Any visit to Lake Tahoe should include a visit to Emerald Bay State Park. During a recent visit to Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley I inquired to some of the locals (my favorite people to ask for recommendations while traveling) what the must see sites were and Emerald Bay was consistently one of the top suggestions. Some information to know before you visit.
Why visit? Not only to enjoy the beautiful views but it’s a great destination for a nice hike. We took the trail down (approximately 1 mile which takes about 10-15 minutes) walking from the parking lot to the Beach front where the Vikingsholm residence is located (shown below). You can either visit as a quick stop while sightseeing or pack a cooler, swim suit and spend the day here. There is plenty of fun to keep you entertained!
Historic Vikingshold Estate: Vikingshold is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the western hemisphere.
Location: The park is located 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. Vikingsholm can be reached by parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. 11001 CA-89, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Entrance to the park. Be prepared for limited parking (if you see a spot on the street as you’re arriving grab it!)
Park Hours: Open from sunrise to sunset daily
History of the Park: In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated a National Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier carved granite. Emerald Bay was designated an underwater state park in 1994. It is the resting place for many boats, launches and barges used in the lake before the turn of the century, during the heyday of Emerald Bay Resort and used in the construction of Vikingsholm.
Activities: Hiking, swimming, kayaking, boating. There really is something for everyone at this gorgeous Park.
Camping in the Park: There are 2 campgrounds: Boat-In Camp (accessible by boat or foot only) and Eagle Point Campground (closed through 2015).
Best way to access Vikingshold: Vikingsholm can be reached by parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. Access to lower Vikingsholm is via a steep one mile trail that drops 500 feet in elevation to the house. Note: Visitors with medical conditions or mobility issues should not attempt this hike as there are NO ride outs.
Beach front access: There is no vehicle access to the lakeshore of Emerald Bay or Vikingsholm. Visitors walk to the lake from the Vikingsholm Parking Lot (1 mile walk) or via the Rubicon Trail. Some visitors arrive by kayak or private boat.
The Boat-In Campground: Located on the north side of Emerald Bay, at the site of the old Emerald Bay Resort. Buoys are available, and camping takes place on land in the lakefront campsites. Boat Camp is open in summer only. Sites are $35 per night. Reservations may be made at reserveamerica.com
The trailhead leading down to the beach and to the Vikingsholm residence
The various boating options for leisure at the beach
Vikingsholm residence view from the beach overlooking the bay