Emerald Bay State Park

EFFECTIVE (Nov. 23, 2020) - Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. All campgrounds have closed for the season. Pedestrian use is allowed, however, no dogs allowed at the park except on Eagle Point campground road. There is no vehicle access to the water. Check winter road conditions and drive with caution.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.

As a reminder, Californians are encouraged to avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained from others, and avoid congregating. Everyone has the responsibility to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Here are some additional guidelines for locals visiting Emerald Bay State Park:

What is open now?

  • The park is open from sunrise to sunset with social distancing encouraged.
  • Day-use parking is available to the public. Year-round parking fees at Vikingsholm parking lot. Winter rate is $5 for the day, $2 for one hour.
  • All trail systems are available and active recreation will be permitted. All park regulations remain in effect year-round. Trails may be icy.
  • Outdoor restrooms are available next to the Vikingsholm pier. All others are closed for winter. No drinking water available.

What is currently closed?

  • Visitor center and tours.
  • Campgrounds are closed. To make a reservation for summer 2021, call 800-444-7275 or visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com.
  • All restrooms are closed except for the facilities next to the Vikingsholm pier.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, please see below:

  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. No more than three households in a group is permitted. Mixing between group gatherings, large gatherings or parties is not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. Restrooms will be temporarily closed in order to keep up with cleaning schedules.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times. For details, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

No phone number listed.

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 15 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 18 Feet

Park Hours

The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Please call the park for the current visitor center hours.

Dogs Allowed?

Dogs are not allowed in most areas of Emerald Bay State Park. Please refer to the Emerald Bay SP dog information section for more specific areas and descriptions.

Driving Directions to Emerald Bay SP

The park is located 22 miles south of Tahoe City.
Vikingsholm can be reached by parking in the Harvey West parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. Take the trail, which is one mile in length and drops 500 feet in elevation to the house.
Fannette Island is located in the bay on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.
The Boat Camp is on the north side of Emerald Bay, about 1/2 mile east of Fannette Island located in the bay on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, at the site of the old Emerald Bay Resort.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

Boat Rentals
Family Campsites
Boat-in/Floating Camps
RV Access
Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Beach Area
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Restrooms / Showers
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available

EMERALD BAY CAMPGROUNDS have closed for the season.
Please help keep our lake and beaches clean and our forests protected.
Our parks are highly impacted at this time - please lend a hand and help make your parks cleaner than you found them. Thank you. 11/13/2020


Emerald Bay State Park is located 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. Vehicles cannot drive down to the lake, however, there are many vistas and hiking trails.

Vikingsholm can be reached by parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay.  Access to lower Vikingsholm is via a steep one mile pedestrian trail that drops 400 feet in elevation to the house.  Restrooms and water fountain available near the mansion during the summer.
WARNING:  Visitors with medical conditions or mobility issues should not attempt this hike.  THERE ARE NO RIDES OUT. 

Dogs are not allowed on any trails or roads into Emerald Bay, nor on the beach. 
Dogs are only allowed in the campground and must be on a 6' leash. 
Dog regulations are enforced year-round.

Fannette Island is located within Emerald Bay on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. The island is only accessible by watercraft.

Vikingsholm Parking Lot

Fees for parking are $5 per vehicle for the day, or $2 per vehicle for 1 hour.  Maximum vehicle length is 18 feet. The parking lot is open from sunrise-sunset.
Fees are required by self-payment.  The pay machine accepts cash (exact change) or credit card. Fees for parking are good for any California State Park during the date of purchase. 
The Emerald Bay area has limited parking and visitors are encouraged to arrive early to obtain parking. Be sure to lock your vehicle and do not leave valuables.
Overnight parking is not allowed, even with a valid USFS backcountry permit, or a Boat Camp reservation. Access to the parking lot may be reduced/ unavailable in winter conditions.
Parking regulations in Emerald Bay are strictly enforced. 


In the interest of public safety and the preservation of resources, all State Park Units in the Sierra District are closed to unmanned aircraft, also known as “drones,” “quad-copters” and similar, over the state lands under the operational control of California State Parks.

Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail

California State Parks and the Sierra State Parks Foundation Debut California’s First Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail at Emerald Bay

Divers documenting launch imageStarting October 1, 2018, the public is officially able to experience California’s first maritime heritage underwater trail devoted to showcasing Lake Tahoe’s historic recreational watercraft and barges, that now rest below the surface of Emerald Bay.

Scuba and snorkel diving visitors will be able to explore an underwater “trail” of historic features at several sites along the shoreline of Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe. Currently, divers have access to the Historic Barge Dive Site established by California State Parks in 1998. The department has never publicly released the location and information about three additional sites highlighted in this underwater trail until now.  

Learn more about the Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail.

CAMPING - Eagle Point Campground and Emerald Bay Boat Camp

The Eagle Point Campground has closed for the 2020 Season. Reservations can be made for the 2021 Season six months in advance of the date of your arrival. Reservations are available for June 10 - Labor Day 2021. 1-800-444-7275.

Quiet Hours            10pm - 6am                              Check In     - 2 pm  
Generator Hours   10am - 8pm                              Check Out   - Noon      
1-2 Vehicles per campsite (site specific)               Children must have helmets for bicycles/scooters/skateboards
4-8 people per campsite (site specific)                 Dogs must be leashed and never unattended
Vehicles must be parked on pavement                Amplified music is only allowed with a permit
Food must be stored DAY and NIGHT                  All CA vehicle regulations apply - no passengers in truckbed

Food Storage Locker Information - Important and required.

