Heading to the Johnny Cash Trail? Here’s the info you need to find parking, the trail itself, and plenty of interesting amenities along the way. You may not realize it, but the trail is only the beginning. There’s enough to do and see along the way to keep you busy for an entire day.
Where is the Johnny Cash Trail?
The Johnny Cash Trail is located in Folsom, CA. The trail begins at 50 E. Natoma Street, near the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary, Public Library, Lion’s Park, City Hall, and Dan Russell Rodeo Arena.
The Johnny Cash Trail runs behind the City Hall campus, taking visitors on a scenic path with views of the American River and across the newly constructed Robbers’ Ravine Bridge. Trail goers then traverse safely under Prison Road through a newly constructed tunnel, and then parallel to E. Natoma Street up towards Folsom Crossing and over the Johnny Cash Overcrossing Bridge near Folsom Lake.
The trail itself is a Class I paved multi-use bike trail that welcomes cyclists, runners, joggers, and walkers. The Johnny Cash Trail connects the existing Class I trail at Historic Downtown Folsom and the popular, Class II Folsom Lake Crossing Trail.
Where to Park at the Johnny Cash Trail
The easiest place to park to get to the Johnny Cash Trail is near the Folsom Public Library and Zoo Sanctuary or the Dan Russell Rodeo Arena, where parking is ample and access to the trail is easy.
From this starting point, you could travel northeast on the trail up past Folsom Prison to get to the Johnny Cash Overcrossing Bridge near Folsom Lake, or you could travel southwest to connect to the Class I trail in Historic Downtown Folsom.
Coming Soon: Additional Trail Parking
In the future, the Johnny Cash Legacy Park will become another option for parking and access to the trail at the corner of Folsom Crossing and E. Natoma Street. When completed, the Legacy Park will provide an additional 25 parking spaces - 2 ADA accessible - as well as a bus loading zone and bike racks.
What to See and Do Along the Johnny Cash Trail
Once you’ve arrived to the trail, there’s plenty to see and do! From breathtaking views of the American River, Folsom Lake, and historic woodland areas that were previously unaccessible, to family-friendly stops and historic sites, there are numerous ways to spend the day along the Johnny Cash Trail.
Sites of interest include:
Robbers’ Ravine Bridge
In the 1800s, Robbers’ Ravine served as a hideout for stagecoach robbing outlaws trying to avoid the law. This beautiful wooded area was previously inaccessible. Today, a 160- foot long wooden bridge spans the ravine and offers trail goers expansive views of the American River. The Robbers’ Ravine Bridge, installed as part of the second-phase of the Johnny Cash Trail project, offers trail goers heretofore unseen views of the American River, Folsom Prison, and a glimpse into the historic woodland ravine located 50-feet below.
Johnny Cash Trail Overcrossing Bridge
A bike/ pedestrian overcrossing safely takes trail goers soaring above four lanes of traffic on Folsom Lake Crossing. The Johnny Cash Trail Overcrossing is a familiar site to Folsom residents and visitors. A sturdy metal walkway is connected by two distinctive towers. The overcrossing bridge was inspired by the architecture of Folsom Prison and was constructed out of sturdy corten-steel and reclaimed/ recycled concrete.
Depending on the season, you may see the overcrossing bridge proudly displaying a rotating display of flags to celebrate important holidays or events.
Johnny Cash Trail Overcrossing Bridge image courtesy of Coruscating Images
Near the Johnny Cash Trail Overcrossing Bridge at the corner of Folsom Crossing and E. Natoma Street, you can find the Donor Wall along the Johnny Cash Trail. The Donor Wall was designed and fabricated by trail artist Adan Romo to celebrate the enthusiastic supporters of the Johnny Cash Trail project.
Fans of Cash and Folsom have made contributions that will help bring the larger-than-life art installations to the trail, and their names and messages have been incorporated as a forever part of the trail on the Donor Wall. Romo designed the wall out of the same corten-steel material that is used on the nearby overcrossing bridge; the material will also be featured on some of the sculptures to be installed along the trail.
Folsom Prison Museum
History buff? Cash fan? Either way, you won’t be disappointed by a visit to the Folsom Prison Museum. And with the completion of the second phase of the trail, now you can ride your bike right up to the museum and explore the odd(ities) and ends on display.
The prison museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and admission is $2.00 (cash only) for adults ages 12 and older. Kids 12 and under are free, although the subject matter may not be appropriate for all ages: museum artifacts include inmate manufactured weapons and a hemp hangman’s noose.
Historic Folsom District
From the southern portion of the Johnny Cash Trail, near the City of Folsom Zoo, Library, and Lion’s Park, the newly constructed section of trail will easily connect you to the Historic Folsom District. Historic Folsom features museums, art galleries, antique and boutique shopping, taverns, wine bars, live theater and nightclubs. Day or night, you’re sure to find something to see, eat, or do in Historic Folsom.
The American River Bike Trail path, a 33 mile trail that connects to downtown Sacramento, starts in Historic Folsom. Not up for a trip that far? Head north on the American River Bike Trail and then east on Folsom Lake Crossing, returning southwest on East Natoma Street - back to where you started on the Johnny Cash Trail. The entire circular route will run approximately 6 miles total.
Folsom City Lion’s Park and Zoo Sanctuary
Located at Natoma and Stafford Streets near City Hall, Folsom City Lion’s Park is a family-friendly destination for residents and visitors alike. The park is surrounded by the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary, Folsom Public Library, and Rodeo Park. Park amenities include multiple play structures and play areas, large grassy areas, picnic tables, barbeques, and a pavilion. Bring your little ones for a play-day at the park, a visit to the zoo, and a ride on the Folsom Valley Railway - a miniature scale replica steam engine that operates on a ⅘ mile track.
Coming Soon: Legacy Park and Art Installation
The Johnny Cash Trail is more than a Class I bike trail that runs across Folsom Prison. It’s also the future site of the Johnny Cash Art Trail: a world-class public art installation honoring the legacy of Cash in Folsom.
Eight larger-than-life sculptures will soon be installed along the trail, including a 40-foot tall statue of Cash in the future Legacy Park and amphitheatre. In addition, an interactive smart-phone app will allow trail visitors self-guided tours and bring the voice and music of Johnny Cash into the experience.
Fundraising is currently underway to bring the first of sculptures, Cash’s Pick by artist Adan Romo, to the trail.
When the art installation is complete, there will be even more to see and do along the Johnny Cash Trail in Folsom.
QUIZ: Which Johnny Cash Tune is Your Theme Song?
Take this quiz to find out which Johnny Cash tune is your theme song.
But for now, there’s plenty to keep anyone interested and engaged along one of the most historical and visually interesting segments of multi-use bike trails on the West Coast. Come on out to the trail, be it for a short walk or ride into Historic Folsom for lunch, a ride up to the Prison Museum to immerse yourself in history, or to connect for a longer ride on the American River Trail to Sacramento or El Dorado. Along the way you can stop at the park, visit the zoo, ride the train, or take in one of the many other interesting events or destinations in Folsom.
We’ll see you out on the trail!