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questions about Rubicon Trail

Atlanta area
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questions about Rubicon Trail

Hi all, will be visiting Lake Tahoe for only part of a day in early June, with my 11 year old daughter. Thinking about the Heavenly gondola and also hiking Cascade Falls above Emerald Bay. Would like to finish our partial day by hiking part or all of the Rubicon Trail between DL Bliss and Emerald Bay. A few questions for those familiar with the trail:

1) Is there any service to take you from one trailhead to the other so you can leave your car at your ending point for a one-way hike? We definitely don't have time to do the whole thing round trip.

2) If not, then we can do only part of the trail out and then back to where we started. I know there is a substantial hill to get from parking to Vikingsholm, uphill at the end, but not clear about elevation difference between parking and trailhead at the DL Bliss end. Basically we don't want to have a big uphill to face at the end of the hike, is parking at DL Bliss more level to/from the trailhead?

3) I have read some descriptions of the trail, and it seems that if we start at DL Bliss we will go to Rubicon Point, past some large, interesting boulder/rock formations, a stretch that is cut into a cliff with a guardrail, and the old lighthouse. It seems from there (going south) that the trail then turns inland away from the lake for a while. My question here is, about how far from DL Bliss are some of these landmarks? If we are to double back to our starting point then we will need to determine what is the midpoint of our total hike, but we wouldn't want to turn around if we knew something really great to see was just around the next bend. Knowing about how far some of these landmarks are from DL Bliss will help our planning.

Thanks in advance.

Lassen National...
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1. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

I see no one has answered your questions yet. Here is an excellent website with a trail description. I have only hiked from the Vikingshlm side out and back. The grade going down to Vikingsholm is not too bad.

http://kevingong.com/Hiking/RubiconTrail.html

California
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2. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

In early June the Heavenly Gondola will likely not be open for scenic rides. It closes at the end of ski season, it may be open for Memorial Day weekend but then doesn't open for the season until about mid June. But keep your eye on their website in any event.

In mid June you can take the Nifty Fifty Trolly to get between Blue Go public transit in the south and TART in the north and west. Though you could catch it at Bliss to Emerald Bay the thing is that the hike between the lake and the road at DL Bliss is looooong and very hilly. It would be better to drive down to DL Bliss which has limited parking but is very flat in the parking lot and hike half way and then hike back to your car. You will have seen much of Emerald Bay so you may appreciate the views for DL Bliss.

Edited: 11:33 pm, April 14, 2012
Atlanta area
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3. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

Thanks suzie and travelingrunner. I am familiar with Kevin's hiking reviews but had not looked at his site for info on Rubicon Trail, thanks for that tip.

Was not aware that the Heavenly gondola closes between ski season and "summer." Their website says nothing of this and in fact says the gondola is open seven days a week and all four seasons. Clearly a phone call to them is in order to get the skinny.

After much more internet surfing I did find a couple of references to the Nifty Fifty Trolley and also the Tahoe Trolley, curious that I had to dig so much to find them. I will be calling both of them to get clarification.

Helpful info on the hike itself -- I am finding lots of contradictory info about this trail. I've seen it listed as a roundtrip of anywhere from 6 to 14 miles, and also listed as anywhere from moderately strenuous to easy even for little children. I'm sure each of these is correct in its own way (for example, seems that some mean "round trip" from DL Bliss all the way up the hill from Vikingsholm while others mean only to Emerald Point, they probably are thinking of different starting points, etc).

After much more digging I did find a more detailed map of DL Bliss that clears up some of my confusion (…ca.gov/pages/…BlissCampgroundMap061807.pdf) . There are several parking areas in DL Bliss, so depending where you start you may travel towards Emerald Bay only southward or you may have the option of first heading north to Rubicon Point and then looping back to the south.

I think I have some good info to be following up on now, I'll report back when I find out more. Thanks!

Lassen National...
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4. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

Lots of good info JR. I think sometimes you may be forced to park further out because of all the people visiting. On the Tahoe Milers website they describe the trail from DL Bliss & indicate that the first 4 miles are on pavement.

Lassen National...
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5. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

You can use http://www.mapmyrun.com to map the trail. It's for any activity & free. It has topo maps, which almost always show trails. Sometimes, I'll use the satellite map if there aren't a lot of trees. You should be able to see the lighthouse on the topo or satellite. Then you can save your route & look at the elevation profile. It costs something to print your map though. You can make notes & that should be enough to help you for your trip. Those maps are difficult to view on your phone if you have a smartphone.

Atlanta area
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6. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

Cool site! It actually doesn't show the lighthouse or the smaller trails like the Lighthouse Trail, but this together with the other map I found should definitely give me a sense of where to start and distances. Thanks!

California
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7. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

The parking is all down at the beach. It may look big or like there are several parking lots but parking is really limited. As the map says "Not to scale" and they aren't kidding! :)

Napa, CA
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8. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

JR - make sure you take your daughter to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center right off Hwy 89 on your way to Emerald Bay. There's a stream profile chamber there and nature trail that kids really enjoy.

sierranevadageotourism.org/content/taylor-cr…

Last time we were there, we saw a bear but that was in the fall with all the berries ripening along the trail and the lake salmon spawning in the creek.

Edited: 1:16 pm, April 15, 2012
Atlanta area
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9. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

That originally was on my list, for a quick visit but less hiking, then I scratched it for more hiking. Now that I can see the trail maps and get a handle on it, I see how a short loop could be done around Rubicon Point and the lighthouse, maybe even dip down the trail a bit as it heads to Emerald Point but keep it short, and that might be a way to leave some time for Taylor Creek.

Atlanta area
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10. Re: questions about Rubicon Trail

Quick update: Suzie is right about the Heavenly gondola, it will be open Memorial Day weekend and then closes until Sat June 8 when they start their summer schedule. That means they end up skipping one weekend between Memorial Day and the season start, the weekend we will be there... =/

So now our itinerary could allow time to see more around Emerald Bay and also Taylors Creek. Thanks.

Edited: 4:24 pm, April 18, 2012