Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
115.00 ft (35.05 m)
Trail type
1.90 mi (3.06 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The historic Mormon Island site is a former mining and farming town which was abandoned and left underwater following the completion of the Folsom Dam which led to lake levels submerging the area.

Inundated by the waters of Folsom Lake in 1955, the remains of Mormon Island remained underwater until persistent drought conditions revealed some of the town's foundations and materials for the first time around 2007. Ongoing drought in California has made increasingly visible the town's remains. Those looking for a more thorough history of Mormon Island can find it here.

Reaching the location of the townsite requires a 1 mile hike from the nearest parking area. With multiple trails throughout this portion of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, the most direct route is to follow the path along the gravel lakeshore. Only during times of drought will the actual townsite be accessible. The rest of the time the town remains bound by the lake, though it's possible to see parts of the townsite and foundations from the shore. The lakeshore path is primitive, with no signs or markings. A couple small offshore islands mark the site, though this may change depending on water levels. From the site of Mormon Island, a well-traveled dirt single track in the trees and a bit above the lake's edge allows hikers to vary their terrain and make a loop of the path to the townsite.

Be careful for cyclists here, as the rolling trails give way to speeding mountain bikers.

Head back in the direction of the parking lot. While nice for walking, there aren't many notable features in this section of the Recreation Area.

A day use fee of $10 is required to park at the trailhead. The recreation is open daily from 7am to 10pm.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Unique destination. Access to a network of trails.


Water level often prohibits site access.

Trailhead Elevation

450.00 ft (137.16 m)

Highest point

530.00 ft (161.54 m)


Big vistas
Geologically significant
Family friendly
Historically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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