D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay State Park via Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 52 reviews
#2 of 3 trails in

D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay State Park via Rubicon Trail is a 7.3 mile out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and birding and is best used from June until September.

7.3 miles
1,020 feet
Out & Back



trail running




no dogs

1 day ago

Beautiful bay views. Steady up and down so not difficult. Arriving on Emerald bay area, several spots for a swim on the lakeside. Worthy !

16 days ago

Park down by the campground to avoid walking on the road... great views. Bring your suit for little beach swim.

17 days ago

Excellent trail with lots of varied scenery ending at a great little uncrowded beach

20 days ago

One of my favorite hikes!

1 month ago

This trail is excellent.. We are not expert hikers neither do we hike often but it very doable. It starts off with a climb up so don’t take off at great speed pace yourself.. My husband has a bad knee but was able to do the whole hike., he did wear a strap. The views are wonderful. It was a Friday morning we started off at 10.30am got to Emerald bay for lunch walked up to Eagle Falls just behind the beach and we returned back to DLBliss at 5.30 pm after a short stop to dip our feet in the lake. I would highly recommend this hike....it is arduous and probably longer than I anticipated when we set out but so worth it. A great day.

Loved this trail! Took the Lighthouse Trail to start which is the steeper way. You can access the Rubicon from the lighthouse parking area. Gorgeous views! Great way to really get a sense of the area. Do not believe the signs that say parking is full. You can park in the lighthouse area most likely.

2 months ago

Beautiful views, but not for the person with bad knees

2 months ago

We were a group of 11 people - ages range from 10 to 58 and everybody had a great time. Very doable. Spectacular views and well kept trail. Congested towards Vikingsholm but otherwise a great hike.

3 months ago

Beautiful hike. We went during the week, and the trails were nearly clear. Mild to moderate intensity, but amazing views. Saw a lot of wildlife Just past Emerald Bay. We plan on coming back to hike the rest of the lake.

5 months ago

Amazing views once you get to Rubicon and head towards Emerald Bay. Bit slippery in parts with the snow so make sure to wear appropriate shoes.

6 months ago

It was a great hike today not much snow!

6 months ago

Spectacular view with fresh water coming right out of the mountain

9 months ago

This hike is one of my favorites on the West Shore! During the off-season, the trail is clear and you are able to really enjoy the spectacular views. I have done this hike a few other times, in the summer, and it's a mess with all the tourists.
Note: they are doing controlled burning at DL Bliss right now, so you have to park at the top lot and walk down. That alone tacks on an extra mile or so.

11 months ago

Great hike! We came her on Labor Day Weekend on the Sunday to park @ DL Bliss Park. After reading all of these reviews, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find parking...we arrived @ DL Bliss around 9am, and there was actually plenty of parking!! The hike itself is as what everybody has been saying...very scenic, you are hiking on the side of emerald bay the whole way so theres always water to see! Lots of shade as well. No dogs were allowed, and we did see at least 1 ranger so be careful! When you reach Emerald Bay, be sure to rent a kayak ($25/hr for one person kayak) and sail to the tea house island! Don't forget to grab a popsicle at the Visitors Center as well! We loved the hike, it was about a 8 mile hike altogether but I wouldn't say its a moderate hike..I'd say in between easy-moderate, as there are still inlines you have to do.

11 months ago

Tough trail but the views are worth it. And you can find spots to get in the water.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I was there last week. Stunning at every turn. Moderate-light or Easy + is what i rate it. Found great place for lunch at waters edge just before the boat-only campground. Look for the steps leading to the water.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

stunning views. easy access and well marked. elevation gains were gradual.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Steep walking at times. Not recommended for anyone without physical stamina. Lots of people had to stop and rest and catch their breath going back to the top to finish. Emerald Bay itself is beautiful and picturesque. Lots and lots of people. Good luck finding a parking spot.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The trail itself is great with nice views of Tahoe. The down side is the crowds on the trail and the difficult parking situation. If you don't get there early, there is no parking space. No dogs. Go on this trail out of season. The Cal Park Law Enforcement Rangers are not friendly or helpful and we encountered a lady ranger who was abusive when we misunderstood instructions. We were threatened with fines and kicked out of the park. Same ranger threatened a church group with expulsion at Sugar Pine Park when a bear took out a car window during the night.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

We started on the DL Bliss side and hiked around to the boat ramp in Emerald Bay. Stunning views, well maintained trail and overall very enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Started at Emerald Bay State Park and made our way to Vikingsholm. Several speed bumps left by local bears. A bit windy but a great hike.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A beautiful trail with outstanding vistas. We started at DL Bliss State Park, hiked to Vikingsholm, took the tour and hiked back. Made for a long day, but WELL worth it! We all had a wonderful time and will make this an annual event!
For some reason I can't upload more than a few of my photos, so I'll include a link to my blog.

paddle sports
Friday, November 23, 2012

We camped at D.L. Bliss campsite on the west shore of Lake Tahoe north of Hwy 50 just off Hwy 89. We canoed 10 miles (round trip) from D.L. Bliss Campground into Emerald Bay, around Fannette Island, past VIKINGSHOLM and that whole area by canoe is amazingly beautiful. Make sure to get your reservations at D.L. Bliss campground early because it is a very popular campground in the summer.

9 days ago

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