Nimbus Flat State Recreation Area

The recreation area is adjacent to the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on the American River and runs alongside the man-made Lake Natoma.

According to Recreation.gov: “Recreation at Lake Natoma is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation under agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. The Lake was created by Nimbus Dam across the American River. Lake Natoma is a regulating reservoir for releases from Folsom Lake. The Dam and Lake are features of the Central Valley project…”

  • Easy to Locate? Yes
  • Pet Friendly? Sort of. You can have your pets on a leash along the trails and walkways
  • Easy to Walk? Yes.
  • Is there a Fee? Yes. $10 day use fee
  • Are there Restrooms? Yes
  • Is there Accessible Parking? Yes.
  • Other Notes: Facilities include one group campground, 11 miles of paved bicycle trails, 6 miles of multi-use trails and excellent year-round bank or boat fishing. Two launch ramps provide continuous boat launching access year-round, in addition to one car-top boat launch area. Motorized boating is also allowed and there is a 5 mph speed limit on the entire lake. Good fishing for both cold and warm water species including rainbow trout, brown trout, black bass, crappie and bluegill.

Lake Natoma is a small lake along the lower American River, between Folsom and Nimbus Dams in Sacramento County. The lake has 500 surface acres of water.

There are paved trails for jogging and bicycling, and unpaved trails for hikers and equestrians. A dense 14 mile long riparian ecosystem encircles the lake. Although fishing is a big pastime here, it’s generally “catch and release” because there is a high concentration of mercury in the fish here.

How to Get to the Rec Area:

Located at:
1901 Hazel Ave.
Gold River, CA 95670

  • From Sacramento
  • Take Highway 50 East to Hazel Ave in Rancho Cordova.
  • Take Exit 21 from US-50 E
  • Use the middle lane to turn LEFT onto Hazel Ave
  • Turn RIGHT into the driveway and parking lot of the rec area
  • If you’ve gotten to the Sac State Aquatic Center, you’ve gone too far.

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist