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Hike the Rubicon Trail

South Lake Tahoe, California

based on 5 reviews



7 miles

Elevation Gain

400 ft

Route Type



Added by John Maurizi

A pleasant hike along the shore of Lake Tahoe connected two very nice state parks.

The Rubicon Trail is a through hike connecting D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park.  You can start at either point.  I opted to start at D.L. Bliss State Park to avoid the long walk uphill to catch the Nifty Fifty shuttle.  Also, there is more available parking at Bliss.  Park your car as far down as you can to the lake as you can. 

The hike follows a well maintained trail along Lake Tahoe with great views of the clear water.  The trail ends at Emerald Bay State Park and Vikingsholm Castle.  Walk up hill following the access road to Emerald Bay Road where you can catch the Nifty Fifty shuttle to the entrance of D.L. Bliss.  It is about a 2 mile walk back to your car but it is now all down hill and there are many trails cutting the switchbacking road.

Of course, another option is to walk back the way you came for a nice, easy 9 mile hike. Which, if I were to hike this again, is the way I would do it.

Without a car you can take the Nifty Fifty shuttle to D.L. Bliss and walk the road at the beginning then after hiking the trail take the shuttle from the Vikingsholm/Eagle Falls area back to South Lake Tahoe. 

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Picnic Area

Hike the Rubicon Trail Reviews

Easy, well maintained trail. It is quite popular, but being so long it didn't feel overly crowded. Lots of access to various beaches throughout the hike, and stunning views of the lake. I started my hike at DL Bliss. As stated in the description, most people turn around at Vikingsholm castle. If you're able though, I recommend continuing on for the rest of the Rubicon trail and hike all the way to Eagle Point. It'll add 3.2 miles to your round trip, making it about 12.2 miles (excluding the other optional stops like the lower eagle falls and lighthouse which are about 0.4 miles round trip extra each) but the panoramic view was well worth it in my opinion. The hike past the castle is the most difficult part, but in my opinion rewarded you with some of the best views of the whole trail.

My favorite hike in Lake Tahoe, by far! Very busy and parking at the trailhead fills fast, so make sure to get there early. The views are perfect - can’t wait to go back!!

This trail has my favorite views of the lake! It goes from D.L. Bliss to Emerald Bay. There are spots with little ladders to climb down to the water. There is one small beach that is somewhat hidden away before you get to Emerald Bay.

I loved this hike! It was perfect for the beginning of summer to start getting my hiking legs back in shape. The parking lot at the trail head was full, but there are plenty of spots on the highway to pull over and park before walking down into the State Park. Vikingsholm charges a fee, so we just walked around the outside. Highly recommend the short hike to the Falls above the Vikingsholm!

This is one of my favorite summertime hikes. Such stunning views! Pro tip: get an early start and when you get close to vikingsholm ditch your shoes/clothes on a hot rock and swim out to the tea house- there is some pretty good rock jumping from the SE end of the island. Just be careful for boat traffic!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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