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.

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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

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