Sailor Bar Community Park

Sailor Bar Community Park is another access point to get to the American River. The 114 acre river bar park boasts a variety of different trails, a large manicured pond, a boat ramp, equestrian trails, a nature trail that leads to riparian (riverside) and historic locations where deer, coyotes, hawks and owls may be seen.

  • Easy to Locate? Yes
  • Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs must be on a leash.
  • Easy to Walk? Yes. Although the terrain is hilly, the trails are generally easy to walk.
  • Is there a Fee? Yes. You can get a day-pass at the kiosk by the front gate or get an annual pass which is good for all Sacramento County parks along the American River Parkway.
  • Are there Restrooms? Yes, especially near the pond and boat ramp areas.
  • Is there Accessible Parking? Yes.
  • Other Notes: I would suggest parking in or near the boat ramp off the Illinois Avenue access. This allows you access to several different trails — including the pond trail — and views of the river.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos.

In the summer of 2021, photographer Randy Finley got photos of a beaver on the shore of the river and a family of otters, so keep in mind that there’s something to see in each season.

The park’s history includes being settled by gold-seeking sailors during the Gold Rush era and gold mining from the 1850’s to the 1940s.

“…This park also has stark bluffs where miners used hydraulic hoses to scour out the gold. And the pond reportedly was dug to provide water for those hoses. Along the river, you can find grinding rocks in the hardpan, once probably used by the Nisenan to grind acorns… First with gold pans, followed by rockers, Long Toms, sluice boxes, and finally bucket line dredges, the area is thought to have unearthed $125-million in gold…”

The park is also purported to have its own ghost: the spirit of a drowned fisherman in wet clothes that sometimes approaches visitors and then vanishes. [The gif- is not MY image.]

How to Get There:

From Sacramento:
• Take Highway 50 East
• Exit on Exit 21 to Hazel Avenue
• From the off-ramp, turn LEFT onto Hazel Avenue
• From Hazel turn LEFT onto Winding Way
• Then turn LEFT onto Illinois Avenue and follow the signage

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist