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 http://www.vikingsholm.org/tours.html). 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.