for a day at the beach and a swim at a designated beach like Granite Bay. When you visit, keep some basic water safety rules in mind to enjoy your summertime fun safely. Only swim at designated beaches, ideally where a lifeguard is on duty. Wear a life jacket and never swim alone.

What Kinds of Fish are in Folsom Lake?

Folsom Lake sports species like trout, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, and kokanee salmon. If you're interested in fishing in Folsom, be sure you have a valid California fishing license.

Ready to soak in the beauty of Folsom Lake with a day of fishing, hiking, or a weekend camping trip in Folsom? Plan your visit to this beautiful local landmark.