As we were rediscovering beautiful Lake Tahoe by driving all around it and stopping here and there taking in the beautiful vistas, we came across this pull off called Inspiration Point Vista. Wow, the views from this area was wonderful and also provided us a rest area to stretch our legs and learn a thing a two. It was from this vista that we saw a Paddle Boat make its way into the bay and it was where we could see for the first time the Vikingsholm’s Castle, Fannette Island (Tea House) and gorgeous Emerald Bay. It actually sits 600 feet above Lake Tahoe. Interpretive signs assist in understanding the history of the area. All views are accessible via paved walkways. Restrooms were available too.
Note: Parking can be difficult during busy summer months especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during the summer months. Please park legally, not along Hwy 89.
Visitors using the Boat Camp facilities must be registered and pay the required fees. There is a self- registration station on the shore near the dock. The dock is for loading and unloading only, and there is a 15 day camping limit.
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.
Note: Boat Camp is closed for the season as of September 7, 2009 due to construction of a new floating pier that meets accessibility requirements. Please check this website in spring 2010 for an update for the 2010 summer season.
There are safe areas you can swim at D.L. Bliss State Park in the Lester and Calawee Cove beaches. Although there are other areas near some of the piers, but be aware these areas have sharp rocky floors.
M.S. Dixie II is a 570-passenger and the largest cruising vessel on Lake Tahoe. We were all excited to take the cruise and were not dissapointed. The weather was cool, but we dressed accordingly and just enjoyed the beautiful lake. Our host was Darin Talbot, "The voice of Lake Tahoe" was educational with so many wonderful facts and stories. He is a local who loves to entertain and you know he loves this area. One wonderful thing it is a flat bottom boat which makes the ride smooth. They do have a bar for snacks or drinks and have a inside area where they have the dinner cruises. They show a video during the cruise inside the cabin area. The basic cruise is 2.5 hours and cruises completely across the lake to Emerald Bay, the Lake's most photographed spot.
M.S. Dixie II Emerald Bay Sightseeing Cruise
9/27 through 10/4 -Daily at 11:30 A.M. & 2:30 P.M.
10/5 through 11/1 - Daily at 11:30 A.M. & Tuesday through Sunday at 2:30 P.M.
Adults $39.00; Children $15.00
Mark Twain and friends perform every Saturday.
MS Dixie Captain's Dinner Dance
9/27 through 10/4 - Tuesday through Sunday at 6:00 P.M.
Adults $65.00; Children $35.00
Named Fannette Island by Mrs. Knight is the only island in Lake Tahoe and rises 150 feet above the water and is home of breeding Canadian Geese who nest here From February 1 through June 15 so the island is closed to all visitors. Fannette Island has been called many names until Mrs. Knight moved it. It has been called Coquette Island, Baranoff Island, Dead Man’s Island, Hermit’s Island, and Emerald Isle.
Before Mrs. Knight bought the land, Captain Dick Barter, “the Hermit of Emerald Bay,” lived on Dead Man’s Island as it was called then from 1863 - 1873. He would get around in a small row boat to and from the island to get his supplies. He was know to favor the drink, which many felt this was his undoing since he often would row across the often turbulent waters to just get his supply of drink and often be drunk when he did it. Yet, he had some wonderful values and was obviously a hardy soul to survive on this island all year long. He built his own wooden chapel and tomb on the island’s summit. Sadly, in 1873, the captain’s boat was found wrecked at Rubicon Point above deep water and his body was not recovered.
Another sad note was in 1929 Captain Dick’s chapel remnants were replaced by a stone tea house built for Mrs. Knight. She and her guests would travel to the island to have tea. It must have been part of her little girl dreams to have her own tea house and castle. This little castle even had a small corner fireplace with a large oak table and four oak chairs. Over the years, thieves, like they do to many treasures, took its toll on the tea house so now only the shell remains. Yet with much imagination you can vision of what it must of looked in it’s hey day.
Emerald Bay State Park is where the Vikingsholm’s Castle is located. Mrs. Lora J. Knight of Santa Barbara purchased this isolated site in 1928. She enlisted her nephew Lennart Palm a Swedish born architect to design her a home among the gorgeous pine trees at the head of the bay.
As you can see, it has the definite look of ancient Scandinavia. The towers were constructed with intricate carvings and hand hewn timbers to make them authentic. Even the furnishings where made to be authentic down to the age of the wood used. The castle was completed in 1929 and Mrs. Knight spent here summers here until here death in 1945.
You can take a guided tour of Vikingsholm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for a nominal fee from Memorial Day through September. The building is about a mile down a steep pedestrian trail from the parking lot at the Emerald Bay Overlook. Call the D.L.
Bliss office in advance at (530) 525-9529 for information about accessibility at Vikingsholm.
Home of Washoe Native Americans, who has lived in this area for nearly 10,000 years who were nomads that fished and hunted within the 10,000 square miles of the lake to gather for food preparations to survive the long winter months.
(D. L. Bliss) Emerald Bay & Sugar Pine Point State Park is named after a pioneering lumberman, railroad owner and banker. D. L. Bliss family donated 744 acres to the beautiful state of California in 1929. Emerald Bay is just one of the many gorgeous parks my lovely state can be so proud of. Many of these parks encompass some very historical structures and some impressive outdoor facilities. The parks also contain ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, firs, incense cedar, Sierra juniper and black cottonwood. Along the streams grow a lush combination of alders, quaking aspen, mountain dogwood, service berry and bitter cherry. As for wildflowers, columbine, leopard lily, lupine, bleeding heart, yellow monkey flower and nightshade bloom in season. Brush is composed of ceanothus, chinquapin, currant, gooseberry, huckleberry oak and manzanita.
Vikingsholm Castle listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Fannette Island, only island on Lake Tahoe
Fishing: Fish for rainbow, brown and Mackinaw trout or Kokanee salmon (a landlocked form of the Pacific sockeye), all successfully introduced into the lake.
Swimming: Visitors can swim at D.L. Bliss State Park’s Lester and Calawee Cove
beaches. (Two Piers)
Underwater Park: for those hardy scuba divers
Camping: The parks have 268 family campsites, each with a table, food locker and stove, plus nearby restrooms and hot showers. Although there are no hookups, some sites at D.L. Bliss will accommodate trailers up to 15 feet or motor homes up to 18 feet. Emerald Bay can accommodate trailers up to 18 feet or motorhomes up to 21 feet. The D.L. Bliss
group campground will accommodate up to 50 people, with a limit of 10 cars. Reserve all campsites by calling (800) 444-7275 or visit.
Boating: Twenty primitive campsites are reachable by boat. While the parks themselves have no launching facilities, boats can be launched from private facilities about 6 miles to the north or south.
Hiking: The Rubicon Trail for hikers follows the scenic lakeshore from Calawee Cove at
D.L. Bliss past Vikingsholm to Upper Eagle Point Campground at Emerald Bay. The Cascade Trail at Emerald Bay gives hikers vistas of the west and south shores of Lake Tahoe.