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American River Bicycle Trail

The American River Bicycle Trail, also called the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, is a two-wheeled haven that winds along the picturesque American River. It is tucked away in the center of California’s capital city. This well-known trail, which spans 32 miles from Old Sacramento’s Discovery Park to the quaint town of Folsom, provides cyclists, joggers, and outdoor enthusiasts with an amazing journey through a variety of landscapes, from busy cities to serene woodlands. Explore the best of Sacramento’s outdoor adventures on the American River Bicycle Trail, which beckons with its rich history, breathtaking natural beauty, and plethora of recreational opportunities.

A Trip Through Time

Not only is the American River Bicycle Trail a route, but it’s a historical trip through time. The Sacramento Valley Railroad, one of the state’s first rail lines and a major factor in the Gold Rush and state development, is traced along the trail. You can actually ride this trail right through the heart of the Gold Rush country, and as you do so, you can feel the history of California all around you.

Old Sacramento’s cobblestone streets and 19th-century buildings set the scene for your ride as you start your adventure there. Before long, you’ll cross the famous Guy West Bridge, which provides breathtaking views of Lake Natoma’s serene waters and the Sacramento State University campus.

The Trail’s Varying Terrains

The variety of landscapes that the American River Bicycle Trail passes through is one of its most impressive features. This trail has something for everyone, whether you’re an urban explorer, a nature lover, or someone who just wants variety in their cycling experiences.

Urban Excursions: The trail winds through downtown Sacramento, beginning in Old Sacramento and providing views of the state capitol, notable buildings, and energetic urban life. You can enjoy the breeze and the energy of the city by taking a leisurely ride along the waterfront.

Natural Beauty: The serene splendor of the American River Parkway will envelop you as you depart from the bustling city. A tranquil background for your ride is created by towering trees, abundant vegetation, and the calming sound of the river. Watch out for the diverse range of birds, squirrels, and deer that inhabit the area.

Lake Adventures: Lake Natoma and Lake Folsom, two tranquil lakes that the trail skirts, each provide special recreational opportunities. Because of its placid waters, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing are popular activities on Lake Natoma. Conversely, Lake Folsom is a well-liked location for boating and picnics.

Historical Sites: There are a number of historical sites and markers along the route that provide information about the rich history of the area. Look for signs telling the stories of the early explorers, Gold Rush pioneers, and Native American tribes that once roamed these lands.

Pedal Options

The adaptability of the American River Bicycle Trail is one of its many wonderful features. The trail is suitable for a variety of riders, from experienced riders looking for a long ride to families looking for a leisurely outing.

Long-Distance Treks: Experienced riders can take on an amazing adventure by traveling the entire 32-mile length of the trail. Experience the trail’s shifting landscapes, which range from bustling cities to serene forests, and appreciate the variety of settings that make this trail so unique.

Shorter Rides: Families and novice riders don’t have to worry—the trail is also suitable for shorter rides. You can pick a particular trail segment based on your interests and level of fitness. A lot of riders choose the picturesque 10-mile round-trip route between Folsom and Nimbus Dam.

Mountain Biking: The American River Bicycle Trail links to a number of mountain biking trails within the American River Parkway, catering to those who have a strong desire for off-road experiences. For those who enjoy mountain biking, these trails offer a more challenging ride by taking you farther into the forest.

Leisure-Time Pursuits

The American River Bicycle Trail is definitely most popular for cycling, but there are lots of other fun things to do along the way as well:

Picnicking: There are lovely picnic areas scattered along a lot of the trail where you can stop, enjoy a meal, and take in the scenery.

Lake Fishing: There are great lake fishing opportunities in both Lake Natoma and Lake Folsom. Try your luck at catching trout, bass, and catfish by throwing in a line.

Birding: There are a ton of birding opportunities along the American River Parkway. This area is home to raptors, waterfowl, and migratory birds, so keep your binoculars handy and keep an eye out for them.

Renting a kayak or paddleboard will allow you to explore the quiet waters and undiscovered coves if you’re close to Lake Natoma.

Trail Running and Hiking: Although most people use the trail for cycling, trail running and hiking are also excellent uses for it. Put on your hiking or running shoes and explore the trail’s forested areas on foot.

Parkway of the American River

Part of the American River Parkway, a 23-mile greenbelt that runs from Sacramento to Folsom, is the American River Bicycle Trail. This verdant haven offers a vital natural corridor amid urban development, numerous outdoor recreation opportunities, and a crucial habitat for wildlife.

Numerous community events, such as charity walks, foot races, and nature programs, take place on the parkway. It promotes a strong bond with the natural world and a feeling of community by acting as a well-liked meeting spot for both Sacramento locals and tourists.


A testament to the beauty of diversity in nature and the power of outdoor exploration is the American River Bicycle Trail in Sacramento, California. Whether you’re an avid cyclist, a history nerd, or a nature lover, this trail offers a unique experience that highlights the area’s colorful urban life, breathtaking scenery, and rich history. The American River Bicycle Trail invites you to pedal your way through an ever-changing tapestry of outdoor adventures and natural wonders, from the bustling streets of Old Sacramento to the serene shores of Lake Folsom.

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