As you cross the Rainbow Bridge - which spans the sparkling American River - or drive through the tree-lined shade of Folsom Boulevard, you can't help but be struck by an essential element of Folsom: It's pretty here. In fact, with its miles of beaches, unique bridge crossings and rolling hills, Folsom often reminds people of the San Francisco Bay Area. Located about 20 miles east of the city of Sacramento, in Sacramento County's easternmost corner, Folsom is indeed considered the gateway to the Sierra. The foothill county of El Dorado, famous for its wineries and apple orchards, is just minutes away; and South Lake Tahoe, with its gambling casinos, winter ski resorts and summer recreation, is only 90 miles to the east.
Folsom is bordered on the north by Folsom Lake, an 18,000-acre, man-made lake that draws more than four million visitors a year, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The town also is intersected by a wide stretch of the American River called Lake Natoma, which is ringed by walking, biking and equestrian trails. Both bodies of water are places to sail a boat, catch a fish or find a quiet, sandy spot to swim or sunbathe. Folsom has miles of preserved wetlands and creeks-also bordered by developed trails-and an abundance of beautiful views.
Originally a gold mining town, and the site of the first passenger rail system west of the Rockies, Folsom is steeped in a rich and colorful history. The Historic District - or Old Town as it is also called - consists of fine homes and historic landmarks from this era, as well as the city's original downtown, now an eclectic collection of antique stores, gift shops, art galleries and restaurants
Folsom's other attractions include an excellent public school system and an exceedingly low crime rate; in fact it is the lowest in all of Northern California, according to FBI and Department of Justice statistics. It has a stable local economy, with the city of Folsom maintaining balanced budgets, including surpluses and reserves, for the last four years. City leaders are also widely respected for allowing business and residential development to proceed, but in a controlled and thoughtful manner. All of these components have resulted in Folsom becoming the fifth fastest-growing city in the state, with the population increasing from approximately 12,000 in the early 1980s to nearly 48,000 today.