Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay is a state park in California. This is a small bay located at the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe and contains its only true island, Fannette Island.


Emerald Bay is a flooded glacial valley that was carved during the Ice Age by a glacier that has since disappeared. The Bay has been listed as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Get in

By car Emerald Bay can be accessed from Highway 89 south from Tahoe City or west from South Lake Tahoe. The bay itself cannot be accessed by car. There is a short but steep hiking trail down from the highway to Vikingsholm, which is on the shore, and a trail leads from Eagle Point campground to a beach.

By boat Power boats and sailboats can reach Emerald Bay from any part of the Lake.

By kayak Emerald Bay is an easy paddle from Kiva Beach at Tallac Point to the south. It can also be reached from D. L. Bliss State Park to the north, but parts of the route have sheer cliffs where stopping would be impossible, so it should only be attempted by confident paddlers.

Sternwheeler tours leave from South Lake Tahoe and Zephyr Cove, but do not stop within the bay.


Vikingsholm is a historic Scandinavian-inspired home at the head of the bay.

The Tea House on Fannette island was built by the owner of Vikingsholm as a spectacular location for hosting tea parties. It can be seen from anywhere at the bay, but can only be reached by private boat. however there is no dock. Swimming from the shore of the mainland is prohibited. Once onshore, there is a path to the Tea House at the top. It requires a little bit of rock scrambling. The Tea House itself is a stone structure whose original wooden roof is missing.


Hike the Rubicon Trail. The trail can be accessed at Vikingsholm. It follows the shoreline of the bay to south to Eagle Point campground. To the north it follows the shore of the bay and the main part of the lake all the way to D. L. Bliss State Park. The Eagle Falls trail also starts at Vikingsholm and goes up the valley to an impressive waterfall.


Vikingsholm has a small gift shop.



Eagle Point Campground is on the point at the south of the mouth of the bay. It is a large campground with supplies of water and bathrooms including coin-operated showers.

The Emerald Bay Boat Camp is a smaller campground nicely situated in the evergreens on the center of the north shore of the bay, accessible only by boat. It has water and pit toilets, but no showers. There is a dock and moorings for boats (reserved for use by campers).

Stay safe

Bears are frequently seen in the area of Emerald Bay. The most important measure to stay safe from bears is to keep all unattended food in approved bear-proof containers provided by the park. Even non-food items are a risk if they have a smell. Things you might not think of like toothpaste and sunscreen should be locked in the bear locker. When hiking, make noise by talking, clapping, singing, or wear a bear bell. Bears will usually avoid humans if aware of their presence. Bear spray can be carried as a last resort.

There is a 5 mph speed limit for boats within the bay. Stay between the channel buoys when entering the bay. Submerged rocks are a hazard especially on the north side of the entrance.

Go next

D.L. Bliss State Park has a large sandy beach with a wide expanse of shallow water. Richardson Bay is a commercial campground to the south offering a number of services.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, August 25, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.