Visitors know Folsom for the song made famous by the Man in Black, but no one sings the blues once they get to this historic little city at the western gateway to California Gold Country. Folsom makes a great launching pad for forays into El Dorado County wine country and the Apple Hill region, where many dog-friendly adventures await. But it also has much to offer DogTrekkers in its own right—including a new, 2.5-mile trail and sculpture park named for Johnny Cash.
The Johnny Cash Trail connects to an extensive network of paved paths shared by cyclists, joggers and dog-walkers, while just outside town, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, which includes the separate Lake Natoma, has its own sets of pathways along with miles of shoreline where Sparky can swim and fetch sticks to his heart’s content. And that’s not to mention the American River Bike Trail hugging the river of the same name for 32 miles, all the way to downtown Sacramento.
During warm weather, you and your fur buddy can enjoy patio dining (and people- and dog-watching) on historic Sutter Street, where restaurants, bars, boutiques, and nightlife take center stage. If walks aren’t enough, head to Fido Field, an off-leash dog park, unclip and watch your puppy go. A bonus activity for fall and winter: Head to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery (across the road from Lake Natoma) to watch tens of thousands of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout flopping their way up a fish ladder. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the visitor center, but they’re free to accompany you as you read interpretive signs on the riverside Discovery Trail.
If you’d like to spend the night, know that Folsom boasts four dog-friendly hotels—Residence Inn by Marriott, Lake Natoma Inn, Staybridge Suites and Larkspur Landing—where the two of you can cuddle up.