California is known for its natural beauty. While Southern California may be known for its beautiful beaches and even desert Northern California is more famous for its forests. Sacramento has some great natural wildlife areas with trees, wetlands, and a great diversity of nature. If you enjoy all this natural beauty then you will be happy to know that there are many great bike and walking or jogging trails that travel from Rancho Cordova, through Folsom, and all the way up to El Dorado Hills.
By far the most extensive part of this trail is in Folsom. While the trail starts in Rancho Cordova and ends in El Dorado Hills the greatest amount of the trail is in Folsom. The trail starts out at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center and travels along the river. It is a short distance until you reach Folsom. In Folsom you have many options where you can follow the trail. In all Folsom has over 30 miles of trails and is building more according to the Folsom Trails official site. You can even find a complete map of the trails in Folsom on their site. From the Folsom trails you can reach El Dorado Hills. El Dorado Hills has a small amount of path that you can explore.
The Folsom part of the trail is known as the Humbug Willow Creek Trail as most of the trail goes by the Humbug and Willow Creeks. What is interesting about this trail is no matter where in Folsom you are you are close to the trail. On the Folsom Trail you may encounter all kinds of wildlife from Turkey, Blue jays, snakes, feral cats, California quail, even the common unleashed dog. The wildlife varies, oak is a common site, blackberries are also around much of the trail and you can pick them if you like. There is even a section that is protected by law as some kind of plant is here that is home to some endangered bug. Much of the trail follows either the Humbug or the Willow Creek and there are many bridges to go under and over. According to signs on the trail the Blue Jay is supposed to be rare to see though not endangered but I see one almost every time I go.
The trail can be busy or very quiet its a hit or miss kind of thing. Sometimes people who work near the creek take their lunch and go walk along it, or even take a break along the path. I have been on the trail at all times of day, in all kinds of weather, of the year, and of the week and you never know when you will have lots of quit or lots of others on the trail with you.
You should be aware that pedestrians, and bicycles share the path. You should be courteous regardless of if you are a bike or a person. While Folsom has leash laws if you spend time here you may realize that most dog owners are unaware or do not care about these laws and this becomes especially obvious on these trails as many people take their dogs with them and most of the time they do not put them on leashes. If you are afraid of dogs or with a young child who is then you should proceed with caution. You should also be cautious of rattlesnakes. I have never seen a rattlesnake on the trail but there are warning signs posted and I have seen garden snakes and I have had rattlesnakes in my backyard in Folsom so it is reasonable to assume they could be out but I think because of the heavy traffic in the area they probably stay away from the trail itself.
If you do have certain destination in mind you should check he map beforehand because the trail is not one straight trail there are many places with forks in the road and you can go different ways. The many different forks in the road make the trail much more interesting to go on. You should explore the trail to see what parts you like best. Some people may like where the stream gets large near Rancho Cordova, while others may like the small streams. Some people might like the wetlands areas. Some people may enjoy the rolling hills on the way up to El Dorado Hills. Or you might even just want to stay close to your own home or work and not go far from your own home base.
Wherever you decide to come on the trail from, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, or El Dorado Hills you will be glad you did. Wherever you go is cooler then the surroundings thanks to the shade of the trees, dryer in the wet months because of the trees blocking the the rain, quieter because of the trees blocking the noise. I grew up in LA and am a city boy not the outdoors type but even I enjoy a trip along the trail. I get to be close to nature but not get down and dirty after all its a paved trail not dirt.