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General Information: The Rubicon Trail is a delightful ski tour that includes mostly flat skiing, stunning views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe, and quiet forests along the way. During the winter, the tour is most often done as an out-and-back tour from Emeral Bay. After an initial steep descent to Vikingsholm, the trail is flat for the rest of the way. The road around Emerald Bay closes often during the winter due to avalanche danger from Eagle Point. Be sure to check for any road closures or avalanche warnings before you head out.


Where To Start: Emerald Bay is located a few miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. Park in the Vikingsholm lot and ski down the unplowed road to the lake.

Trail Description: From the Vikingsholm parking lot, follow the unplowed road down to the historic Vikingsholm "castle".

This first section is the only steep part of the tour and might test the stopping ability of novice skiers. Once down, however, the effort is well rewarded. Vikingsholm is an interesting side attraction and worth a little time in its own right. From the mansion, find the trail heading along the north shore of Emerald Bay. You'll enjoy views of Fanett Island (Tahoe's only island) along the way. After you pass the boat camp, the trail passes close to Emerald Point, giving a fine view back towards Emerald Bay as well as across Lake Tahoe. The trail then heads north moving away from the shoreline for a bit. The trail climbs some as it heads over a small ridge then continues along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe a hundred feet or so above the lake. All along this section, views of Tahoe are worthy of John Muir's description of The Lake as the "Jewel of the Sierra."

As you near the end of the trail, it passes along an intimidating section with overhanging rock on one side and a steep drop to The Lake on the other. This area is best avoided during the winter as the snow may be above the level of the railings installed by the park service.

Environmental Concerns: During the summer this area is inundated with people, but the winter is a peaceful time where you might even find some solitude along the trail.

Advisory: Be aware of avalanche conditions above the the road when parking in the Vikingsholm lot.

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