Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 577 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
2 days ago

Did a tiny portion of the Rubicon, tacked on after doing the Lighthouse Trail. Gorgeous views of the lake. Gentle slope for the portion connected to Lighthouse.

hiking
4 days ago

Did parts of this great trail across two different days. First day from DL Bliss Park counter clockwise to Boat Camp (8.4 miles out and back) second time from Emerald Bay State Park clockwise through Vikingsholm to Boat Camp (6.8 miles out and back). Both highly recommended. DL Bliss day use parking fills up by 9:30 AM, so we had to park along the highway at the top of the hill and walk about a mile down (not great). We had no problem parking at Emerald Bay at 11 AM. The start of the hike from DL Bliss doesn’t have great views, but once it drops down to the water it’s really really nice. In contrast, starting from Emerald Bay had views right from the beginning but it wasn’t as nice along the water until Vikingsholm. If we had more time, it would have been nice to stop at Vikingsholm and rent a kayak to take to the island.

hiking
11 days ago

I really enjoyed this trail and will probably bring friends back to enjoy it too. The view of the lake is pretty good for most of the hike and by the time I made it from DL Bliss to Vikingsholm I was ready for lunch by the water.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Was amazing!!

hiking
14 days ago

Incredible views of Tahoe and Emerald Bay for miles on end. Must do!

hiking
muddy
rocky
16 days ago

very rocky, some areas muddy with snow runoff and have to walk through water at others. But gorgeous. A must see!

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing trail. Go early due to foot traffic

hiking
20 days ago

Got parked at the DL Bliss campground at 7:45AM. Gave us easy access to the trail head. Don’t try to find parking much later or you’ll be disappointed with how challenging that becomes. Beautiful trail, easy hike. From the campground the Viking house was about two hours each way. We took our time browsing around the Emerald Bay Area and made it back to our car by 1:00pm. Bugs weren’t an issue. BRING WATER. Don’t plan on hiking this the way we saw too many people; in flip flops and no water. SMH.

hiking
25 days ago

My wife and I started the day late, and were fortunate to find one of the last parking spots in D.L. Bliss state park. It was a perfect day for a hike, with temps in the 70’s. We began our hike at 10:30 am. The views are spectacular, lots of opportunities to swim in the lake. We are in our mid-late fifties, in relatively good shape, and found the trail to be, for the most part, easy. In spots with steeper incline we just took short breaks more frequently. We hiked to Vikingsholm and to Eagle falls, and headed back to D.LBliss at 2:30, arriving to out car by around 6pm. Walking back we met fewer hikers, and overall, we did not feel as if the trail is overcrowded. Highly recommended.

hiking
25 days ago

Lovely dirt trail with waterfalls & spectacular views of Emerald Bay. I arrived a little after 8am and only a few cars in the parking lot, when I left around 11:30 the parking was overflowing and hundreds of cars on the main highway. If you come on The weekend make plans for an early arrival. You won’t regret it.

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful views the whole way.

hiking
26 days ago

The nicest trail in Tahoe basin. Definitely elevation change but it was spaced out on the trail and worth the views and proximity to the water. We will do that trail a couple more times before September .

hiking
1 month ago

A beautiful hike that I would recommend to anyone. Despite some good elevation changes, it was always spread out over distance so never too challenging to make someone stay away from this beautiful hike. We started at the Emerald Bay Trail head and did the 6 mile hike and then returned to the same location. The beginning part is downhill meaning it’s going to be uphill at the end. You won’t even notice that you’re on the hill because you will be busy looking at the eagles and the osprey nest’s that you will find all along the Emerald Bay shoreline. The path will work its way through some populated areas where there is beach access and camping but it’s never too much to take away from the overall beauty of the hike. We will certainly do this one again!

hiking
rocky
1 month 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!!

I got engaged on this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike Stunning views of lake and water

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Amazing views!

hiking
1 month ago

greetings to you my name is Sgt Mira, please if you don't mind i will like to know you better, please reply me for more introduction on this email..(usmilitarybase0218@gmail.com)

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

Load More

Featured Trails