The Trail

How Long is a Bike Ride Around Folsom Lake?

3/15/2022 | By Johnny Cash Trail| Folsom Cycling

Cycling and Northern California go together like Johnny and June Cash. It's a pairing simply meant to be!

Whether you prefer to ride road or mountain, there's a bike route for everyone in Folsom. One of the most popular and scenic bike routes in Folsom is the ride around Folsom Lake. Strap on your helmet and follow along as we explore the bike trails in and around Folsom.

How Long is a Bike Ride Around Folsom Lake?

Planning a ride around Folsom Lake and wondering how much time you need to make the trip? It depends on how long of a trip you want to take.

From a 2.5-mile trip down the Johnny Cash Trail to a day-long 80-mile loop, there are multiple routes for a bike ride around Folsom Lake.

Folsom Prison Loop: Approx. 10-Miles

Image of 10-mile route mapped on Strava

Looking for a quick route near Folsom Lake?

This 10-mile loop is adjacent to the lake and takes you from the Rainbow Bridge to the Johnny Cash Bridge. You'll enjoy views of Folsom Lake, the American River, and of course, the Johnny Cash Trail and Folsom Prison.

How long is the ride?
According to Folsom Bike, this 10-mile loop is a short 45-minute ride.

American River to Folsom Lake: Approx. 20-Miles

Image of 20-mile route mapped on Strava

Strava user Aiden Laroco recorded this 20-mile "lunch ride" that began near the Nimbus Dam Recreation Area.

The route takes you adjacent to the American River up to Folsom Lake Crossing and then back down the American River bike trail (with a quick sprint on the Johnny Cash Trail).

How long is the ride?
Laroco clocked this 20-mile loop at 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Around Folsom Lake: Approx. 50-Miles

Image of 50-mile route mapped on Strava

This 50-mile loop around Folsom Lake begins at Folsom Bike Shop at the corner of Folsom-Auburn Road and Folsom Lake Crossing.

After wrapping around the bottom section of the Lake at a fairly consistent elevation, this route will soon have you climbing as you make your way up to El Dorado Hills onward through Cool to the Bowman area of Auburn. On your way back, you'll wrap back around the other side of Folsom Lake until you return to your starting point at Folsom Bike.

How long is the ride?
Strava user Josh Mott clocked this 50-mile ride at an impressive 3 hours, 33 minutes.

Folsom Lake Loop Extended: Approx. 80-Miles

Image of 80-mile route mapped on Strava

If the 50-mile bike ride around Folsom Lake isn't enough, this extended loop adds an additional 30-miles to your ride by winding you through Loomis and Lincoln before returning you to Folsom. It's an 80-mile loop with 7,176 elevation gain that will keep you peddling for most of the day. (You may want to pack some snacks.)

How long is the ride?
Strava user Josh Mott clocked this 80-mile road ride at 5 hours, 25 minutes.

Johnny Cash Trail: Approx. 2.5-miles

Looking for a quick family-friendly bike ride near Folsom Lake? The Johnny Cash Trail can either be a starting point for a longer ride along the American River Bike Trail or a destination in its own right.

The Johnny Cash Trail starts between Dan Russel Rodeo Arena and Folsom City Lion Park. From here, you can ride over Robbers Ravine Bridge, a wooden bridge that spans the historic ravine where stagecoach thieves once hid from the law.

The paved Class-I trail continues past Folsom Prison, where Johnny Cash recorded his Live at Folsom Prison album, and over the Johnny Cash Overpassing. The ride starts with views of the wooded area behind the City Park and Zoo and ends with a lovely view of Folsom Lake.

The Johnny Cash Trail's short distance and proximity to the zoo and park make it a popular destination for families. The trail is often used by parents pushing strollers, young children on bikes, and dogs on leashes.

If you're using the Johnny Cash Trail as a starting point for a longer ride around Folsom Lake, please be aware that you may be sharing this section of your ride with Folsom's families and some more inexperienced riders.

Headed to the Johnny Cash Trail? Learn more about where to park and what to see.

Folsom is home to nearly 50-miles of Class-I bike and pedestrian trails, and the roads in and around the City are a mecca for cyclists. Which bike ride around Folsom Lake will you choose?