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Rubicon Trail

MODERATE 705 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Rubicon Trail is a 16.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, 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

nature trips

running

beach

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

fee

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
off trail
over grown
23 days ago

29 days ago

The trail was great, well maintained and easy to follow. The entire trail was along Emerald Bay with beautiful views the whole time. The time we curved away from the lake, we were greeted by beautiful waterfalls and trees. I loved this trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked Tuesday, 10/22/19. Beautiful hiking trail around Lake Tahoe! Parked at Vikingsholm ($10 self-pay kiosk, accepts cash and card), then walked the entire Rubicon Trail to Calawee Cove and back. We also did the lighthouse loop, which was interesting but not a must-see. Arriving at 9:15am we had our pick of the parking lot and we finished up around 2pm, with some stops along the way to rest and explore. We were alone on the route until afternoon when we passed folks on our way back. I would rate this as easy-moderate; the path is largely flat or a gentle incline, only a few parts were more strenuous with stairs. It's also mostly shaded by trees with occasional sunny parts. The path is rather narrow and mostly dirt, but you do have to navigate around rocks in the ground. I recommend closed-toe shoes (sneakers fine) so you don't stub your toe. This was our first hike in Tahoe - I just hope the others can compare!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this on 10/12/19. This is one my favorite trails. What’s not to love about Tahoe and Emerald Bay. The weather was pleasant with a bit of cloud. D.L Bliss state park is beautiful and the Rubicon trail provided great views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. Once you enter D..L Bliss State Park, park your vehicle at the lot closest to the ranger station. There is a trailhead close by (check the map). The trails are well marked and plenty of shade. There are a few spots where you can get into the water. Will come back again next summer.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most beautiful trails I have been to. The views are wonderful and the trail is good under foot. I hiked Oct 12, the day before the parking area closes. The distant views were a bit hazy from the forest fire south of Tahoe but overall a great hike....from the D L Bliss parking area to Vikingsholm and back. I agree with the moderate rating.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail. Absolutely breathtaking views for miles. Challenging but not difficult. Love love loved it!

hiking
2 months ago

great hike for kids. Easy Parking after September anywhere in the park.

hiking
2 months ago

9/29/19 went 3 miles on this trail. great surface, well marked & beautiful views. will definitely come back & do this one again & go further.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Light snow. Sunny and protected from wind most of the way. Felt like we had the trail to ourselves.

hiking
2 months ago

Got up to the trail head in time to watch sunrise, amazing. Headed out to the trail at 7:30 and had the trail all to ourselves ... or so it seemed, we only saw one other person until we were headed back about 1 mi from the car. Beautiful day. Great views.

hiking
2 months ago

Rubicon is awesome. Great views of Lake Tahoe and emerald bay along the way. Vikingholm is interesting. Continue on to eagle falls. Good variety of hiking-forest and lake views.

2 months ago

This is now one of my favorite trails! We went on this hike Sept 9th. We started at Emerald Bay State Park. Limited parking at Emerald Bay State Park, a lot of people just walking down to Vikingsholm so we were able to grab a parking spot. We ended at the end of Lester Beach Rd located in D.L. Bliss State Park. It was breathtaking scenery! Absolutely loved it. Not a hard hike, a few spots were moderate. We decided to only hike one way and luckily there was a very nice couple to give us a ride back to our vehicle. It is difficult to order a uber/lyft unless you are out of the park (about a 2 mile walk out).

hiking
2 months ago

Very beautiful hike along the shoreline from D.L. Bliss to Vikingsholm and back- cold windy and rain but didn’t dampen our hiking spirit- 10.2 miles with gradual ascend and descend- rainbows abound- must have seen five along our trek!

hiking
3 months ago

Fun and Not to crowded

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hiking trail. However, it shows up as an option when you select mountain biking as a filter. Mountain bikes and dogs are not allowed on the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views of the lake. Part of the trail takes you up close. Great place for photos. Beautiful water. Shaded. Easy.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike along lake tahoe.

hiking
3 months ago

Much less crowded than the other area trails. Easy to park at forest service station 1 Mile in. Ranger recommended skipping the Lighthouse portion of trail by taking the shortcut marked on the map and heading toward Emerald Bay. Easy to moderate trail. Parking was $10.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked from Calawee Cove at D.L. Bliss to Vikingsholm Beach at Emerald Bay, just under 9 miles total. The views are incredible and the trail is manageable- mostly flat and winding with a few small climbs.

hiking
3 months ago

One of the most beautiful trails in Tahoe! Had two cars. Parked one at Luther's Beach, Bliss then drove up to Vikingsholm to start our hike. Doing this, you don't have to hike up the long 1 mile to Vikingsholm parking lot. It was about a 6 mile hike and not too busy.

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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
4 months 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
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Was amazing!!

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

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

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