We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

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

Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Improve this listing
Book ahead on Viator
and up
Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Level Contributor
158 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Beautiful hike for families”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 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
Thank patriotic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

420 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lansing, MI
Level Contributor
65 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 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
1 Thank travel_chick1674
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
369 reviews
145 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 543 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
Thank Jim_and_Barbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 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
Thank Kellyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
107 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 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
Thank olddaddydude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Vikingsholm also viewed

South Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe (California)
South Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe (California)
Lake Tahoe (California), CA
South Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe (California)

Been to Vikingsholm? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing