Taking its name from the largest of the pine tree species, and one of the park’s main inhabitants, Sugar Pine Point State Park occupies one of the prime pieces of Tahoe’s westshore real estate. Thankfully, this beautiful but once private property overlooking the “Jewell of the Sierra” has been open to the public as a day use area since 1965 for all to enjoy.
Originally developed as a mountain retreat in the early 1900s, the park’s grounds are part of one of the early and well-kept Tahoe estates centered around the 11,000-square-foot Ehrman Mansion (also known as Pine Lodge). The three-story summer home was built primarily out of native materials similar to Vikingsholm, located further down the west shore at Emerald Bay State Park, and is considered an architectural marvel. Daily summer tours allow visitors to explore the interior.
Beyond the mansion, the park’s broad lakeshore frontage extends nearly 2 miles beyond Sugar Pine Point, encompassing Edwin L. Z’Berg Natural Preserve and General Creek. During summer, the lakeshore is the main draw with inviting beaches, a pier, and kayak and stand-up paddle rentals available. While summer is the peak season, the park remains open during winter, offering various cross-country ski and showshoe trails (some that are lakeside). Many of the Nordic events of the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley were held near the park grounds along General Creek.
A handful of historic buildings are found throughout the park, adding to the character of the grounds. Among these structures are two boathouses, a carriage house, and a water tower storage building that has been converted to the park’s Nature Center.
Multiple trails wind throughout the park and offer options for exploration. Popular trails include the Lakefront Interpretive Trail, the Dolder Nature Trail, and the Rod Beaudry Trail, the latter of which connects the park’s 175-site General Creek Campground, located across Highway 89, to the core of Sugar Pine Point State Park.
Cyclists will be glad to know that the West Shore Bike Trail extends south from Tahoe City to Sugar Pine Point State Park, where it terminates. Mountain Bikers also have some options on the General Creek Trail.
Dogs are permitted within the park on developed areas, including paved roads, paved trails, and on portions of the General Creek Fire Road Trail, but they are not allowed on beaches or in the Natural Preserve.
Additional information on summer tours of the Ehrman Mansion can be found here.