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Oh, I don’t know… a few dozen? It’s hard to tell.
I’ve kayaked here, stand up paddle boarded here, biked, picnicked, and walked the trails here. I’ve held Meetups and other get togethers here. Each time, I take the obligatory photo, or ten (because it’s free, unless you pay for iCloud storage) and the view never gets old and it never looks the same.
Lake Natoma would have to be my favorite local spot in Sacramento.
So now, let me count the ways…
It’s close, just about 20 minutes east of downtown.
It has three entrances that are distinctly different, each one with its own unique view.
It’s calm. With no motorized boats allowed and a maximum speed of 5 mph, it’s literally the local Paddlers Paradise.
It’s beautiful, with a slender curve, and flanked with granite rock formations on the Negro Bar end.
The lake is roughly 5 miles long, and if you’re up for the challenge, you can paddle from one end to the other. Maybe team up with a buddy and leave a car at either end?
I’ve paddled from the Willow Creek launch ramp as far upstream as one could go. Well, as far up as I could legally go. You’ll see a sign that says you’ve reached Folsom Prison and that trespassers will be prosecuted. I guess beyond that there isn’t much more to see than the dam itself. I could be wrong, but I’m not willing to risk finding out.
The paddle out and back was about 6 miles. I got lazy on my way back and spent half of the journey laying out on the SUP, soaking up the sunshine, munching on some goodies, sometimes with my feet hanging off the edge, cooling the rest of me down. Hey, that’s the beauty of owning a stand up paddle board. You don’t see too many kayakers laying out on their ride, do you? Well, if you have, I can’t imagine it to be too comfortable. I’ll keep the contents of the naughty snack pack to myself. Let’s just say, it was well earned.
So what’s the deal if you rent a board with SUP California?
Access is easy with three launch areas on the lake, the closest, Willow Creek (about 0.3 miles) is under a minute away. From there it’s approximately 5 miles to paddle north east towards Negro Bar and back, or south west to Nimbus Flat and back. Negro Bar and Nimbus Flat both have well maintained picnic areas so don’t forget to pack the cooler.
And the sunscreen. It is Sacramento after all.
Me, caught social media-ing rather than paddling
My paddle pal, Kat, leading the way.