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The Rubicon Hiking trail in Lake Tahoe is a moderately difficult trail that offers some of the most incredible views in Lake Tahoe. The trail hugs the edge of Emerald Bay and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the beautiful crystal waters below as you work your way down towards the Lakeshore of Emerald Bay.

About the Trail

The Scenery along the Rubicon Hiking Trail is incredible.  There are two trailheads to the Rubicon – one inside D.L. Bliss State Park on the Northwest side and one inside the Eagle Point Campground on the Southeast side. Regardless of which side you start out on, you’ll get stunning views of Lake Tahoe, along with a gorgeous backdrop of pine trees and the emerald green waters of Emerald Bay.
The Rubicon hiking trail is an 11.9 miles long and is considered moderate difficulty due to it’s length and the steep incline coming out from the lakeshore. The trail is best used from March until September.

Emerald Bay State Park & the Lakeshore

The Rubicon Hiking Trail goes through Emerald Bay State Park and there’s access down to the lakeshore where you can do a variety of activities including kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, boating & taking a tour of the Vikingsholm Estate. (There is no vehicle access to the lakeshore in Emerald Bay State Park – but there is a shorter (albeit steeper) gravel trail you can take strollers down – find out more about Emerald Bay State Park)

Additional Highlights

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 Vikingsholm).

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.

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.

Trailhead Locations:

Trailhead Access at the Southeast Side: 38.955638, -120.083619
Trailhead Access at the Northwest side: 38.989370, -120.098691
Both trailheads are within campgrounds and you’ll likely have to pay for parking.

Read About it in the Journal

THE RUBICON HIKING TRAIL | Little Wild Ones Collective | The Rubicon Hiking trail in Lake Tahoe is a moderately difficult trail that offers some of the most incredible views in Lake Tahoe. The trail hugs the edge of Emerald Bay and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the beautiful crystal waters below as you work your way down towards the Lakeshore of Emerald Bay. #hikelaketahoe #laketahoewithkids #familyfriendly #emeraldbay #rubiconhike

Q Be Prepared

Q Handicap & Stroller Access

The trail is not handicap or stroller friendly. The beginning of this trail is really steep and the trail is considered of moderate difficulty. If you need a stroller friendly alternative to the lakeshore, check out Emerald Bay State Park for suggestions.

Q Bathroom Access

There are bathrooms down by the lakeshore in Emerald Bay State Park.

Q Additional Resources

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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
  • Price Range FREE! (Both trailheads are located within campgrounds and you'll likely be required to pay for parking there.)
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Additional Details

  • Age Restrictions:None. You’ll want to plan on carrying any children under 4 in a hiking backpack carrier. The trail is steep and long and children between 3 and 4 might be able to make it down to the lakeshore, but likely will need help getting back up. You know you’re child best so plan accordingly.