Stretched out in a warm sleeping bag, on the far-reaching, pebbled shores of the Folsom Lake, which both boppin' rivers and swaying highways meander on over to, one can't help but whistle Otis Redding's 1967 hit “(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay” as the crisp morning sun peaks out from behind the area's rolling hills, rugged canyons, upland plateaus, bluffs and broad river plains, until finally warming tents hunkered over by winter's morning dew.
Folsom Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the California State Park System, covering 10,000 surface acres of water when full and 75 miles of shoreline, with 15 miles extending up the North fork of the American River and about 10 1/2 miles up the South fork.
The water level, which normally varies from 466 feet in early summer to 426 feet in early winter, dictates the type of recreation and length of the season, peaks being between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
With four land-based camping options—including Peninsula Campground (100 sites) on the East side of the lake, 10 miles from Pilot Hill; and Beals Point Campground (49 sites) north of Dam Road and more than 95 miles of trails for hikers, cyclists, runners, and equestrians there are plenty of places waiting for you to catch that perfect 7:05 a.m. wave of sunshine.
Then, there is the secret seclusion of Avery Pond.
Located off of Rattlesnake Bar Road, the environmental campgrounds of Avery Pond offer the unique opportunity for more primitive, walk-in camping. The camps can be reached by boat or by way of riding (bicycle or horse) and hiking trails.
The two campsites provide space for up to eight people, and along with being expected to carry in their own water and carry out their own trash, adventurous spirits may not be accompanied by adventurous pups nor can they start any fires.
The nearest parking lot to these pristine grounds is 1.1 miles away at the Rattlesnake Bar Road, thus cutting off both noise and light pollution so that every change of the star-studded midnight sky from ruby red to burning orange then tender pink and finally to morning's sea-foam blue can be fully appreciated.
This coming weekend, leave the frenzy of weekday life, the alarm clocks and deadlines, the excuse of “no time” and delusive lunch time and watch the time roll away, sittin' on the beach of a lake whose shores gently crash with those legendary golden California waves as they crest over the top of the neighboring Sierra Nevada foothills before reaching the foot of your tent, gently turning yesterday's night into tomorrow's day.