Monday, November 5, 2012

Lake Tahoe's Rubicon Trail

The Rubicon Trail along the shores of Lake Tahoe's southwest corner connects Vikingsholm Mansion at the head of Emerald Bay with attractions in D. L. Bliss State Park such as Rubicon Point's Lighthouse and the Balancing Rock. The two-mile trail section along the Emerald Bay shore between the Vikingsholm grounds and Emerald Point offers various views of Fannette Island—the focal point from about any place in and above the bay.

Fannette Island in Emerald Bay

From Emerald Point, Rubicon trail winds and climbs northward passing large boulders, cozy coves and tiny beaches. Multiple vista point invite for short breaks and magnificent views. Certain points allow a direct view down into the deep blue, leaving it to your imagination to further dive down into the submerged West Tahoe Fault (WTF). Earthquakes have occurred in this area in prehistoric time. They will happen again. Certain sections of the Rubicon Trail are probably high enough to be considered as a tsunami escape route; although falling trees, falling rocks and landslides are other possible threats. Indeed, the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe is an exciting place, staging both drama and serenity. 

Getting to the Rubicon Trailhead in Emerald Bay State Park
There are fee-based and no-fee parking areas available along Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road) above Emerald Bay. The parking fee for the Vikingsholm parking lot on the eastside of the highway is currently $10.00 (see But arriving during the right time, early or off-season, you may find free parking on the westside between the Vikingsholm and Eagle Falls parking areas. From there, carefully cross the highway and take the short trail next to the highway to access the Vikingsholm parking lot, from where a steep, well-maintained trail leads down to the Rubicon Trailhead and Vikingsholm Castle.   

Note: There is a loading/unloading dock for private boats. This dock is located close to the Rubicon Trailhead at the Vikingsholm beach. Unfortunately, tour boats do not provide disembarking services in Emerald Bay. However, non-motorized Tahoe visitors have a chance to get to the bay by bus from both North Shore and South Shore locations. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The next long trail: Carson Valley Discovery Trail in the Pine Nut Mountains

The Pine Nut Mountains stretch for almost forty miles north-south from Dayton in northwestern Nevada to Topaz Lake at the Nevada-California stateline [1]. This mountain range with peaks as high as 7,300 feet is located east of the Sierra Nevada, bounded on its west side by the Carson Valley and on its east by the Mason Valley.

A new 45-mile-long, non-motorized, recreational trail, which will include five loop trails, is proposed along the westside of the Pine Nut Mountains: Carson Valley Discovery Trail. The Carson City Sierra Front Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is coordinating environmental and national historic preservation assessments in order to begin with the trail construction [2-4]. On November 14, from 5 to 7 pm, a public workshop for community input is scheduled at Pinon Hills Elementary School, 1479 Stephanie Way, Minden [4].

Keywords: trail planning, trail construction, trail network, hiking, outdoors.

References and more to explore
[1] SummitPost: Pine Nut Mountains - Nevada [].
[2] BLM News Release, Carson City District: BLM Seeks Input on the Proposed Carson Valley Discovery Trail. October 25, 2012 [].
[3] U.S. Department of the Interior: Carson Valley Discovery Trail, Public Scoping. October 31, 2012 [].
[4] Reno Gazette-Journal, Outdoors Briefs: BLM seeks input on Carson Valley Discovery Trail. November 1, 2012; 3C [].