Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park
5
Monday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
With photo opportunities at every turn, this idyllic bay in Lake Tahoe is a must-see. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, Emerald Bay State Park is known for its large granite peaks and hiking trails. The best way to soak in the awe-inspiring landscapes is along the Eagle Falls Vista Point Loop or Rubicon Trail. Be sure to tour the Vikingsholm Castle in the summer months—this landmark boasts fine Scandinavian architecture and has an interesting history. Those who prefer jumping into the cool waters can go kayaking or scuba diving too. Parking at Emerald Bay is limited, so arrive early to snag a spot. – Tripadvisor
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  • Kimberly J
    Leesburg, Virginia31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Gorgeous scenery, great hike - not to be missed
    The attached pictures do not do this venue justice! The trails are very well marked with mild ups and downs. Our group had a 58 year old, and three 24 year olds. We saw people of all ages, although the older folks were fit and the younger kids held their adult's hand. The scenery on the Rubicon Trail leading to the waterfalls was absolutely heavenly. We hiked to the bigger water fall and then on a bit to the Vikingsholm Castle. There were a couple of muddy patches on the trail but nothing we couldn't traverse. Parking was the best $10 I spent on this trip!
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 28, 2023
  • SLKspingirl
    527 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the prettiest spots on Lake Tahoe
    Beautiful spot! We took the advice to arrive early and enjoyed the sunrise over the lake from one of the roadside stops along Hwy 89. It’s a long walk down to the beach and even longer going back up, always fun at 6,000 feet elevation. We also hiked to upper and lower Eagle Falls. Both flowing very well for early August! We did not have a chance to tour Vikingsholm as we had to leave before the first tour at 10:30. But the beauty of this bay is beyond words.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 9, 2023
  • Ash D
    San Jose, California71 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Gorgeous sunset location!
    Inspiration Point in Emerald Bay State Park is a beautiful overlook located in Lake Tahoe, California. Sunsets are gorgeous! Do visit it around sunset! It offers breathtaking panoramic views of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island, making it a popular destination for hikers and visitors. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe surrounded by the lush greenery of the Sierra Nevada mountains create a stunning backdrop for nature enthusiasts and photographers. It's an excellent spot for a scenic hike or a peaceful moment of reflection while taking in the natural beauty of the area.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 15, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles925 reviews
Excellent
767
Very good
130
Average
15
Poor
4
Terrible
9

terryprod
Palm Desert, CA107 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Emerald Bay State Park is a must see if you go to Lake Tahoe. From the parking lot you walk down a dirt road 1 mile to the beach. It is a fairly easy walk going down, but you will have to stop several times going back up. Usually they are renting kayaks down on the beach, but with CV19 the company isn't there right now. We brought an inflatable kayak from Big 5 to paddle around in the bay. If you have small kids, there is a swimming beach that has sand roped off on the shore. The water is in the 50's in July though. If you feel like to can kayak a mile to the island in the bay , that would make your day. The tours of the Viking house on the beach are cancelled for now, but you can still walk around it and venture into the gift shop there.
Written July 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Scott Griest
Manhattan Beach, CA394 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
Absolutely beautiful park with hiking and beaches. Best to visit by boat that you can rent from the local marinas, but that's pricey.

Tip: Go early in the day (before 9am) if you can before the wind picks up. Most likely the water will be glassy smooth and the visibility is incredible (plus lots of parking available then!)
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shanelle
Santa Monica, CA2,793 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Family
Picturesque park with hiking, water sports, and even a castle. There’s very limited parking at the Emerald Bay Beach lot ($10 to park) so either get here early or park along the highway and walk. When we got there at 9:30am on a Saturday, the lot there as well as at the Eagle falls trailhead were already full, so we had to park about a mile up and walk down. It’s a mile long walk downhill to get to the beach / Rubicon Trail / Vikingsholm Castle. There’s a visitor center where you can buy tickets for a tour of the Vikingsholm Castle or use the public restrooms. There are picnic tables at the beach.

