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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.

Length 16.4 mi Elevation gain 2,306 ft Route type Out & Back

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Running

Beach

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Fee

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (34)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

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.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

D.L. Bliss: The park is located 17 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, a couple of miles north of Emerald Bay. Latitude: 38.9779 Longitude: -120.103 Park Office Telephone: (530) 525-7277 Summer (530) 525-7232 Emerald Bay: The park is located 22 miles south of Tahoe City. Park Office Telephone: (530) 541-3030 Dogs are allowed in the parks on roads and developed areas only. They must be kept on a six-foot leash and in an enclosed vehicle or tent at night. Dogs are not permitted on the trails, on beaches or in the Vikingsholm area. Seasons/Climate, D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay: Summer temperatures range from about 75 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 degrees; during extremely cold winters Emerald Bay freezes over. Camping: Between the parks there are 268 family campsites, each with a table, food locker and stove, plus nearby restrooms and hot showers. Although there are no hookups, some sites at D.L. Bliss will accommodate trailers up to 15 feet or motor homes up to 18 feet. Emerald Bay can accommodate trailers up to 18 feet or motor homes up to 21 feet. The D.L. Bliss group campground will accommodate up to 50 people, with a limit of 10 cars. Reserve all campsites by calling (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov. Twenty primitive campsites are reachable by boat. While the parks themselves have no launching facilities, boats can be launched from private facilities about 6 miles to the north or south. Scuba diving is allowed in the underwater park. D.L. Bliss SP facilities are closed during the. The campground is open from late May through Labor Day. Please call for specific dates. Emerald Bay: Eagle Point Campground and Boat Camp are closed in winter. They are generally open from late May or early June through Labor Day. Please call for specific dates. There are Black Bears in the area. See the parks websites for more information during an encounter. Food Storage Locker Information Metal bear-resistant food lockers are provided in each campsite. All food, beverages, and toiletries are required by law to be stored in provided food lockers. The inside dimensions of the food lockers are 36" deep, 43" wide, and 22" high.

Directions from South Lake Tahoe: Take Highway 89 north 10 miles to D.L. Bliss State Park. There is a fee for day use parking.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (864)
Photos (1721)
Recordings (608)
Completed (1859)
Philip Roemer
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Hiking

Awesome! My new favorite

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Peter Pelham
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Hiking

Outstanding scenery and lots of shade. Highly recommended. Make sure you park very early in the morning, anytime after 7 AM

View Peter's Recording
Barbara Bauer
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Hiking

Wonderful trail, spectacular views of the lake and Emerald Bay. Mostly shaded. Areas to fill your water bottle and use the loo at the top and bottom near visitor center. Nice waterfall. We parked at the street level and hiked down to bay (visitors center) and back - about 7 miles.

Taylor Gardner
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Hiking

A favorite in the Tahoe area. It’s beautiful and mostly water/cliff side. The trail is well maintained. There are some rocky traverses, but nothing crazy. Overall, gorgeous terrain and a scenic bypass of Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Area. Only note is you may have to park a ways from the trail head. (Up a big steep road). I think the actual trail is like 13 miles, the estimate here includes the walk to and from the car parking areas. Another way to clip a couple miles is to turnaround at the middle of the Bay at Vikingsholm. Going up to Eagle Point is okay, but I wouldn’t do it again.

Jamie Z
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HikingGreat!

Happy mix of ups, downs, and flat areas with good amount of shade. Well kept and marked. Lots of great views of Tahoe. Was able to park right at the trailhead at D L Bliss Park by arriving at 8:30am on a summer Friday. Bonus that is passes through 3+ campsites where there are restrooms and fountains for this longer trail.

Elke Klinkhammer
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Hiking

Amazing trail, stunning views. Absolutely beautiful. Start early, less traffic and take your time to hang or go for a swim. Hiked from Bliss parking lot to Emerald Bay and return. It’s an easy super rewarding hike. Wear a mask and you’re good to go.

Tracy Reynolds
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Hiking

A new favorite! Since I had just hiked a different section of the Rubicon Trail last week, I opted for the Lighthouse Rubicon Loop today. Gorgeous! Less traffic, scenic and a bit more challenging. You still have to hike in from the main road (89) but not as far as last week’s hike. In fact, it would be better to start both hikes from here (the park entrance), in my opinion.

