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Emerald Bay State Park

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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Emerald Bay State Park
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  • Morning glass across Emerald Bay.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay, Fanette Island, and Emerald Point in view from Inspiration Vista Point.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Boats come and go through Emerald Bay's narrow entrance, framed by Emerald Point (on left/north) and Eagle Point (on right/south).- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Fannette Island and the remains of the historic tea house perched on the island's summit.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Point with Tahoe's east shore peaks behind.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Located directly off Highway 89 below towering Sierra granite peaks, Emerald Bay State Park provides access to the historic Vikingsholm.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • A mile-long trail leads down to the Emerald Bay beaches and Vilkingsholm.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay's scenic beaches and inviting waters.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Vikingslholm sits behind the main beach.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Vikingsholm.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Fannette Island.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Eagle Falls - the only year round waterfall flowing into Lake Tahoe. - Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Massive jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) in Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Canada goose (Branta canadensis) in Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay view from the Eagle Lake Trail.- Emerald Bay State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park vistapoint at the Vikingsholm Trailhead.- Emerald Bay State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
One of Tahoe's finest stretches of shoreline. Swimming/boating access. Vikingsholm.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, CA
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
State Park Fee ($10.00)
Picnic Tables: 
Yes
Area: 
1,530.00 acres (619.17 hectares)
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Heavy rain in the evening and overnight and windy starting in the evening.
55°F
40°

Fri

Mixed precipitation (1–2 in. of snow) in the morning.
39°F
28°

Sat

Partly cloudy until evening.
56°F
26°

Sun

Clear throughout the day.
64°F
36°

Mon

Clear throughout the day.
69°F
38°

Tue

Clear throughout the day.
70°F
44°

Wed

Mostly cloudy overnight.
69°F
42°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Emerald Bay and its namesake state park are without question some of the gems of Lake Tahoe. Tucked into the southwest corner of the lake, the long bay opens up inside the narrow mouth at Emerald and Eagle Points, and its shimmering emerald green to azure blue waters beckon boaters, swimmers and hikers to explore its shoreline. Adding to the natural beauty, Emerald Bay is surrounded by glacially carved granite peaks that rise steeply from the water's edge. Emerald Bay State Park is well known as the home of Vikingsholm, an impressive historic Scandinavian mansion turned museum, and the bay contains the only real island found in Lake Tahoe's waters.

While Emerald Bay is accessible from May through September, you'll have to work just a bit to access park amenities. Most visitors walk a mile-long trail down to the main beach area at Vikingsholm or boat-in from elsewhere on the lake. The state park can also be reached via the Rubicon Trail from D.L. Bliss State Park, a contiguous park located to the north of Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay State Park remains open during winter months, but only a restroom at Vikingsholm remains open, and trails can be snow covered and slippery.

One of the park's main attraction is the ornate, 38-room mansion known as Vikingsholm. Now a museum with daily tours offered during the summer, Vikingsholm is modeled after an 11th century Scandanavian castle. The home was built in 1929 by Mrs. Lora Josehpine Knight as a summer retreat. Mrs. Knight also built the “tea house” that sits on the summit of Fannette Island.

A popular destination for Tahoe boaters, Emerald Bay entices boaters into its calm waters both for the swimming and for the boat-in campground located on the northwest shore of the bay (mooring bouys provided with reservations). Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent during summer months. Note that Fannette Island is closed to boat-access visitors from February 1 to June 15 while Canada geese are nesting there. Following the geese-nesting season, a swimming platform is regularly hauled out near the island for boat-in swimmers to use.

In addition to boating, Emerald Bay is known for some of Lake Tahoe’s best scuba diving, with dive sites encompassing the underwater remains of the old Emerald Bay Resort located near the boat-in camp and old artifacts used in the construction of Vikingsholm. The bay was designated an underwater state park in 1994 to protect the unique underwater features.

In addition to boat-in camping, the park operates a standard drive-in campground at Eagle Point that hosts 100 sites, swimming and access to some dive sites.

The park offers a couple of fantastic hiking options that include the Rubicon Trail, which runs 6.5 miles one-way from Rubicon Trailhead in D.L. Bliss State Park To Eagle Point Campground. Rubicon Trail is arguably the most picturesque lakeside trail in Tahoe. Other hiking options include a short trail up to see Eagle Falls and the Vikingsholm Trail.

Dogs are technically allowed in the park, but they must remain on a 6-foot maximum leash. Only service dogs are permitted on park trails and beaches.

Additional information:

  • Click here for information on Emerald Bay Boat-in Camping reservations or call Reserve America at: 800.444.7275
  • For additional information on Vikingsholm tours call: 530.541.3030
Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(26 within a 30 mile radius)

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(99 within a 30 mile radius)

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