American River Bend Park
How to Get There
From U.S. Highway 50 heading EAST, take the Bradshaw Road off-ramp. Turn right at Folsom Boulevard and follow the brown-and-white signs.
Turn left at the light on Rod Beaudry Drive, and drive down through the residential area to the main gate.
If there is no ranger at the gate, pay the entrance fee at the self-pay kiosk just past the gate. Rangers DO patrol the park, so avoid a ticket and pay the entrance fee. Yearly park passes are also available.
There is ample parking throughout the park. Some parking spots are closer to the river than others. There is also a special turn-around area for horse trailers.
Although there are miles of biking trails, bicyclists are warned to pay attention to the “nature area”signs that marks areas where NO BIKING is allowed.
The Hike Itself
The park spans 444 acres, so most of the time it doesn’t feel “crowded” even on busy days. There are manicured picnic areas with restrooms, but there are also lots of nature trails that run throughout the park and take you along the shoulder of the American River, through riparian habitat, and into oak woodlands and grassland areas. All of the trails are well-marked and well-maintained, and allow for easy walking, hiking, and bird-watching. The park is dog-friendly (all dogs must stay on leash), and is open from dawn until dusk. There is a nominal fee for parking.
Regular “guests” include deer, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, egrets and herons, coyotes, owls, Western Bluebirds, a variety of woodpeckers, Tree Swallows, hawks and vultures, osprey, jackrabbits and cottontails, moles, snakes, foxes and other critters… so keep your camera primed at all times. You never know what you’ll encounter.
In the winter months you can get photos of a large variety of mushrooms and fungi (in colors ranging from white to yellow, to brown, to red, purple and even black), and can also get some photos of ice (in the early morning hours), fog and heavy dew. In the heat of summer you’ll often find many species of dragonflies and a wide variety of interesting midge, mite and wasp galls on the oak and willow trees.
This park also acts as a kind of “giant nursery” in the spring for the native and endemic Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies and their caterpillars. In busy years, you can see hundreds of the caterpillars munching on pipevine, and watch as the butterflies flit through the air, mate and lay their eggs on the pipevine leaves and stems.
Tuleyome’s Executive Assistant and Certified Naturalist, Mary Hanson, often leads “crawls” (slow-walking photo tours for adults and seniors) through this park in the winter and springtime. Email her at email@example.com if you'd like to tag along.
- Fitness: easy
- Visible Signage:
- Mountain Biking:
- Overnight Camping: