D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay are effectively operated as the same State Park so why not walk a trail highlighting both!
The Rubicon Trail along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is a gem! It's easily accessible and has some of the best views on Tahoe. It's absolutely a hike one can look forward to repeatedly.
If you happen to have two cars, do it as a 6.6 mile one way trip, otherwise it's just over a 13.2 mile hike. With a pair of vehicles it will leave plenty of time to swim and visit Vikingshom...one of those "Must do" highlights on the Lake. I'd also given some thought to leaving a kayak at Eagle Point for the run back to the car left at Calawee Cove Beach...definitely next time!
Note: It is possible that there may be kayak concessions at these parks in 2012 or 2013!
The Rubicon covers a lot of terrain. There are flats, undulating short elevation gains and drops, and twists along some stunning shoreline cliffs. The trail dips into secluded coves, and along easily accessible shorelines in Emerald Bay. At both the beginning of the trail and end are a campgrounds, also along the south shore of Emerald Bay, you can find active nesting area for Eagles.
Tree coverage includes sugar pines in D.L. Bliss and overall coverage throughout the balance including ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, firs, incense cedar, and Sierra juniper.
Along the streams grow alders, quaking aspen, mountain dogwood, service berry and bitter cherry, and black cottonwood. Wildflowers include columbine, leopard lily, lupine, bleeding heart, yellow monkey flower and nightshade. The bulk of the brush includes ceanothus, chinquapin, currant, gooseberry, huckleberry, and manzanita.
Additionally the Parks have several other draws. Diving on the shipwrecks that dot the area, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, sailing, and power boating are all popular here. Mentioned before is Vikingsholm, the Scandinavian influenced and stunning historic vacation residence at the heart of Emerald Bay. Fannette Island in the bay is accessible by boat only.
One of the Rangers told me they also get quite a lot of traffic in the winter from cross-country skiers on the park’s roadways. The Rubicon is closed to travel during the winter for safety reasons.
The park is located 17 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, a couple of miles north of Emerald Bay.
Park Office Telephone:
(530) 525-7277 Summer
The park is located 22 miles south of Tahoe City.
Park Office Telephone:
Dogs are allowed in the parks on roads and developed areas only. They must be kept on a six-foot leash and in an enclosed vehicle or tent at night. Dogs are not permitted on the trails, on beaches or in the Vikingsholm area.
Seasons/Climate, D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay:
Summer temperatures range from about 75 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 degrees; during extremely cold winters Emerald Bay freezes over.
Between the parks there are 268 family campsites, each
with a table, food locker and stove, plus nearby restrooms and hot showers. Although there are no hookups, some sites at D.L. Bliss will accommodate trailers up to 15 feet or motor homes up to 18 feet. Emerald Bay can accommodate trailers up to 18 feet or motor homes up to 21 feet. The D.L. Bliss group campground will accommodate up to 50 people, with a limit of 10 cars.
Reserve all campsites by calling (800) 444-7275 or visit
Twenty primitive campsites are reachable by boat. While the parks themselves have no launching facilities, boats can be launched from private facilities about 6 miles to the north or south. Scuba diving is allowed in the underwater park.
D.L. Bliss SP facilities are closed during the. The campground is open from late May through Labor Day. Please call for specific dates.
Emerald Bay: Eagle Point Campground and Boat Camp are closed in winter. They are generally open from late May or early June through Labor Day. Please call for specific dates.
There are Black Bears in the area. See the parks websites for more information during an encounter.
Food Storage Locker Information
Metal bear-resistant food lockers are provided in each campsite. All food, beverages, and toiletries are required by law to be stored in provided food lockers. The inside dimensions of the food lockers are 36" deep, 43" wide, and 22" high.