Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 66 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Rubicon Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, CA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until September.

8.3 miles 866 feet Out & Back




fly fishing


mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

sea kayaking

trail running


whitewater kayaking





wild flowers



Two parks in a day - D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks The Rubicon Trail along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is a gem! It's easily accessible and has some of the best views on Tahoe. It's absolutely a hike one can look forward to repeatedly. The Rubicon covers a lot of terrain. There are flats, undulating short elevation gains and drops, and twists along some stunning shoreline cliffs. The trail dips into secluded coves, and along easily accessible shorelines in Emerald Bay. At both the beginning of the trail and end are a campgrounds, also along the south shore of Emerald Bay, you can find active nesting area for Eagles. Tree coverage includes sugar pines in D.L. Bliss and overall coverage throughout the balance including ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, firs, incense cedar, and Sierra juniper. Along the streams grow alders, quaking aspen, mountain dogwood, service berry and bitter cherry, and black cottonwood. Wildflowers include columbine, leopard lily, lupine, bleeding heart, yellow monkey flower and nightshade. The bulk of the brush includes ceanothus, chinquapin, currant, gooseberry, huckleberry, and manzanita.

3 minutes ago


The rubicon trail was beautiful. The trail is along the lake shore and very well shaded too! It cuts across a few camp grounds when starting from the emerald bay entrance ( vikingsholm parking lot ). This is NOT a loop. The trail starts at vikingsholm parking lot and ends at rubicon point. Its nearly 4.5 miles one way. The intensity level is moderate. Lot of openings to the lake shore from the trail which makes it a perfect picture spot!

1 day ago

2 days ago


one of the most beautiful trails I've hiked.

4 days ago


7 days ago

one of my all time favorite hikes near emerald bay--my husband and I look forward to it every year. last time we hiked down to vikingsholm from that trailhead and out via Rubicon and my dad shuttled us, so it was a one way trek. lovely!

9 days ago


Came in at Bliss state park. Crowded on a week day. Had to park above the check in area. Joined the trail near the lighthouse trail entrance heading to Emerald Bay to swim. It's a nice trail, mostly dirt, sand. Up and down with beautiful views and great places to stop and swim before you get to the main Emerald Bay beach area. Just under 4 miles to main beach. Lots of the trail is shaded which was nice on our hot day. Very popular and crowded places. Parking is tough on weekdays and much worse weekends. Beach is nice, beautiful water but crowded with boats. Had bee issues and it made it almost impossible to eat anything on the beach. This hike and beach has always been a family favorite. There is a small bathroom in the beach area and one at Bliss before we hiked.

13 days ago


Second time this summer. It's warmer, less flowers and waterfall not as full - but still Tahoe BEST day hike! Took a good friend for longest hike in his 45 year old life. And you guessed it - he loved it!

14 days ago

19 days ago


Stunning views. The big payoff is Emerald Bay.

20 days ago

So beautiful

23 days ago

1 month ago

Fantastic views of the lake along most of the trail and relatively flat. This is a gem.

1 month ago

1 month ago


make sure to end at a beach so you can cool your toes.

1 month ago


Great hike

1 month ago


Eagle Falls has dramatically changed this year. Check out my photo showing 2015 / 2016. You won't want to miss it this year!

1 month ago


Beautiful day! I have done this trail before but brought a friend who has never been to emerald bay and she said it was her new favorite hike. Great views of the lake and the trail is well kept. Definitely going again

1 month ago


This hike was absolutely stunning. Being fresh off a knee injury I was able to complete the hike from D.L. Bliss state park from the rubicon trail head and turned around once in emerald bay at the historic Viking Holm. It's a moderately difficult trail. There are some sections that are slightly rocky but the rocks are positioned like steps. I started the hike about 930Am and parked near the entrance by the ranger station. There is a $10 fee for day use parking, there are three more parking lots if you continue down the paved road to Lester Beach. If you park near the entrance like I did you will walk the paved path for maybe a couple minutes and turn right on the trail head for rubicon. The trail is gorgeous and worth making the trek to emerald bay. Wear good hiking shoes, sunscreen, and bug spray. The trail was approximately 50% shaded but this would differ obviously with the time you start and finish the trail. There are restrooms at the start of the trail and once you get to the boat-in camping in emerald bay. Bring lots of water!!! Be safe and have fun!

2 months ago

Easy and breathtaking

2 months ago


Breathtaking views. Dead flat - except the steep walk down and then back up to the parking. Plenty of great spots to sit on a beach and take a chilly swim. Waters truly blue like the Caribbean.