When the Folsom lake water elevation gets low enough (water elevation below 375 feet, or so), you can see remnants of Mormon Island, the once thriving gold mining town that was covered with water when the Folsom Dam was built in the 1950s.
To get to the area, go to the Brown’s Ravine entrance to Folsom lake (there will be a fee for entry). Drive past the Folsom Lake Marina and park at Hobie Cove. Walk westward toward the dam, and you’ll find foundations and tools from the old buried town. (Make sure kids don’t touch or remove the tools; it’s illegal to remove the historical artifacts from the state park.)
The following pictures were taken in November, 2013, when the water elevation was 372 feet.
After parking at Hobie Cove, we tried walking west, but the ground was too muddy. We had to walk South to find a way to cross the water and get to the foundations.
The old structures are in between the Folsom Lake Marina and the Folsom Dam.
When the water elevation is around 375, the best way to get to the historical buildings are up by the Folsom Lake Marina.
When the water is this low, the Folsom Lake Marina parking lot is closed–which is why people need to park at Hobie Cove, further down.
The area around the Folsom Lake Marina has more rocks and makes it easier to cross the water to get to the old buildings.
You can see two huge tires along the way. Not sure at what point these ended up in the lake.
Part of a cement pipe of some sort.
The first old building foundation may have been the remains of a winery.
The rock wall foundation of an old building.
Some old tools were left behind.
You can also see an old tunnel.
The tunnel carried water out to the American River, now dammed up to form Folsom Lake in this area.
You can walk farther out to see more old building foundations.
When the water is even lower, you may be able to see more of the old gold mining town up the “river.”
For more pictures, visit http://www.folsomlakemarina.com/Mormanisland.html
For more historical information, visit http://www.folsomhistorymuseum.org/1mining_towns.htm