There is a kayak rental place that’s first-come, first serve (they offer single and double kayaks for an hour or all-day basis). The water was super cold and there weren’t a lot of people swimming when we went. We also went down the rubicon trail for a short while, which was paved and flat. There was a good amount of shade at that trail but you should wear sunglasses because the sun was very strong. It’s an extremely short walk to check out the lower falls from the parking lot. There are benches along the emerald bay beach trail for you to rest should you need to. Overall, the park is great for a variety of activities, for all ages.
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JCastello85
South Lake Tahoe, CA9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020 • Couples
Such a beautiful sight. Absolutely breathtaking.
The drive up the mountains can be a little nerve racking because the cliff is on both sides of the road at some points but definitely worth the drive.
Parking is pretty hard to find, we went at noon on a Saturday and the street was lined with vehicles.
Written June 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria del Carme... Z
Quito, Ecuador205 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
This is an amazing place! The views are spectacular, there are lots of trails, walking paths, and places to just see and admire the views. I am short of words to describe the place. You have to see it to appreciate the beauty of Lake Tahoe and Emerald waters so clear and transparent you cannot believe it.
Written October 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rommel L
chino hills, United States27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Emerald Bay State Park was just about 30 minutes from Tahoe City. Parking is limited. But if you do find parking, it is $10 parking fee. The hike down the lake is an easy 1 mile winding path. At the end is a sand beach access to the lake with a pier for a platform swim cannon ball.

Just a little further from the parking to the right is also an easy lower and upper eagle falls hike. The falls was small. Probably bigger after the winter months.
Written July 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alacrout
Los Angeles, CA160 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Family
You really can’t go wrong with any part of Lake Tahoe, as the whole thing is surrounded by stunning mountain views.

The views can get a little hazy during bad fire seasons, but still a beautiful area.

Hard to pick a definitive “best” part of the Lake, but Emerald Bay is certainly up there as one of the best parts.

The color of the water lives up to the name of “Emerald.” In the middle of the Bay, there’s a cute little island that is the ONLY island in Lake Tahoe. You can kayak, canoe, or boat to the island (NOT swim) and see the ruins of “Tea House,” where a quirky captain lived in the 1800s.

Inspiration Point is a necessary stop on your way through the park—it gives you one of the best views of the entire Bay.

Be sure to check out Vikingsholm too! :)
Written October 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SLKspingirl
Texas527 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Beautiful spot! We took the advice to arrive early and enjoyed the sunrise over the lake from one of the roadside stops along Hwy 89. It’s a long walk down to the beach and even longer going back up, always fun at 6,000 feet elevation. We also hiked to upper and lower Eagle Falls. Both flowing very well for early August! We did not have a chance to tour Vikingsholm as we had to leave before the first tour at 10:30. But the beauty of this bay is beyond words.
Written August 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joseph Robba
Charlotte, NC2,255 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
Emerald Bay is one of my new favorite places on Planet Earth. The water from Lake Tahoe is so beautiful, and Emerald Bay itself has lots of ways to enjoy the lake. We hiked down to Vikingsholm, which I'm not going to lie, is challenging getting back up the hill for those not in the greatest shape, or those dragging young ones with them. Inspiration Point is an awesome vista to be able to take in the majesty of Emerald Bay, but the best way to see the area is simply to get on a boat and drive around the bay. The water is much calmer in the bay than out on the lake, and it's a great place to hang out.
Written October 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

In79days
Las Vegas, NV46 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
The natural beauty of the area is undeniable. But the park is so poorly organized, and there are so many equally beautiful parks around Tahoe, we'll never go again. For example, as an alternative, Sand Harbor on the Nevada side is as beautiful, and so much better run.

The parking at Emerald Bay is a nightmare, even on quiet days. We paid for parking, supposedly valid for all lots in the park, and displayed as instructed. But we were given a parking ticket because we were 'in the wrong lot'. Different lots within the park are run by different agencies, but that is poorly communicated, and unless you know the system, you are quite likely to get caught like we did. When we hiked down to the beach, kayak rentals were all closed, although the Ranger at the top of the trail didn't know this, and simply referred us to the website. The reason given was that the 'air was too dangerous to breath', although it was't too dangerous to allow tourists to hike, pay for parking, or for the Rangers to patrol and hand out tickets. Sand Harbor by comparison has a simple parking system with a gate, flashing signs that warn if parking is full several miles from the pro, and fully staffed kayak rentals
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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