I’ve been in search of decent-length bike paths close to home. Driving along Sunrise Boulevard between Grant Line Road and Highway 50 I kept spotting bikes along the canal. What is this path?! Where does it start? How far does it go? So many questions that I finally got around to exploring.
The other evening Wildlife 4-8 and I loaded up the road bikes and drove down Grant Line until we reached the canal. We parked in the residential area and rode our bikes to the path. There was an intimidating sign on the gate saying no trespassing, but there was an open gate. Plus, we’d seen bikes along this path before, so we went for it. The stretch between Grant Line and Florin Road isn’t well maintained with tire-popping thistle growing in the cracks along the path. However, passed Florin the path smoothed out and we no longer had to dodge thistle. Crossing Jackson Road we noticed a park and ride adjacent to the bike path and decided that was a better parking area than where we left the truck. Once we continued north on the path we saw a guy repairing a flat, asked him if he had all the tools he needed, and pedaled on our way. Five miles later we had to pull over so Wildlife 4-8 could repair a flat on his bike. I’m not sure where he picked up the sticker, but the moral of this paragraph is to bring spare tubes! Since we only had one spare tube and the sun was quickly sinking we turned back.
On our ride we only managed to explore 4.25 miles, for a total ride of 8.5 miles – here’s a link to the map of our extensive ride. Afterward, I was left with so many questions! How far does this path stretch in either direction? Can we ride all the way to the American River Parkway? Searching on Google Maps I found the path labeled Folsom South Canal. When I typed that into the main search engine, I was overwhelmed with information about this supposed mystery bike path. How is this a designated path and there were no signs at the various entrances we passed? As I mentioned earlier, I was a little worried riding on the path was considered trespassing, but that sign is just referring to the canal itself and the fenced off areas.
According to the Bureau of Reclamation the original plan was for the path to stretch from Nimbus Dam along the canal to about 20 miles southeast of Stockton, totaling 68.8 miles. Only the first two stretches have been completed for a total of 26.7 miles, with no current plans to construct the rest of the path. However, the last time this webpage was updated was 2009, so take that information with a grain of salt.
Trail Link has a good map of the entire completed stretch of path; you do have to sign up for a free account before you can view the map though.
I imagine this path being hot as a frying pan in the summer, but pleasant during the rest of the year. Plus there was some nice birding along the route with sightings of kingfishers, egrets, and swallow nests lining the overpasses. I’m excited to explore more of this path now that I know what it is. I’m still baffled by the lack of signage…I don’t need a full kiosk at every road crossing by any means, but a little sign with the name and management agency would be a nice spring board to more information. Or maybe they’re wanting to keep it as a hidden gem…oops!