Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 527 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Rubicon Trail is a 16.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

Distance: 16.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,306 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

beach

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

D.L. Bliss State Park is CLOSED to vehicular traffic for the winter (approximately mid-October). When the park gate is closed, pedestrians may park at the Visitor's Center near highway 89 and access the park from sunrise-sunset. It is an approximately 1 mile hike from the Vistor's Center to the closest Rubicon Trailhead, and a steep 2 mile hike to the beaches. All park regulations apply during the off-season. No restrooms or water available. SUMMER: $10 fee per vehicle is due for entering the park 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.

hiking
rocky
1 day ago

This is the most beautiful hike that you MUST do if you are coming to hike Lake Tahoe for the first time. My husband and I did approx 18 miles as we hiked in from DL Bliss park. We recommend if you don’t want to do the entire hike then at least go to Eagle Falls for a nice waterfall. Your shoes will likely get dusty and wet on this trail as well. Bring lots of water and sunblock! Enjoy!!

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful hike

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike Stunning views of lake and water

hiking
9 days ago

If you’re in Lake Tahoe this is the trail to do. You can run the whole trail or walk. We ran most of it. We also stopped by a small cove and swam for a minute. Get there before 8 AM!!!

hiking
10 days ago

Rubicon trail- Left from Emerald Bay Parking lot at 8:30 am - got back at 2. iPhone measured 11 miles on the nose- we started at Vikingholm and ended at Bliss Park and return. The hike is easy, got hot on our return. Moderate hiker traffic, lots of shade in the morning. The views are OUTSTANDING, absolutely PHENOMENAL. No bathrooms on this trail except the parks. Crossed two creeks, easy. Very dry and dusty. The worst part was climbing the road from Vikingholm to the parking lot- WOW, very steep and hot. Excellent hike, very clean, well maintained and friendly hikers. Recommend very early start to avoid hiker traffic and hot weather.

hiking
10 days ago

Great views! Go in the morning to avoid the crowds. We started at D.L. Bliss and hiked to Emerald Bay for nice 8 mile.

Didn't complete the full run, but from what I saw, great trail. Pretty easy hike, with incredible views. However, we took the chance and went on the week of July 4th. Never, ever, ever again! The misery of getting to and from the trailhead made it hard to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings. It wasn't until my girlfriend and I were able to isolate ourselves a bit, that we could really have some fun. Aside from the overwhelming stupid people joining us on the trail that day, the hike and lake itself were absolutely stunning and I'd love to go back in the off season. But I strongly advise against going during the holidays like such, unless you enjoy stand still traffic on your way to nature.

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing views!

hiking
17 days ago

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hiking
18 days ago

Started from Eagle point campground, parking lot off to the left after site #33. Day use fee is $10. IT's very pretty and not too difficult. The trail is out and back, so the hardest part is the final uphill part at the end as you come back to the parking. Not all that crowded given the time of year, there were a lot of people around the swimming area down in emerald bay, but the trails weren't crowded.

hiking
19 days ago

I had initially said that Sleeping Bear Dunes was the prettiest place I had seen in the states, but the Rubicon Trail Trumps that hands down. We hiked from DL Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay which totaled around 8 miles there and back. The hike out was pretty simple because it was mainly downhill but the returning trip was a little more challenging. Every turn you make there is a BEAUTIFUL view. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Great views of the teal, clear water of Lake Tahoe and snow capped mountains. I suggest parking in DL Bliss State Park because it’s free and right by the trailhead. Also, getting an early start (8am) is key because the trail is basically all to yourself but returning by early afternoon is definitely a lot busier. HIGHLY recommend this trail. It was stunning.

hiking
20 days ago

The great thing about this trail is that, no matter where you decide to turn around, you’ve seen the best view. It has beautiful views of the lake all the way along. The terrain changes up quite frequently, so it stays interesting. Very populated trail, and parking can be limited at the Bliss end, so an early start would be best.

hiking
20 days ago

Left from Emerald Bay SP parking lot at 8:15 am and hiked down to Vikingsholm. Trail was relatively quiet at that hour, with enchanting morning light and shadow. We especially liked the way the lake changes color in the different light from different perspectives. Vikingsholm is a shady enclave with clean restrooms and a Visitors Center. Strongly recommend the 1/4 mile detour hike to Eagle Falls. Return was a climb, but gradual, and with varying steepness.

hiking
21 days ago

Only did part of this trail but lovely views along emerald bay. Recommend for any one.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy stroll along the lake. Lots of trail runners out. Fairly crowded so best to get an early start.

awesome trail, great swimming spots and views.

hiking
1 month ago

We didnt want to start at Vikingsholm (because its way too many people there and because we already seen this side of the lake when did Eagle falls). So our start point was Calawee Cove beach (drive to DL Bliss state park, pay $10 to get in, another mile from the entry gate to the beach parking). Very nice trail, cliffs, stone steps, walk through the forest.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! We started at Eagle Point Campground, which was closed. We had to park on the highway and hike in to the trailhead. It was nice because we had the trail to ourself the first couple of miles. Birding was great— we saw our first Pileated Woodpecker and a bunch of nesting Ospreys. Super rad! All in all it was a beautiful hike, but long. By the afternoon it was pretty hot and I would definitely recommend sunscreen and a hat.

hiking
1 month ago

It is one of the most scenic hike in Tahoe area. We hiked on Friday and again on Saturday with our friends. It is good for all age groups depending on your fitness level.

hiking
1 month ago

GPS clocked us at 14 miles and it took us about 7 hours with lunch and stops for photos. If I could suggest anything it would be to stop at eagle falls right past the beach. The beach is a great spot to eat lunch at but if you keep going you're gonna hit a giant hill with nothing but a tiny "ampitheatre" at the top which is just some benches lined up. You do get a nice view of the other side of the mountain but it's debatable if it's worth the climb for just that alone. You'll probably add another hour and a half to the hike. Not worth it unless you have a car parked on the other side. We ended up getting to the top then just going back down to the beach for lunch. There's some kayak rentals, a visitor center, and some asshole geese at the beach to have some fun with if you wanna add some activities to your hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail...this is a nice trail for everyone as there are not many inclines or hills to worry about. Great views of the Bay. Even younger children or less experienced hikers can enjoy this trail. We saw several osprey nests high in the trees.

hiking
1 month ago

A wonderful trail with waterfalls, breathtaking tall trees, lovely scent of pine and cool breezes from Emerald Bay. Is definitely come back!

1 month ago

Love this trail along Lake Tahoe 's blue water

hiking
1 month ago

On the easier side. Breathtaking. Touristy.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Awesome hike. Beautiful scenery.

hiking
closed
muddy
rocky
washed out
2 months ago

I had to park further up 89 and hike down to the trail, mid point. Went down as far as I could go but there was a big tree trunk in the trail. Ran into a jogger who said she saw a bear so turned around and went the other way. Went all the way to emerald bay and around, beautiful day, and a great hike if I could give ten stars I would, great trail!

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