A Little Advice on Exploring Folsom Lake’s Once-Hidden Treasures

erics photo 1

Mormon Island, Red Bank and Salmon Falls are notable communities which once stood in the area which was to become Folsom Lake.  Now, as the lake’s water level continues to drop, more and more remnants of these communities are being revealed.

Hundreds if not thousands of people have been visiting the lake as the news spread, and they are making some amazing discoveries.

salmon fall bridge 1


Tools, foundations of homes, a winery, a dairy, even the old Salmon Falls bridge, built in 1883 and appearing as structurally sound as ever are emerging for all to see and explore.

Actually,  just being out there walking along the lake itself can make for a beautiful day, but it is truly amazing to see what’s been hidden for so long.

If you go:

  • Please remember that everything you see is state park property and it is illegal to remove it.
  • There a parking fee at most access points. Be prepared. You don’t want to be the one who has to hold up traffic, back up or make a u-turn to escape.  State park info here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=500
  • If you park on the street and walk in, please be mindful of neighbors, parking restrictions and traffic.
  • The Dyke 8 entrance off of East Natoma and Briggs Ranch gets you close to the water but not close to the artifacts.
  • Brown’s Ravine seems to be the most popular parking spot and offers a short hike to the ruins and remnants
  • I have not been out to the Salmon Falls bridge, but am told that the Sweetwater Trail off of Salmon Falls Rd is best. Prepare for a hike:
  • Wear proper shoes and clothing. This isn’t a flip-flop trip.
  • The closer you get to the water, the greater the likelihood you’ll get muddy.
  • Bring water. You might find yourself drifting on a longer than planned hike. The lake water is untreated.
  • Do no harm and have fun!


salmon falls bridge 2



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Thanks to Chis V and Eric S for the outstanding photos!