Monday, December 5, 2011

East Lake Natoma Trail (dirt version)

Monday, December 5th

I'll guesstimate about 6 miles total from old Folsom to Willow Creek Boat Launch and back again.

The paved trail (which many think is the American River Bike Trail) is officially (but seldom called) the East Lake Natoma Trail. The paved version runs from old Folsom to the Nimbus Flat boat launch near Hazel Blvd. There is a dirt path that parallels the paved most of the way. Sometimes one has to walk along the paved trail or cross a bridge but most is refreshingly un-paved and full of interesting plants and wildlife.

You can find the very end of this trail by going around the northeast end of the Lake Natoma Inn (on Gold Lake). Don't try to park there unless you are a hotel guest. There is parking 2 blocks away in the (free) parking garage. At the end of the parking lot you'll see some park signs, and although you might be tempted to go to your left, go right instead to enjoy an exciting river-rock-enhanced downhill.

An alternative way to reach this trail is to walk down Gold Lake Drive (from the west, before you get to the hotel) and take some stairs down to the paved bike path,

then go a little bit to the right along the pavement to reach some more stairs down to the dirt trail.

Steps at l/hand arrow, rocky path at right. Parking lower left.

It was pretty cold (for the Central Valley) this morning, mid 30s. I wore my usual wool knit midweight shirt, jeans this time, and started with fleece gloves, a wool beanie, and an insulated vest. I shed all the extras after about a mile.

Frosted raspberries!

I met an interesting and opinionated man named Dan. He volunteers along this trail, picking up trash among other things. So if you've noticed a distinct lack of trash along this path, thank Dan if you see him.

Also, I urge you to consider some advocacy.  Here's a link to a Folsom Telegraph article that outlines a proposed development of part of the very path I walked today.
City to move ahead with waterfront improvement despite group's protest.
Lake Natoma project making waves

When I can find out more about this development project, I'll post more resources. It is The Lake Natoma Waterfront and Trail Access Enhancement Project. I suspect it is driven by Folsom city business interests and the Americans with Disabilities Act component is a convenient stick with which to drum up support and beat off any opposition. Can you tell I'm not a fan of the project?


Back to the beautiful trail.

I'll not subject you to all 50 pictures I took today. But here are some more.

Name that plant! It looks rather dilapidated, but the berries had been popular. (I have since been told it is Pokeweed. Ok for birds to eat, not so good for mammals)

Toyon. There were huge banks of bright red berries all over the place.

Tunnel O Raspberries! Yes, people (and bicycles) can fit through there.

Red squirrel

Grey squirrel


He obliged by 1) wearing red 2) cornering nicely 3) happening by when my camera was already out

Last month I decided to try for this shot across the lake. Very satisfying to get it!

Look closely, there is a rope swing on this tree.

A lot of the trail is built on hydraulic mining leftovers

I think this rock looks like a big fat fish. Don't you?

And one final reflection

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