Granite Bay Mountain Bike

Destination: Granite Bay Trail System
Mileage: 5ish miles
Trailhead: Folsom Lake SRA – Granite Bay Staging Area ($12 day pass)
Elevation: 436 to 607 feet

“There’s a rattlesnake on the trail up here!” Thankfully I remembered my one-finger breaking technique and avoided flipping over my handle bars in a sudden stop. Sure, snakes aren’t popular with most folks, but when Aspen is hot on my tail, rattle or no, any snake is a red alert. I took Aspen by the collar and the kindly mountain biker gave the snake some gentle encouragement with a long stick to get off the trail. Really we weren’t in any danger as the snake had a mouth-full of mouse, which was a pretty sweet wildlife sighting.

The criss-crossing Granite Bay Trail System in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is multi-use – and I’m not just talking about mountain bikers and wildlife. I found this ride on MTBProject – Granite Bay Trail. If you compare their map to mine, you’ll see I didn’t find the exact route, but A) there are so many trails to choose from with little to no signage and B) it was an adventure! If I rode here all the time it would be fun to get to know the various trials and create my own routes.

Granite Bay ride mapped on Endomondo

Map tracked on Endomondo.

The only trailhead instructions I could find online were, “The trail is easily visible at the north end of the parking lot.” Well the trail below is easily visible, let’s give that a try. I was glad it was a weekday or else I would have ridden through a bunch of picnics. I’m going to amend those directions to say, the trail is easily visible from the northwest end of the boat launch parking lot, Park Road is in sight of the trail, and roughly parallels it until the trail crosses over the road, then pedal east.

Granite Bay Trail from the boat launch parking

One of the trails from the boat launch parking.

This trail is a nice mix for beginners and intermediate riders, with single track, some technical sections mixed in, and a little elevation gain and loss.

Technical section

A technical section – at least for me!

A few vantage points afford sweeping views of parched Folsom Lake.

View of Folsom

View of Folsom “Lake.”

My favorite section traveled through a foothill-vegetation tunnel. It was single track, mostly fluid dirt, and shaded – basically smooth sailing for this newbie. However, about 100 yards up the trail from where we stopped for the photo below is where our rattlesnake encounter was, just when I was feeling comfortable… As I mentioned before this is a multi-use trail; be on the look out for horses, hikers, and wildlife. I kept Aspen behind me while riding in case we crossed paths with any other folks. Or snakes…

Foothill tunnel

In the foothill tunnel.

Pedal On,


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