Parkway Etiquette: What you need to know when on the Parkway


All Users

  • Don’t litter and pick-up after yourself. The American River Parkway is a beautiful resource. You can help keep it that way.
  • No glass containers are allowed on the Parkway.



  • Children under 13 are required by law to wear a life vest when in the American River in Sacramento County. Adults are also strongly encouraged to wear a live vest.
  • Swim within your means and be vigilant. Cold water temperatures and strong undertows make the water more dangerous than it might look.
  • Monitor for warnings of water contamination or algae blooms before entering the water.



  • Always walk or run on the left side when on the bicycle trail. That way you can see oncoming bicyclists and they can see you. When on the right side, you can’t see bicyclists coming up behind you.
  • When possible, walk or run on the dirt shoulder of the bicycle trail and not on the pavement. If there is no dirt shoulder, stay as far left as you can. Or, utilize the dirt multiuse trails instead of the bicycle trail.
  • Walk or run in single file when on the pavement, especially when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Yield to equestrians. Horses always have the right-of-way.


Dog Owners

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash no longer that 6 feet. This will prevent encounters with people and animals like coyotes and rattlesnakes.
  • Pet owners are required to clean-up after their pets. There are 18 pup mitt stations along the Parkway if you do not have any bags.
  • Monitor for warnings of water contamination or algae blooms before allowing your pet to enter the water.



  • Ride on the right side of the bicycle trail and pass on the left.
  • Adhere to the 15 mph speed limit.
  • Faster traffic is responsible for yielding to slower and oncoming traffic.
  • Yield to pedestrians and equestrians.
  • Be predictable, including using hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Ride in single file, especially when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Bicycles are not allowed on the dirt trails, except in the designated areas in the lower Parkway.
  • Cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet.



  • Let others know if your horse is safe to pass.
  • Avoid areas on the trail that are soft or muddy to prevent deep hoof ruts.



  • Whenever possible, remove fishing line from the Parkway.

Faces of the Parkway

Whether it’s through recreation, relaxation or nature, there are a lot of faces that can be found on the American River Parkway.

#FacesOfTheParkway explores the faces that you can see when you are out exploring our urban jewel.

Check this page and social media for regular updates.



On Water Recreationists on the American River Parkway

With the temperatures warming up, many Parkway users will escape to the water for on water activities. The Parkway is a great place for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and boating.

But if you’re hitting the water, make sure to wear a life vest. Cold water temperatures and underwater currents can make the calmest waters more dangerous than they appear.



Runners on the American River Parkway

Hundreds of runners every day come to the Parkway to utilize the 23-miles of paved, multiuse trail as well as the 30-miles of unpaved trail. This includes everything from novices to Olympic runners like Sacramento native Kim Conley (learn more about the role the Parkway plays in her story).

It’s because of the recreational opportunities like running that the Lower American River is recognized as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.


American River Parkway Foundation Invasive Plant Management Program Volunteers

Invasive plants are a real threat to the Parkway. They outcompete native plants, reduce food for wildlife and increase fire danger.

Through our Invasive Plant Management Program, our volunteers remove over 30,000 plants every year.

During events, volunteers use specialized equipment to remove French broom, Scottish broom, Spanish broom, red sesbania, yellow star thistle, stinkwort and more. Doing this allows our natural systems to flourish and prevents the loss of vital resources.

Learn more about our Invasive Plant Management Program


American River Parkway Foundation Clean-Up Volunteers

Parkway Foundation volunteers are vital to our efforts to conserve the Parkway. Every year, thousands of them dedicate some of their free time to removing trash and debris.

On average more than 130,000 pounds of trash are removed from the Parkway annually through our clean-up program.

Clean-ups are essential to the Parkway because they reduce blight and decrease the amount of pollution that ends up in our rivers and ecosystems. This is an issue that has grown as more illegal campers make their way to the Parkway.

Clean-ups are also great opportunities for team building and family bonding as well as to collect community service hours.

Above are just some of the faces from our clean-ups this year.

You can participate by signing-up for our larger clean-ups (Spring Clean-Up and the Great American River Clean-Up) or our monthly Sustainable Saturday Clean-Ups. We can also work with you to form your own group clean-ups, which take place throughout the year along the full 23-miles of the Parkway.

Learn more about our Clean-Ups

woman seated on a brown horse in front of a corral

Volunteer Highlight: Sue Fossum

I moved to Sacramento from Los Angeles in 1974, newly married and a recent nursing school graduate.  Since that time, I have enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the American River Parkway.

From walking the family dog on dirt paths, teaching my two young sons to bike on the paved trail and paddling on the river in our canoe when they were in Cub/Boy Scouts, each time on the Parkway provided an experience to be immersed in its natural beauty and wonder.

Since 1993, I have been privileged to enjoy the Parkway from the back of a horse, meandering down the trails. My rides often involve stopping when children and adults ask to pet my horse, educating them about horse behavior, providing directions — and, on occasion, providing some basic first aid.  Since 1999, I have been a member of the American River Volunteer Equestrian Trail Patrol (ARVETP) which is how I became more involved in, and learned more about, the Parkway.

The ARVETP, incorporated since 1995, has been working in concert with Sacramento County Regional Parks serving as ‘eyes and ears’ on the Parkway.

It allows me to meet new people, talk about the amazing wonders of the Parkway, and how we can all be better stewards of the ‘jewel’ that is in our midst.

Since 1998, the ARVETP has been an American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF) volunteer mile steward – first serving as volunteer stewards for Mile 10N, then Mile 3N and at present Mile 14S.  Along with trash pickup and assistance with ARPF’s Great American River Clean Up (GARCU), members of the ARVETP have provided countless hours of trail maintenance.

This trail maintenance is done, sometimes literally, from the back of a horse when riding on trails clipping overhanging branches that obstruct the trail for users.  More involved and labor intensive work days have also occurred working with the ARPF, the California Conservation Corps, and Sacramento County Regional Parks staff to assist with cutting/removing downed trees, bushes that block trail access, placing signage, and opening up trails that have become overgrown and unused.

Personally, I value the opportunity to represent the ARVETP as their ARPF volunteer mile steward, as it allows me to meet new people, talk about the amazing wonders of the Parkway, and how we can all be better stewards of the ‘jewel’ that is in our midst.

Having walked, ridden a bike, canoed, kayaked and ridden a horse along the Parkway, I have to be honest in saying that riding my horse is my favorite activity.  The slow pace of the trail allows me to see animal life up close, and I love stopping for people on the trail, allowing them to meet my horse.

It is amazing how a horse becomes a ‘magnet’ providing me with the opportunity to share what a wonderful asset the Parkway is and how we can all support it and make the trails safe for everyone that wishes to use them.