Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rubicon Point's Lighthouse at Lake Tahoe

Lighthouses typically are tall structures that can be seen from far away during times of day light—although their modus operandi is to be recognized at night by lantern light. In contrast, Rubicon Point's Light House is a small building, which is difficult to spot from land or lake. It is hiding between trees on a steep, rocky slope at the coast along the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe between Emerald Bay and Rubicon Bay. The current structure of the Rubicon Point Lighthouse was stabilized and preserved in 2001, after the elegant old structure, acquired by the State of California in 1929, was vandalized and nearly destroyed.
Read more about the lighthouse history of Lake Tahoe at the interpretive boards at the light house or trailhead. Excerpts are given here:
In 1916 the U.S. Congress appropriated funds to construct navigational lamps at Lake Tahoe. The decision followed three years of requests by the Lake Tahoe Protective Association. Construction of the Rubicon Point Lighthouse took place in 1919 under the direction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Lighthouse Service.

Rubicon Point was originally one of four navigational lamps on Lake Tahoe. The light was built at a cost of $900.00. A flashing 70 candle power light was visible for seven miles.

Getting there, hiking around
From Highway 89 between South Tahoe and Tahoe City, a few miles north of Emerald Bay, enter the D. L. Bliss State Park. From the Visitor Center, drive north and park to the right at the Lighthouse trailhead (quick access) or continue on, all the way through the camp ground, until you reach the parking area for Lester Beach, the Rubicon Trail and the Lighthouse Trail. From there, take the o.3 mile trail that ascends to the light house. Instead of returning the same way, continue on in southward direction until you meet the Rubicon Trail, on which you may return or hike further above and along the lake shore for about four miles to get to Emerald Point and Vikingsholm at the head of Emerald Bay.

Balancing Rock Nature Trail in Bliss State Park at Lake Tahoe

The Balancing Rock Nature Trail, a half-mile loop trail, is located in D. L. Bliss State Park at Lake Tahoe in California. While driving north on Highway 89 from Emerald Bay to Tahoe City, you'll pass by along Bliss SP before getting to Rubicon Bay, but probably will not see the Balancing Rock from the highway, although it is very close by. However, the hiking trail inside the park, named after this natural rock sculpture, loops around the weathering granite structure. In fact, the overlying rock is not balancing, it is fixed to the underlying granite. As the erosion process continues, the upper rock will “loose its balance” at some point in the future, maybe during a Tahoe Area earthquake, and will fall downhill. Following the loop trail downward into the small creek, you are able to see the place, where the rock and its split-offs might come to rest. The loop trail offers various views of the rock from above and below and from all different angles. There are also views of Lake Tahoe and Rubicon Peak. The biosphere of the trail includes pine trees, manzanitas and ferns.

Getting there
From Highway 89 enter the D.L. Bliss State Park at the Visitor Center and drive to the camp ground in the north part of the park until you arrive at a signpost directing you to the trailhead. The trailhead parking lot is also used as an overflow parking area for the camp ground. If you are staying at the camp ground, you may consider walking or biking to the trailhead.