Watt Avenue Access, American River

This is another way to access a different part of the American River in Sacramento. The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Parking fees are collected year-round, even on special event days and on weekends.

  • Easy to Locate? Yes
  • Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs MUST be on a leash.
  • Easy to Walk? Yes. Paved walkways and well-maintained trails. Zero to very little elevation gain.
  • 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? Not really. Porta-potties occasionally.
  • Is there Accessible Parking? Yes.
  • Other Notes: There are homeless camps close to the water when the river is low.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location.

You can walks parts of the trail or do the entire loop: Watt Avenue Bridge to Guy West Bridge, a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail. The trail has a smooth paved surface and is typically at least eight feet wide. There are offshoot dirt trails that may be narrower and steeper. It is estimated to be mostly gentle, all 6% or less.

You enter the park from La Riviera Drive. Pay the day-use fee at the kiosk (or use your annual pass) and then drive forward. You can’t see where you’re going for a moment, because there is a very steep drop from the payment kiosk down to the riverside parking area. It looks like you’re driving off a cliff for a minute. Drive carefully, and park then in designated places. Be careful not to block the boat launch ramp.

As mentioned, there’s a paved trail that runs alongside the oak and cottonwood tree forested riparian strip used by hikers, bikers and equestrians (on top of a levee). But there is also a narrow dirt footpath that runs closer to the riverside and even provides access to shallow beaches and the water.

How to Get to the Park:

  • From U.S. Highway 50
  • Take the Watt Avenue North Exit
  • Exit at La Riviera Drive.
  • Make a LEFT at the end of the La Riviera ramp,
  • and then make a RIGHT into the park’s gates.

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist