Dike 8

Technical Level:    Beginner
Strenuous Level:   Beginner
Altitude Gain:       Not much
The Ride:             14 miles one way, but it connects to Salmon Falls
                            for as much as 30 miles one way
Where:                 Folsom, near Dike 8 and the Folsom Dam
When:                  All year, but its really hot in the summer

To get There:

Map of Trail Head

From Sacramento:  Take Highway 50 East towards Lake Tahoe.  Get off on Folsom Blvd. in Folsom (which is the exit after Aerojet).  Turn left and head towards Folsom.  In about a mile and a half, turn right onto Blue Ravine Road.  Blue Ravine curves around the outside of Folsom for something like 5 miles.   Just past the intersection of Blue Ravine and Natoma Street (by the Albertson's) you will see Dike 8 on your left.  About 1/2 mile past that intersection and at the end of the dike, there is a dirt parking lot on the left side.  The trail starts by the "Beware of Mountain Lions" sign.  Note that the Blue Ravine turns into Greenvalley after Natoma Street, but you still go straight through that intersection.

The Ride

Well, you won't be riding this trail because bikes are simply not allowed.  Unfortunately, many cyclist still ride this trail.  Here's my soap box for the day:  I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of mountain bikers on this trail and about 5 horse riders (while I was hiking of course).  Either they need to open this trail to bikes and horses or just open it to bikes.  I know that the horse riders don't like this, but they just don't use the trail enough to justify having to themselves.  The problem is that a shared trail has to be a certain width, 60 inches I think.  This is a great single track trail and widening it would ruin it.  So what to do?  What about opening to horses every other week and to bikes on the opposing weeks.  I once heard that someone was doing that or going to do that in the Bay Area.  It might just be worth a try here.

Critical turns:  The trail is pretty well marked, but there are a few tricky spots.  From the trail head, go past the "Beware of Mountain Lions" sign and up the hill.  The trail is a continuance of the trail that crosses the Dike, so just follow the trail up and to the right.  Note that this trail actually starts at the Folsom Dam, but most people usually start at Dike 8 (the mile markers are off by about 2.5 miles if you start at Dike 8).  The only unmarked turn is about a half mile past the 9 mile marker (I suppose that would be around 9.5 miles).  Turn left at the unmarked intersection.  If you go straight, its no big deal, you will end up on Guadeloupe Drive in a subdivision -- turn around, and take the first right you come to (and don't miss it this time).  Be careful in this area, there are a lot of turns and its kinda easy to be misled.  After you pass a wooden trail marker sign there is a turn that isn't very clearly marked.  The trail T's, you want to turn right, and if you look there is a sign about 20 feet to your right marking the next turn.
The trail ends at about 16.5 miles according to the mile markers (or about 14 miles from Dike 8).  But you can easily connect to Sweetwater and then to Salmon Falls.  There is a bridge that is usually submerged that crosses the reservoir.  This fall (fall of '97) the bridge was above water for the first time in several years.  Apparently it was used in the early 1900's to get to a large apple orchid in the hills.  The bridge was replaced by the current Salmon Falls bridge sometime later.  The bridge is just a little bit past the end of Dike 8.  If you keep your eyes open toward the end of the trail and the bridge is above water, you will spot it easily.  The bridge crosses the reservoir and connects up to Salmon Falls just before the Y in Salmon Falls trail about 3 miles into the trail.  If the bridge is under water, you can still connect to Salmon Falls on dirt.  When you get to the end of Dike 8, you will come out in a small parking lot that is sometimes used as a boat launch.  There is a road to your right that goes to Salmon Falls Road.  If you want, you can take this short road and turn left on Salmon Falls Road and follow the road to the bridge to to connect to Salmon Falls trail or you can take Sweetwater which starts about a mile down Salmon Falls road in the small dirt parking area on the left.  Otherwise, you can connect up to Sweetwater on dirt.  You have to kinda trail blaze here.  There is a small ridge that is between the reservoir and Salmon Falls road.  Sweetwater starts at the intersection of this ridge and Salmon Falls Road.  So go in-between the reservoir and this little ridge, which shouldn't be a problem unless the lake is really high.  There is a small creek that cuts through the area.  Sweetwater starts just on the other side of this little creek right beside Salmon Falls Road.  Hopefully you can find it, otherwise just take the road.  You can take Sweetwater to Salmon Falls Trail and get about a 30 mile one way trip--thats a long hike!

The Trail

This is a really fun trail.  There aren't any mountains, or big climbs, or spectacular views, but I think the trail has personality.  It goes along the edge of Folsom Lake on state owned property.  The trail isn't too technical, but it is always turning and rolling.  There isn't a straight section on the trail!  The trail is fairly densely wooded and provides nice shade in the summer (which Salmon Falls doesn't).  The section past the 9 mile marker mentioned above is pretty nasty.  There is about a mile section of really rutty, bumpy trail totally in the open.  The trail gets a little thin, so you might think about turning around and going home.  Don't!  The trail goes up next to some houses, and then it goes back into the woods.  The section between there and the end is the best part of the trail.  It is well wooded, lightly traveled and lots of fun!  My favorite place on the trail is the pine forest.  About a mile before the end of the trail, you will come into a fairly densely packed pine forest, which is not characteristic of the area.  When I first saw this, I was baffled that there were so many pine trees growing in this area, until I noticed that they were growing in perfect rows.  The sign on the other side of the pine forest explains it.  These trees are a DNR experiment.  The trees were transplanted from different parts of California in the '70s and they are studying how they survive in the Sacramento climate.  Its still a cool little forest, so stop and take a break and have a snack!

Trail Details:


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