All food, beverages, and toiletries are required by law to be stored in provided food lockers during DAY and NIGHT, except when food is being prepared or eaten. Black bears are currently very active in Emerald Bay! Metal bear-resistant food lockers are provided in each campsite.  Ice chests may NOT be stored in vehicles and shall be stored in the bear locker.  The inside dimensions of the food lockers 36" deep, 43" wide, and 22" high.  Violations will be cited.
Food, beverages, ice chests, and trash must be stored in food lockers during NIGHT and DAY hours.

The Emerald Bay Boat Camp  is closed for the 2020 season.  Reservations  for summer 2021 season can be made six months in advance of the date of your arrival - Reservations are available from June 3 - Labor Day 2021. 1-800-444-7275 

The campground is located on the north side of Emerald Bay, at the site of the old Emerald Bay Resort. Buoys are available, and camping takes place on land in the lakefront campsites. There is no designated boat launch area in Emerald Bay or at D.L. Bliss State Park.  Boat campers with reservations may launch non-motorized vessels at D.L. Bliss and may park their vehicle overnight in the Balancing Rock overflow parking lot with a valid camping receipt displayed. Vehicles may NOT park overnight at the Emerald Bay Vikingsholm Parking lot OR at the D.L. Bliss State Park beach lot (Calawee Cove/ Lester Beach).  It is approximatley 3/4 of a mile from the overflow lot to beach access. All regulations at Eagle Point Campground apply at Emerald Bay Boat Camp (except for vehicles). Dogs are only allowed in the campground area. Campsites are $35 a night. Firewood is $10 a bundle and ice is $5 - cash only. If late arrival call Eagle Point Campground.

Attention: Bear-Proof Cooler Owners  Bear-Proof Cooler imageBEAR-PROOF COOLERS (Yeti, Pelican, Yukon etc.) MUST be secured with locks per manufacturer instructions in order to meet Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) standards. Failure to do so may result in a Food Storage Citation and up to a $1000 Fine Title XIV CCR 4323(b).  It is recommended that a cable lock is also used to attach the bear cooler to a non moveable item. Bears are known to take off with and/or toss coolers around to try to open them.  


Additional Visitor Services - Kayak Tahoe (Guided kayak tours and rentals)


Summer temperatures range from about 75 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night, and winter temperatures average from a high of 40 to a low of 20 degrees; during extremely cold winters Emerald Bay freezes over.
High Sierra weather is varied and can change abruptly. It is recommended to bring layered clothing and check weather updates. Weather forecast is available at NOAA.
Chains and/ or 4 wheel drive are frequently required during the winter season.  For up to date road conditions, call the Caltrans road hotline at 1800-427-ROAD, or visit the Caltrans website.  
Emerald Bay State Park is located off of Highway 89.

Information and History

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.

Emerald Bay State Park includes 2 campgrounds: Boat-In Camp (accessible by boat or foot only) and Eagle Point Campground.  The scenic Rubicon foot trail wraps around Emerald Bay, with trailheads at Eagle Point campground, Vikingsholm, and DL Bliss State Park. The park features Vikingsholm, one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the western hemisphere and the "Tea House" on Fannette Island, the only island to be found in all of Lake Tahoe.

There is no vehicle access to the lakeshore of Emerald Bay or Vikingsholm. Visitors walk to the lake from the Vikingsholm Parking Lot (1 mile walk) or via the Rubicon Trail. Some visitors arrive by kayak or private boat.

Emerald Bay was designated an underwater state park in 1994. It is the resting place for many boats, launches and barges used in the lake before the turn of the century, during the heyday of Emerald Bay Resort and used in the construction of Vikingsholm.

Visitors to Emerald Bay State Park enjoy hiking, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, boating, sightseeing and touring Vikingsholm in the summer months.

Visitors are welcome to hike down to Vikingsholm any time of year, but please be aware: In the winter, snow and ice can lead to hazardous conditions. Before deciding to hike in the snow, consider if you have appropriate footwear, clothing, food and water supply, and stamina level. Cell phones may not have reception. There are no services or drinking water from Oct - May. Restrooms are available year-round at the bottom. Round-trip to Vikingsholm and back is 2 miles with 400 feet elevation gain.
Emerald Bay Information Video 

Emerald Bay Information Video







Vikingsholm Accessibile Information

For people who have a valid ADA placard, special arrangements are necessary to reach the Vikingsholm area which is located down a very steep gravel road that is not open to private vehicles. Call (530) 525-3384 to check on the availability of shuttle service to escort people with mobility disabilities to Vikingsholm area. Reservations for this service must be made at least 24 hours in advance. This service is offered during Vikingsholm tour season: Memorial Day weekend - September.

Boating Emerald Bay

Keep it slow through Emerald Bay. Within 600 feet of shore it is 5 mph around all of Lake Tahoe. There are many logs, kayaks, paddle boarders, and swimmers in the water.
Music and radios shall not be at a volume which is, or is likely to be, disturbing to others - CCR 4320(b)
Do not drive boats through buoy field - buoys are for registered campers only.
Visiting Fannette Island - Pack it in/ Pack it out - Please help keep the island clean.
Restrooms are available behind the Vikingsholm Residence - 50 yards straight in from the pier.
Please do your part to protect Lake Tahoe  - boating inspections and launching facilities
Boating safety and information specific to Lake Tahoe
New Boating information on Tahoe for 2019 - TRPA


Emerald Bay State Park(Photograph by Mike Fuller)
Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park is the California State Park system’s premier glacial park – owing its spectacular scenery and dramatic alpine peaks, ridges, and crystalline lake to the scouring action of glaciers that existed at various times during the Pleistocene Epoch (11,500 to 1,800,000 years ago). Glaciers as thick as several hundred feet buried all but the highest peaks of the Sierra and tongues of ice pushed down from the Sierren crest and gouged out stream canyons, scraped off soil and weathered rock, deposited moraines and carved out lake basins.

The full Geo Gems report
  |  Geological Gems of State Parks

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