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“Beautiful hike for families” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vikingsholm

Vikingsholm
Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe, CA
530-541-3030
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Type: Castles, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings
Activities: Hiking
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Built as a summer home in 1929, this grand castle on Emerald Bay is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the Western Hemisphere.
CA
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
30 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
“Beautiful hike for families”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

The hike to this castle is a mile from the Emerald Bay Lookout. The hike down is pleasant and has a switchback, unpaved trail. The castle has picnic tables at the water's edge and restrooms close by. The hike back up the trail is a little strenuous. Our guidebook said the grade ascends/descends 400 feet so, it's pretty steep. Still, worth the effort.

Visited April 2013
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229 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Lansing, MI
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Expect a long hike, but worth it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

The views are out of this world. It was not an easy hike, especially back up the 1 mile hill to leave. I wish Vikingsholm would have been open on our visit in April, but it wasn't. Still gorgeous and fun to explore the outside.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
64 attraction reviews
Reviews in 93 cities Reviews in 93 cities
329 helpful votes 329 helpful votes
“Go early in the day to avoid the parking problems and sold-out water toy rentals”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Vikingsholm is a nice place to go on a warm day in Tahoe. You need to go to a little trouble to get here, so I wouldn’t bother if you only have a couple hours. However, if you have a whole day (or at least half a day), then it’s worth doing.

The old house itself is interesting to see, and the history behind the place is also very interesting. However, I thought the tour was over-priced. We paid $8, and later agreed that we felt the tour was worth about $3. I’m not saying you should skip the tour. I’m just saying be prepared to feel like it was over-priced. But we definitely enjoyed it.

In addition to the tour of the old house, there are plenty of other things to do here as well. This is a great place to take a picnic and spend the day.

There is a beach, and the beach/water activities are definitely highlights. My personal theory is that the water here is a little warmer than other places on the lake because it is a comparatively shallow sheltered cove. We enjoyed swimming, and hanging out on the beach. We also rented kayaks and paddled out to the little island in the middle of the cove. That was a lot of fun. There were also other water toys to rent, like those stand-up paddle boards, but they were sold out by the time I asked for one. It would have been better to get there earlier.

We also did a short walk to the lower waterfall, which was nice, but not outstanding. Actually, you’ll get already be doing some hiking just by going from the parking lot down to Vikingsholm and back. It’s about a mile with some significant elevation change, but it’s pretty easy.

Parking is not so easy. The parking lot is extremely small, and it’s shared with people parking there just for the view. On a busy day, it’s best to be there early (like before 10:00 AM). Alternatively, you can park along the highway and have a longer walk. Or you can just wait in the parking lot for someone to leave, which can take quite a while. We have done all three of these strategies on different visits. Going early seems to be the best bet.

Be sure to bring your own picnic food and drinks. The visitor’s center might sell a few snack items (like candy bars, water, and ice cream), but you’re better off being self-sufficient.

Visited August 2012
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Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“What A Hike!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

It was an easy mile down but a tough mile up again. Definitely don't recommend for those who have a tough time with exertion. It was a beautiful walk, however, and a beautiful house, even though we weren't able to tour it. It was closed up for the winter. The lake and beach there was breathtaking. Wanting to go back so I can see the inside. I had to look up pictures of the interior online, which will do for now, I suppose. It is all free if you don't (or can't) take the tour.

Visited April 2013
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Fresno, California
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“awesome”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

a beautiful 1.5 mile walk down to the shore of the lake and the house. funky, crazy, beautiful old place. totally idyllic experience. The walk back up the hill is strenuous for out of shape people, but a totally great, non casino experience.

Visited March 2013
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