Inside Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in Granite Bay are a series of fun-to-explore trails. Easy to find and navigate, they offer a great way for beginners to experience the thrill of mountain biking. The main trail, recently refurbished and smoothed with decomposed granite, is a good beginner loop. From the parking lot, head north on the trail, then southeast on the New Bench Climb, north on the Center Trail to Dotons Point Trail, which loops around Dotons Point and catches up again with the Granite Bay Trail.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate, with about 400 feet of climbing
Parking: Granite Bay Beach at Folsom Lake ($12 fee). Some riders prefer to park for free at or near Cavitt Junior High School, then ride about 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
Restrooms: 5% boat ramp at Granite Bay Main Beach and Beeks Bight parking lot on Park Road
Beware: The foothills are home to rattlesnakes and poison oak; be on the lookout to avoid both. Some portions of the trail have loose gravel, which can be slippery on certain turns; reduce your speed. Because of its popularity with many users, proper etiquette may not always be followed. Watch for horses and hikers.
What to see and do: You’ll get stunning views of Folsom Lake and wildflowers in the spring. When you’re ready for a break, hit Mountain Mike’s for pizza and cold beverages.
Hot tip: On Sundays, Hammerin’ Wheels Mountain Bike Club meets up at 10 a.m. across the street from Cavitt Junior High School for Sunday Funday rides designed for intermediate to advanced-level bikers.