Vikingsholm Trail

MODERATE 189 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Vikingsholm Trail is a 1.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoma, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and rock climbing and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
1.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
377 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

hiking

rock climbing

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

waterfall

no dogs

Vikingsholm Trail starts from the stone observation area above Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe, about 9 miles north of South Lake Tahoe in the northern Sierra Nevada. This is a moderate dirt and paved road hike (with about a 400-foot elevation change) from the parking lot to bottom of Emerald Bay, but be prepared to hike back up. At the end of the trail you can take the Vikingsholm Castle tour available 7 days a week from mid-June until the end of September from 10am to 4pm. All tours are guided and take approximately one-half hour. You can also hike the short trail to Lower Eagle Falls which begins directly across from the castle or relax at Emerald Bay Beach. The authentic replica of the Viking castle is part of Emerald Bay State Park which was designated an underwater California state park in 1994. In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated a National Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier carved granite. The natural beauty, geology and history of this unique island make it one of the highlights of any visit to the Lake Tahoe area. A nominal fee is charged. Bring a lunch and enjoy the fabulous view of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the shoreline picnic area. Pets are not allowed. Swimming, camping and boating are also popular Tahoe activities at the park. Visitors can access nearby hiking trails including the Rubicon Trail in D.L. Bliss State Park and Cascade Falls and Eagle Lake in Desolation Wilderness.

hiking
8 hours ago

We couldn’t get a parking spot near the trail entrance, but once we parked further down around the bend it made more sense to walk down the paved carriage road that joins up with the Rubicon trail. It made for a longer hike — almost the length of Emerald Bay— but the views from above were amazing. We enjoyed touring the house which seems to have had some recent restoration— it looks great. I also appreciate that the gift shop by Vikingsholm now has some snacks. The ice cream treats helped power us back up the hill! There are some amazing campsites along the Rubicon trail. A great day.

hiking
18 hours ago

Short, easy hike, Emerald Bay was cold to swim in which was really nice during the summer. Also came during the winter when it was snowing, beautiful.

hiking
1 day ago

Short but sweet. Hiking out was a bit of a chore due to the grade and, after swimming all day, we were feeling it. We passed two guys hauling an ice chest full of fish back up, bless 'em. Totally worth it to swim in the bay and sit by the trees.

hiking
13 days ago

I had been wanting to hike down to the castle for some time now but I chose the wrong day. I arrived at 9am and it was so heavily trafficked with all the end-of-summer vacationers that it took me almost an hour just to find parking.

Besides that reservation, it is a short but sweet trail descending down to the beach with stunning, scenic views. There was a bit of incline coming back up but nothing too challenging. I would definitely do it again on a less busy day.

20 days ago

Awesome views of the lake. Beautiful forest scenery. Mostly down hill one way. Nice treasure at the end Vikingholm was breathtaking. would definitely recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is really easy for an active person. The terrain is flat and easy to walk on and the trail is very obviously marked. There are restrooms available as well which is nice. Love the water at the bottom and the short walk up to eagle falls!

This is definitely doable in regular running shoes and great for kids. I did this with my son when he was 3 years old and again 5 years later.

1 month ago

Easy hike but worth the trip to see the beautiful Vikingsholm at the bottom.

walking
1 month ago

Loved it. Was kinda hard for me but I’m out of shape. Did this in 2015.

2 months ago

Easy paved hike with amazing and iconic view of Emerald Bay. Relatively steep uphill to return to starting point.

hiking
2 months ago

A fun little hike. First your hike down which is easy. Then you hike back up. Beautiful lakeside views at the bottom along with the castle. The uphill is definitely difficult but relatively short. I would say it's a moderate hike. I saw a lot of children and older people doing it just at a slower pace. More can be found on my blog (https://www.brisul.com/blog/2017/6/22/vikingsholmtrail)

3 months ago

Nice easy trail to walk on. The incline is steep coming back up but the path is smooth.

hiking
3 months ago

Vikingsholm is a joy to descend. The level of enjoyment of the ascension is dependent on how much cardio you do. In all seriousness this trail contains some spectacular views and the house at the bottom is truly unique. As with other trails in the area parking is a premium so arrive early or expect to drive around waiting for a spot.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike 5-3-18 hardly anyone there. I did get there early around 9:30 am plenty of parking. I parked a bit up the road to avoid the 10 dollar fee. This hike was not as hard as it was stated or sounding. Granted I do hike some what frequently the incline was not really that bad at all. Made it back up pretty quick and there are plenty of places to rest should you need it. When you get to the bottom you can access the water which is nice. Never saw the house or whatever I was on a time constraint and wanted to enjoy the water and views. Great little hike early enough in the season I was basically alone the whole time. More people and the parking lot was pretty full by noon.

