What Lies Under Folsom Lake


In late November 2007, Craig Learoyd set out to find the old town of Mormon Island, a popular mining town now under Folsom Lake. The lake has become low enough to find remnants of this old city, including foundations, artifacts, and parts of this town unseen for ages. John Gladding also set out to take some pictures. We found out later this area technically isn’t Mormon Island, but rather an area called Red Bank, but it’s close by to the original main street.

NOTE: Don’t park too close to the water. Even if the ground is hard, it is very slippery! We managed to get not one, but two 4x4s stuck in the mud during this adventure! To the insurance claims adjuster “Nick” who pulled us out, our hats’ off to you! He pulled us out and refused anything but good karma out of it! :)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Please do not remove any historic artifacts from these locations. It is illegal!

foundation from an old house. Folsom Dam is in the distance.


2 foundations.

artifacts from the area – note the square bottles.

It appeared this was once a wall.

artifacts from an old house perhaps?

This barren outpost is where boats
usually launch from the Brown’s Ravine “low water” ramp.

More exposed areas in the lake

Drainage Canal. If you park at the Brown’s Ravine low water lot,
head south and look for this. Cross the muddy stream and head
towards the dam to see Mormon Island.

Artifacts – an axe head, nails, pliers (from a boater?), spring.

Foundation with pipes of some sort


This pic was taken on the foundation of a house. This bar appeared to be holding up a wall.

Brown’s Ravine Marina.

John’s trusty sidekick, Lucy

barren tree stumps


Artifacts people found. Lots of nails, bottles. A few tools of some sort.

This is the stream to cross to get to Mormon Island (marina in background).

DO NOT drive in the dark mud unless you want to get stuck! (I learned the hard way, as did another 4×4!)


Old drainage canal.

Old drainage canal.

No clue what this is… was by the marina.

Looked like a hub cap and maybe
part of a bike?

From an old house.

This house was on higher ground;
you can see the marina behind it.