Most People Have No Idea This Underwater City In Northern California Even Exists

We’ve got several ghost towns in Northern California, but not very many that are underwater! In the 1850s, Mormon Island was one of the largest towns involved in the Gold Rush. The town was founded by two members of the Mormon Battalion from Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento. The pair discovered gold right along the banks of the American River, and a city popped up alongside it. A hundred years later, the American River was dammed to form Folsom Lake. This is one of the largest reservoirs in Northern California and a major source of hydroelectric power for the region. The town of Mormon Island was flooded during the project. It now rests at the bottom of Folsom Lake and was unseen for many years. However, in recent years with California droughts drastically lowering water levels, Mormon Island has been visible to the public on several occasions.


Check out this amazing drone footage of Mormon Island, taken by YouTube user jayzaerial.

Mormon Island is relic of the past with a fascinating history. One of the few silver linings of the recent California droughts is the reemergence of this amazing spot. Do yourself a favor and explore the Mormon Island area next time lake levels drop low enough for it to be visible.

Address: Folsom Lake, California, USA

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The OIYS Visitor Center

Mormon Island

July 17, 2022

What are some other ghost towns in Northern California?

Thanks to the Gold Rush, we have many ghost towns in Northern California. Some of these towns were quite sizable at their peak, but all are now abandoned. Little remains of most of them, with some not even having any buildings that still remain standing. Bodie is one of the creepiest ghost towns in Northern California. It’s a classic Wild West ghost town and one of the best-preserved abandoned towns in the entire country.

Are there any other underwater towns in Northern California?

Surprisingly, Mormon Island is not the only now-underwater town in Northern California! You can also find Kennett at the bottom of Lake Shasta. It was not uncommon in the middle of the 20th century for old towns to be flooded when reservoirs were needed. As the area around the towns grew, reservoirs were necessary for flood control and sources of drinking water. Engineers tried to choose towns that were already abandoned so that as little disruption as possible occurred, but it’s still wild to think about all these towns at the bottom of lakes.

Is Mormon Island visible?

When Folsom Lake’s levels drop down to around 375 feet (typically during summer drought months), Mormon Island is visible. Even when water levels are higher, you can see the memorial plaque and the cemetery, which was relocated nearby.

Address: Folsom Lake, California, USA

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