If your river recreation preferences lean toward the serene, you’ll find as much to enjoy on the American as the whitewater thrill-seekers. The numerous reservoirs that have been built for irrigation and energy generation also provide calm waters in the beauty of the Sierra Foothills. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Loon Lake. North on Highway 50, past Union Valley Reservoir, in the middle of the El Dorado National Forest, this reservoir has campgrounds with easy put-in. Enjoy floating, fishing, and relaxation.
Folsom Lake. The Folsom Lake Marina, about half-an-hour east of Sacramento, provides easy access to the water, facilities for equipment and instruction, lodging, camping, fishing, and much more. The Marina’s website has full information. Easy access to the lake from Auburn Folsom Road.
Just below Folsom Reservoir, where the three forks have become a single river, there is a nice beginner run. The area includes a bicycle path for those who want to stay onshore.
Lake Natoma. “Lake Natoma is one of the best-kept secrets of Folsom. Even though it truly is situated in the ‘heart’ of the city, it is also one of the most under-used facilities in the area.” (Taken from the MyFolsom.com website.) Easy access from Sacramento or Gold County, Lake Natoma also offers fishing and swimming.
Our Resources pages have extensive links to outfitters, guides, gear, lodging, and everything else you’ll need to have a great time on the American River.
Two excellent books that will give you more information on lake paddling in California are Up The Lake With A Paddle by William Van Der Ven and Easy Waters of California by Ann Dwyer.