View Tracy's Recording
haley saul
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Hiking

This trail changed my life. Worth every step. Don’t worry about running out of water because there is a water fill up station at one of the camps, but that was the only one we found so drink up when you’re there. Also please note that when you’re coming up to a little side trail that takes you to see some waterfalls...totally worth the extra 2 miles. Highly highly highly recommend. With the detour and stopping and all it took us around 7ish hours to complete. Best 7 hours of my life.

Berni Prado
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Hiking

A bit crowded at the start but amazing views!

Summer Whitley
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HikingFee

This trail was great. The views were amazing! It has a good mix of both up and downhill so you get your workout in. Pretty cool to be able to say you hiked around the entire cove, also the old wooden lighthouse was a neat surprise. :)

View Summer's Recording
Marisa Hansen
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Hiking

We only did part of the trail. About 1/10 people wore masks The trail itself is beautiful, great views. Good exercise and the water is so refreshing.

Adam Lorona
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HikingRocky
View Adam's Recording
Mari R
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Hiking

Arrive by 10am. The views of the lake are very beautiful.

C Brink
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Hiking

Beautiful trail with stunning views of the lake. There are places to swim, get water and just take in all of the beauty!

Dulce Carolina
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Hiking

Stunning views of the bay!! Water cristal clear and perfect to swing! The day was really really hot and this was the only thing we didn’t enjoy.

Nicholas Schaumkel
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HikingFee

Great trail overall. Beautiful view of the Lake Tahoe along the trail. There’s little incline but doable. Highly recommend. Lots of shade as well. It does tend to get busy so recommend going early. I live in the Bay Area and we left at 5am and when we got there around 7:30am there was already good amount of people. There is a $10 parking fee.

Kristin Steer
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HikingNo shade
Michael Villegas
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HikingGreat!
View Michael's Recording
Hal Markowitz
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Hiking

Well marked, heavy use on Sat July 4th. Long almost paved walk from trail to parking.

View Hal's Recording
Raquel Yu
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Hiking

Amazing hike and views. It was fairly easy until the last stretch to our car, which was a mile incline. We did a short cut of this trail by getting 2 cars and parking one at emerald bay and one at DL Bliss, so it was only 4.5 miles for us. You can bring slippers and swim suit if you want to swim. Highly recommend this hike!

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Michelle Fieseler
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Hiking

This place had it ALL!!! Beautiful spacious campground surrounded by trees, and several spots right by the lake! We got there around 6:45am and were able to secure a parking spot right by the beach. ($10 to park, bring cash). Since that beach tends to fill up fast, we set up our sunshade and towels first, the started the hike. The Rubicon Trail is actually a 8.2 one way hike from D.L. Bliss to Emerald Bay. We decided to do just one hour in and then walked back. The trail is impeccably manicured with huge boulders, lake views, sand and rock steps, shade, sun and plush forest.

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Pablo Jimenez
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Hiking

Stunning views and a well maintained trail. It had just the right amount of challenge. Took another post’s advice and paid $10 to park at the trail head. Hiked to Vikingshlom Castle and back. Didn’t expect to see a waterfall which was a pleasant surprise.

Minhchau Tran
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HikingRocky
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Vita Danchuk
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Hiking

Fun trail! Views are BEAUTIFUL. We only did a few miles but looking forward to hiking more! 10/10 recommend.

Mao Moua
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

This trail was a great hike especially with the lake right there all the time as you hike. Come early as you can find parking closer to the trail.

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Georgy Charyev
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Hiking

Pros: + Great views on Tahoe lake, forest, waterfall and mountains + Moderate difficulty Cons: - Mainly enjoyed views in the 2nd half of the trail - If you left car at starting point, then you would need to return back by following the same route (i.e. not circular route) Conclusion: well-deserved 4 stars:)

Margaretta Margaretta Williams
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful trail. The absolute perfect trail for Lake shore definitely moderate need to be in shape for the full trail of course. Beautiful Sunny day I decide little bit of clouds we went on a Saturday so there is quite a few people but it wasn't pad will definitely be doing this again

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Elizabeth Russo
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Hiking

Beautiful

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Ishan Shah
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Hiking

This trail hugs the lake and has consistently beautiful views throughout. Park at the last lot if you want to start by the lake. On a warm day, definitely worth taking a dip in the lake at the beach right next to the trailhead.

Mai Smitamegha
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Hiking

This trail is so beautiful not too hot and many spots to stops and take photos

View Mai's Recording
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