hiking
3 months ago

Fantastic and unique landmark!!! Loved seeing the architecture and beach views and the island!! Also had immediate access to Eagle falls and the Rubicon trail!!!

walking
4 months ago

Great weather when we visited, great views of emerald lake
Going back up is steep

6 months ago

Great trip,
Limited parking, a must see castle! Thanks

6 months ago

I was huffing and puffing on my way back up (I blame it on the altitude) but it was worth the views!! Lots of kids, being carried, and plenty of dogs.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful views of Emerald Bay! My husband and I were able to complete it with our 2.5 year old in his pack and our 2 month old in my front carrier. It was a little tougher on the way up because it’s pretty steep, but definitely doable. You can continue on the trail down to emerald bay and see Vikingsholm castle. We brought lunch and ate at one of the picnic tables. Vikingsholm is only open to tour in the summer, but it’s still beautiful to see.

walking
8 months ago

Hiking down pavement isn't my forte- lots of non hikers on this one. The view and being right on Lake Tahoe is awesome and gets you right up to the shoreline. We continued to Emerald point which is more of a trail with minimal elevation change. Back tracked up to parking lot. The elevation going back up to the parking lot is the challenge and can get you out of breath if your not physically fit.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Vikingsholm. Easy hike down; slightly more strenuous going back up, but well worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

Very pretty hike. Easy. Great views of Lake Tahoe and several waterfalls. Great for all ages and skill levels.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice short and relatively easy hike. Fairly steep trail with nice views of Emerald Bay and takes you to the coastline where you can check out a beautiful mansion once owned by a wealthy landowner and now by the parks service (There are tours available in the summer every half hour.). Parking is $10.

hiking
10 months ago

Parking is difficult at this time due to one row of the parking lot being worked on, so arrive early if you can in order to get a spot.
If you are someone whom doesn't like the heat, the return hike is better done in the morning because there is very little shade on upper part of the trail.
The trail is nice and wide and is definitely down all the way and UP all the way back.
The view of the bay at the bottom.of the trail is very nice.
We did the home tour and it was a nice, simple tour. You pay $10 to park & $10/person to do the tour.
The $10 is worth it for the tour.
Make sure to take the time to do the .5 mile hike to Lower Eagle Falls.
It's a beautiful little waterfall.

hiking
10 months ago

about 1 Mike each way from the parking lot, the uphill on the way back is a pretty good workout. be sure to hike eagle falls which is another quarter mile past the vikingsholm.

hiking
10 months ago

Though labeled as "caution, steep" this trail is Easy-Moderate. A wide, well groomed path leads down 1.0 miles to the castle, a dock and paths around the bay. Absolutely worth the return trip uphill (a solid incline walk that'll warm you right back up if it's chilly out).

Great trail to take to admire the beauty of the bay up close.

hiking
10 months ago

Parking is a fiasco, but it is absolutely worth it! Emerald Bay is stunningly beautiful. Vikingsholm is incredibly unique and something to see. The hill to get down to it may be a bit steep for some on the way back up, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

hiking
11 months ago

Scenic walk ... parking hardest thing ... not enough spaces.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a beautiful easy down hill hike to the beach and Rubicon Trail and Vikingholm. Hike back up trail is strenuous for a 71 year old. Took one hour to go .8 miles, with stops to rest back and hips. But overall this a good hike and worth the pain.

hiking
11 months ago

Steep one-mile climb down and back. The top of the trail provides some striking views of the bay and other features.

Vikingsholm itself is nicely preserved and has been well maintained by California State Parks. The tour is just the right length, and the history discussed is very intriguing.

hiking
11 months ago

This was the first time my family and I decided to do a hike on July 26, 2017. The walk was easy to get to the castle, but it was closed and didn't open until 10:30a.m so we decided to walk about 5-10 more minutes to check out Eagle falls and it was so worth it. The waterfalls were beautiful! We started the trail at 8:15a.m and it was not crowded, but by the time we were heading back around 9:30a.m people were arriving and parking was getting hectic so I recommend arriving before 9:00a.m. The walk back had some uphills, but was manageable. I saw people of all ages and there are plenty of benches to stop and rest when needed. I recommend this trail to any beginner hiker. Definitely check out Eagle Falls!

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