Forgotten waterways

The North Fork of the American River, now part of Folsom Lake, looks much different these days than it did prior to 1955. Now bulldozed, covered with rocks and gravel, flooded or otherwise forgotten were once homestead cabins, farms, vineyards, and mines. All of these required water, and the North Fork Ditch helped move water from the city of Auburn […]

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To wander

Yesterday we spent a few hours blissfully unaware of the national chaos as we explored an unfamiliar portion of Folsom Lake shoreline. The area of the North Fork between Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Bar has always been a sort of black hole to me — with small ranches and multimillion-dollar mansions lining this portion of the lake, it didn’t seem […]

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Rattlesnake Bridge

I’ve known about the remains of the Rattlesnake Bar Bridge at Folsom Lake for several years; this month I was finally able to go out and see it for myself. Before Folsom Dam was built in 1955, quite a number of small communities and isolated dwellings — not to mention mining concerns — dotted both sides of the American River. […]

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Alien worlds

There’s a weird sort of beauty about Folsom Lake in the winter, when the water levels drop. It’s possible to walk around on the lake bottom in areas that would normally be invisible, under several feet of water, and some of the landscape is a bit otherworldly. I’ve been out to the Rattlesnake Bar area many times in the past, […]

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Sweetwater diversion

With the Folsom Lake water levels so low at this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see more old structures appearing along the shore. At Sweetwater Creek the difference between now and my previous visit last spring is pretty dramatic. I was pleased to find evidence of historic water diversion during my hike, but it was also fun comparing […]

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The river returns

If you’d like to get at least some hint of what the American River looked like prior to the building of Folsom Dam, try hiking the shore in the area between Sweetwater Creek and the New Salmon Falls Bridge (built in 1953) during the late fall/early winter season. The area is certainly more picturesque in the springtime; but if you […]

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