Emerald Point

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Emerald Point


  • The Vikingsholm parking area marks the beginning of the hike to Emerald Point.- Emerald Point
  • Signs near the trailhead offer maps and information about Emerald Bay below.- Emerald Point
  • The initial descent of about 400 feet over a mile marks the least scenic and only steep portion of the hike around Emerald Bay.- Emerald Point
  • A sign at the bottom of the descent. To access the Rubicon Trail to Emerald Point and Vikingsholm, turn right here.- Emerald Point
  • Historic Vikingsholm is an interesting destination in itself. Tours are offered of this historic home.- Emerald Point
  • The Rubicon Trail skirts above the north side of Emerald Bay. - Emerald Point
  • Generally level and wooded terrain, the trail has a few bridges over the numerous creeks that fall into the bay here.- Emerald Point
  • Tahoe's tall trees abound along this hike.- Emerald Point
  • Along the trail to Emerald Point.- Emerald Point
  • A seasonal boat-in camp can make a good spot for a break or to refill on water as you enjoy views of Emerald Bay's shimmery waters.- Emerald Point
  • Hiking the Rubicon Trail to Emerald Point.- Emerald Point
  • Views of Emerald Bay's shoreline beyond the trees.- Emerald Point
  • The final portion to Emerald Point leaves the Rubicon Trail but has no defined path. It is necessary to make your own way to the point.- Emerald Point
  • Emerald Point is hidden, secluded, and is filled with the sound of Tahoe lapping up on the shore and birds calling from the trees.- Emerald Point
  • A view of Emerald Bay and the peaks of Desolation Wilderness beyond from Emerald Point.- Emerald Point
Overview + Weather
Extremely beautiful hike. Options to tour historic Vikingsholm or paddle in Emerald Bay.
Limited parking. Requires steep hike from the parking area to the lake.
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,925.00 ft (2,110.74 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The hike to Emerald Point traces Emerald Bay's scenic northern shoreline, passes granite-lined pockets perfect for swimming, views of Fannette Island and towering peaks of Desolation Wilderness, and ends at a quiet and secluded area of forest that is perfect for taking in the breathtaking scale of it all.

The hike begins at the Vikingsholm parking area before dropping about 400 feet over the first mile down a wide gravel path. This is the hardest portion of the hike, though it does offer views of Emerald Bay as you descend from the highway into the shady conifer forest along the lakeshore. Near the bottom, a quick right turn will lead to the Rubicon Trail, which the hike to Emerald Point follows for most of the way. Hikers also have the option of visiting historic Vikingsholm or can choose to paddle into Emerald Bay.

Though Vikingsholm is a popular destination, you may be surprised by how few people you encounter once you leave the cove and head out on the trail. The Rubicon Trail is well-signed, and for the most part it follows a dirt path that weaves from the shoreline through dense forest trees just above it. At about 2 miles in, the boat-in camp offers sites with amazing views and faucets with running water. Beyond the camp the trail passes several clusters of steps down to the lake, which would make for great swimming in Tahoe's emerald waters if the weather is right. 

At just over 2.5 miles in, the trail begins to veer north away from the shoreline. This tall cluster of pine forest to the right of the trail marks Emerald Point. There is no defined path to the point, which means that visitors may have to find their own way through the light brush. However, this also means that any last semblance of crowds disappears here, and with a little work, you'll likely have this area of the forest completely to yourself.

Tall trees surround the point while the sounds of birds and the lake lapping against granite boulders at the water's edge are about the only things to be heard. Here is an area of Lake Tahoe's picturesque southeastern corner where it is still possible to escape the noise of people and have a quiet picnic or just sit and take in the views.

From here, find your way back to the Rubicon Trail and return to Emerald Bay.

After descending from the parking lot, the trail is generally flat and is very light rolling terrain. The descent from the parking area will probably be doable by anyone with moderate hiking abilities.

Bathrooms and water are available near Vikinsholm. Outhouses are available in the Vikingsholm parking area. Parking in the Vikingsholm parking area requires a $10 fee. This parking area fills up quickly. Additional parking may be available along Highway 89, though parking here will require a walk down to the parking area. Pay attention to road signs marking "No Parking" areas.

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