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Emerald Bay, located on the Southern side of Lake Tahoe, is spectacular in it’s beauty. This state park features a great variety of family-friendly activities all set against the gorgeous backdrop of dramatic peaks, ridges and crystalline waters.

Emerald Bay is a great family friendly place to spend the afternoon in Lake Tahoe. With tons of activities you’ll find something for everyone in your family here. The best way to experience the state park is to hike down to the lakeshore (it’s a short – 1 mile – but steep hike from the parking lot above Emerald Bay, or you can take the longer more scenic Rubicon Trail.) You’ll find a number of great activities at your fingertips here including kayaking, boating, swimming, scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, museum tours, a waterfall & fishing.

Additional Highlights

Hiking

Rubicon Trail: The Rubicon Trail is an 11.9 mile moderate hiking trail that hugs the rim of Emerald Bay and travels into D.L. Bliss State Park. It’s a great way to get amazing views of the bay while on your way down to the Lakeshore. It’s a moderate trail due to it’s fairly steep incline at the beginning of the trail.
Eagle Falls Hike: You can access the trailhead to this hike either at the parking lot above Emerald Bay or as a side trail along the Rubicon Trail. It’s a short (1 mile) hike that features Eagle Falls, a beautiful waterfall feeding into Emerald Bay.

Vikingsholm

The property at Vikingsholm was the location of one of the first summer homes of Lake Tahoe. Vikingsholm was built by Lora. J. Knight in 1929 and was modeled after traditional Scandinavian architecture. It is now considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavia architecture in the United States. The house is open for tours during the summer months where you can learn more about it’s rich history.

Fannette Island

Fannette Island is the only island in Lake Tahoe. You can access the island either by boat, canoe, paddle board or kayak. (Swimming to the island is not allowed). The island features a unique history and you can see the ruins of the “tea house” that was constructed by Lora Josephine Knight (the owner of Vilkingsholm). If you want a more upclose view of the Tea House, rent a kayak or paddleboard over to the island and hike the short distance up to the ruins.

Scuba Diving & the Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail

One of the more unique things you can do in Emerald Bay is the ability to experience California’s First Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail. This trail showcases Lake Tahoe’s historic recreational watercraft and barges now resting beneath the surface in Emerald Bay.
You can either snorkel or scuba dive through the trail while you explore the historic features of several sites along the shoreline. You can find information and get access to the trail through the park’s visitor centers or local dive shops.

Lower Eagle Falls

Lower Eagle Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that easily accessible via a short walk from the parking lot above Emerald Bay, or through a short side trail on the Rubicon Trail. It’s the last waterfall in a string of falls coming into Emerald Bay and is definitely worth the visit.
Emerald Bay is only accessed via two steep hiking trails. The shorter (but steeper) gravel trail leading out of the main parking area is stroller friendly (bring something like a jogging stroller – not an umbrella stroller since it is a gravel trail), but Rubicon Trail is not.
Neither trail is handicap accessible but they do offer shuttles for handicap visitors. Visit their website for information on who to contact to arrange a shuttle during your visit.

Read About It In The Journal

EMERALD BAY STATE PARK | Little Wild Ones Collective | Emerald Bay, located on the Southern side of Lake Tahoe, is spectacular in it’s beauty. This state park features a great variety of family-friendly activities all set against the gorgeous backdrop of dramatic peaks, ridges and crystalline waters. #emeraldbay #laketahoe #laketahoewithkids #familyfriendly #kidfriendly

Q Be Prepared

Q Handicap & Stroller Access

Emerald Bay is only accessed via two steep hiking trails. The shorter (but steeper) gravel trail leading out of the main parking area is stroller friendly (bring something like a jogging stroller - not an umbrella stroller since it is a gravel trail), but Rubicon Trail is not.


Neither trail is handicap accessible but they do offer shuttles for handicap visitors. Visit their website for information on who to contact to arrange a shuttle during your visit.

Q Bathroom Access

There are bathrooms near Vikingsholm at the lakeshore of Emerald Bay.

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Wednesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
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  • Price Range Free! ($10 parking - certain activities may cost extra)
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Additional Details

  • Age Restrictions:None. Keep in mind that getting down to Emerald Bay requires hiking down a short but steep hike (or going down the Rubicon Trail). For kids under 4 plan on bringing either a jogging stroller or a backpack carrier as they will likely struggle to get back up the trail on your way out.