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Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach

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  • The green reflection of Emerald Bay.- Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • There is no formal landing at Fannette Island in Emerald Bay, but several impromtu opportunites exist.  - Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • The view from the Tea Room on top of Fannette Island in Emerald Bay.- Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • Paddleboats have a long history at Lake Tahoe, and they still leave for day trips from the east or south shores.- Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • The reflection of Mount Tallac (9,738') in Lake Tahoe's blue water.- Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • Pope Beach, Lake Tahoe.- Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
  • - Lake Tahoe, Rubicon Point to Pope Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful views. Clear water. Easy portage. Interesting history.
Cons: 
Long paddle. Some boat traffic. Summer crowds. Challenging parking.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Congestion: 
High
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Portage required: 
Yes
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

A day paddling from Rubicon Point through Emerald Bay and into Pope Beach is the quintessential Tahoe experience. The paddling distance from Rubicon Point to Pope Beach, including a stop in Emerald Bay, is approximately 9 miles. There can be quite a bit of tourist traffic on this adventure, so be sure to plan ahead for an early departure. Emerald Bay is a fantastic stop on any Tahoe visitor's list, and a trip to Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe, is not to be missed.

The history of Emerald Bay as a summer home destination dates back to 1863 when stagecoach magnate Ben Holladay built a home on its shores. Vikingholm Castle would later be built in 1929 by the Knight and Palmes families. The area became a California state park in 1953 when then owner Harvey West donated the property to the parks system. Vikingholm Castle on the shores of Emerald Bay is an excellent detour for history buffs, but be careful not to stay too long because the winds and boat traffic on this paddle can get quite heavy in the afternoon.

Fannette Island houses an old stone building that is also a great stop along the way. Mrs. Knight, the original owner of Vikingholm, had this "tea house" constructed for small trips afield during her stays at the lake. The island's previous resident, Captain Dick Barter, was known as "The Hermit of Emerald Bay," and his ghost is said to haunt the chapel and tomb that he built for himself when he lived on the island.

Rubicon Point and Emerald Bay are also home to many species of large birds, including golden eagles, bald eagles, and osprey, all of which can often been seen hunting for kokanee salmon in the lake.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(29 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(115 within a 30 mile radius)

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