Sweetwater Trail

Technical Level: Intermediate
Strenuous Level:  Beginner plus
Altitude Gain: Minimal -- Up and Down a lot, but no major altitude change
The Ride: 3 miles one way 6 miles total
Where:  Salmon Falls Road north east of Folsom.
When: All year, but its really hot in the summer

 

To get There:

 Map marking Trail Head

From Sacramento:  Take Highway 50 East towards Lake Tahoe to Folsom Blvd.  Head North East on Folsom Blvd. towards Folsom for about a mile.  Turn Right (East) on Blue Ravine Road.  Continue on Blue Ravine several miles to Salmon Falls Road in Eldorado Hills (Note that Blue Ravine turns into GreenValley road at the Albertson's shopping center).  Salmon Falls road is the first left after Fransisco Road.  Take Salmon Falls road about 5 miles to the American River.  You will pass a sign on your left pointing to the Folsom Lake SRA, and immediately after this sign, you will see the bridge crossing the south fork of the American River.  Just before the bridge on the left is free parking in the dirt.  There are 3 paved parking lots near the bridge but they cost $2.  Sweetwater is on the opposite side of the river as  Salmon Falls Trail.   It is on the South West side of the bridge and starts from the Folsom Lake SRA parking lot, so you have to go back up the road a little from the free dirt parking lot (or you can park for $2 right next to the trail head).   The trail starts on the side of the parking lot furthest from the river.  There is a sign marking it.


The Ride

This ride makes a great after work ride!  It is fairly short, but very technical.  There are a couple parts that even good riders will be challenged by (I can uni it all, but barely).  The trail is well marked, there are a couple turns, but they have signs.  If you start from the side opposite the American River bridge, the first fork in the trail is unmarked (about 50 ft from the dirt parking area).  Go straight (don't turn left).  Riders coming from the bridge will see the dirt parking area at the end of the trail, so you won't turn the wrong way.
 

The Trail

It is pretty hilly, making it a pretty strenuous 6 miles.  This is probably my favorite quicky trail because it is has so much difficult material.  You will cross a small creek, ride over big nasty rocks, climb a couple really steep hills, and get to rocket down a few curvy down hills.  The ride comes out on Salmon falls road, about a mile south of the American River bridge.  There is a small parking area there, so you can start on the end opposite the bridge if you would like.  A good ride is starting on the end opposite the bridge and then do  Salmon Falls Trail so you get a long ride with some technical stuff as well.  Also, if you cross Sweetwater creek at the end of the trail, and then forge your way across the lake bed (that is usually dry in the summer) you will find a paved parking area.  It is probably only 1/4 mile from the end of Sweetwater.  This is another Folsom Lake recreation area, but is much less known and used than the one at the bridge.  At one end of the parking lot is a hiking only trail.  This has potential to be a great mountain biking trail, but it is currently only open to horses and hikers.  This trail goes all the way to dike 8!!  That means that if it were open to bikes, you could ride from Peninsula Park on Salmon Falls Trail to Sweetwater Trail then all the way to dike 8, which is 30 miles of dirt one way (and some incredible riding)!
 

Trail Details:

 Sunrise/Sunset
 Weather