Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 451 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Rubicon Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately 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 March until September.

DISTANCE
11.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,381 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

rock climbing

trail running

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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.

12 hours ago

amazing views

trail running
3 days ago

This is an awesome out and back trail. My new favorite trail run in California! There are some rock stairs, roots sticking up and part of the trail that you’re squeezed around rocks next to the cliff that can slow you down but this trail is beautiful! You have to get to DL Bliss early and pay $10 to get to the best parking but it’s totally worth it! The views are incredible. It’s up and down and if you wear a suit you can jump in a few different places!

trail running
3 days ago

Simply put, this trail is amazing for a runner. It's 12+ miles out and back. (Follow the directions to the parking lot above, and remember to bring $10 to pay for parking). We arrived at 7:15 on a Saturday and got a spot, but there are only about 10 spots next to the trail, so get their early. For a runner, this was one of the best trails we have ever run. Epic scenery, some elevation at the beginning, middle and end, and single track running. We were pretty much alone on the trail until we started heading back, and ran into alot of hikers, so had to play frogger - so might be even better to go earlier than we did to avoid the crowds on the return. Given the choice between this and Flume, I'm taking Rubicon hands down as the best trail run in the SLT area.

hiking
10 days ago

I attempted to pick up the trail in D.L. Bliss State Park, but the parking lot was full. A helpful ranger suggested I drive 1.6 miles to Eagle Point Campground as that lot "is never full." She was right about that. Bonus was that the Rubicon Trailhead was located just a few meters from the entrance to the day parking lot. Also, this meant that I was picking up the trail at the beginning, instead of in the middle at D.L. Bliss. As a regular hiker, I found the trail to be relatively easy to hike, just the distance and occasional climbs added to the difficulty. The scenery was beautiful! The beach areas could be crowded, but it was easy to navigate through the people. Well worth giving it a try... I'll be back to do it again!

10 days ago

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a regular, the Rubicon trail is a must! Walking at a leisurely pace with no breaks, it should take around 2.5 hours to walk one way, say, from D.L.Bliss SP to Vikingsholm. This route has more of a downslope, and therefore your return trip will generally be a gradual upslope. If you don't feel like doing an out and back, you can do a one way with some planning. One time when we were with friends, we took two cars and parked one over at Emerald Bay and parked the other at DL Bliss. There is also a trolly/ shuttle service that makes stops from Tahoe City to South Lake Tahoe that you can take advantage of if you don't feel like driving. (Go to the Tahoe Transportation District website to see fares and schedules.) Know that by 9:30 am the parking lots around Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss are almost always full. My advice is to get to these places as early as possible to find parking and beat the crowds.

13 days ago

beautiful.

hiking
15 days ago

This trail offers it all. A great lake view, some elevation, and just the right amount of distance.
It was a great scenic workout.

hiking
16 days ago

Great view from the top. I hiked up to the lighthouse. I’m from Ohio so I’m not use to mountain trails. It would have been nice to have some arrows along the way.

22 days ago

Fabulous hike! Great views of Emerald Bay and just enough uphill to make for a great workout! The trail is in great shape!

hiking
26 days ago

A few too many stairs to climb for my liking but beautiful scenery.

Amazing trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike with beautiful views! I’m decently fit in my mid-20s and found this hike to be on the easier end of moderate. We started the hike at Vikingsholm and did an out and back to the end of the trail. The hardest part of the trek is the walk up the Vikingsholm access trail. Emerald Bay is easily accessible off trail and made for a refreshing dip at the end of the hike!

1 month ago

A perfect hike with popsicles at the end! We started up at the day parking area near the campgrounds. Loved the varying terrain and vegetation. Absolutely gorgeous views of Emerald Bay. It was warm so we stopped to swim on the way down and back up from Vikingsholm. We saw at least four Osprey nests throughout the hike as well.
And for the bonus round...once we got down to the Vikingsholm park center they had snacks and popsicles for sale! Sweet. After our snacks we took the extra .2 mile hop up to see Lower Eagle Falls, do not miss it!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Lots of interval climbing, super fun...super exhausting.

hiking
1 month ago

Vues magnifiques sur le lac Tahoe. Plages le long du chemin pour se baigner.

1 month ago

One of my all time favorite Tahoe hikes. Perfect for a little off boat excursion, and dont forget to jump off round rock.

1 month ago

long trail. beautiful views of lake. highly recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this today. Many opportunities for beautiful pics. Hike was pretty easy, just long. Not too many people on the trail which was great. Weather was perfect and trail was easy to find thanks to this All Trails App. Would do this hike again.

off road driving
2 months ago

The Rubicon Trail is a 22-mile-long route, part road and part 4x4 trail, located in the Sierra Nevada of the western United States, due west of Lake Tahoe and about 80 miles (130 km) east of Sacramento.

The western maintained portion of the route is called the Wentworth Springs Road; it begins in Georgetown, California, a hamlet in California's Gold Country. The road continues from its intersection with State Route 193 toward Wentworth Springs, where the trailhead for the unmaintained portion of the route exists adjacent to Loon Lake. The trail portion of the route is about 12 miles (19 km) long and passes in part through the El Dorado National Forest as well as the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The eastern maintained portion of the trail is called the McKinney Rubicon Springs Road, and leads to Lake Tahoe.

walking
2 months ago

Awesome long walk along the water with small waterfalls, and a walk around Emerald Bay. Nice that you can decide to turn back whenever you want

hiking
2 months ago

You can’t beat the lake views. We just finished this trail (a little over 12m round trip per our FitBits). We wanted to take pictures every 5 minutes. It ended up taking us about 4.5 hours. The trail was mostly easy to follow. It gets a little confusing through the campgrounds and in the waterfall area, but just keep going and it connects. There are signs. Because it goes through the D L Bliss state park and campgrounds, you’ll see people throughout your hike. Inclines and declines were moderate. You get a break with flat areas throughout. Lots of shade provided by the trees. Perfect hike for our 1 day in this area.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This trail has tons to see. Long, but very worthwhile.

3 months ago

Did this trail today. Camp group was closed so that added 1 mike each way to get to and from the trailhead. It’s tough coming back up but worth it! It rained during the hike and parts of the trail were slick. Overall beautiful trail.

3 months ago

Beautiful, long but worth it. You walk along the lake and there is a portion of the trail that it goes into wilderness .start early because to many people during summer..

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent trail with amazing views of the lake!! Runs along the cliffs overlooking the water and through some forested areas. Spotted many ospreys in the nests along the way! Will do again if I come back!

trail running
3 months ago

Great for trail running. No snow on the trails.

hiking
3 months ago

wonderful hike along emerald bay. we started with the lighthouse trail and then headed to vikingsholm. no snow on the trail, it was in excellent condition and after the clouds blew away the mountain peaks were on full display. A ton of wild life were active and the pileated woodpeckers let us get within 5 feet to get some fabulous photos. the water was greenish blue and Crystal clear. A fantastic hike before the crowds show up.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked 10 mi on the Rubicon Trail! Sights are to die for.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail for any visit to Tahoe. Beautiful lake views through the trees and some beaches along the way.

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