Beginner Hikers Should Take In The Jaw-Dropping Views Of Lake Tahoe's Emerald Point Trail

While many of us think of Lake Tahoe as a top winter destination (it is), it's also a stunner in summer too. It's a wonderful place to strap on your hiking boots and set off into the wilderness. But if the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail is a bit much for you, there are plenty of shorter hikes in the area. One of the best starts about nine miles north of South Lake Tahoe.

The walk to Emerald Point is an out-and-back hike along the north shore of Emerald Bay, following first the Vikingsholm Trail and then the Rubicon Trail. It's a 5-to-6-mile hike, with just 500 feet of elevation gain, so it's perfect if you don't want to do a strenuous trek. Despite the ease of this walk, the views are absolutely spectacular, and you won't feel like you've missed anything by not pushing yourself to do one of the harder Tahoe hikes.

The trail begins at Vikingsholm, where there's plenty of parking for those who get there before the crowds, per Tahoe Trail Guide. Let's talk about the crowds for a minute. Because this is a relatively easy hike in a popular and beautiful area of Tahoe, you're not going to be alone on the trail. Tahoe Trail Guide strongly recommends starting your hike before 10 a.m. and doing it on a weekday, preferably in the spring or the fall, to have your best shot at not hiking with throngs of other people.

What you'll see on the Emerald Point Trail

From your starting point, you'll drop about 400 feet in elevation toward Emerald Bay, which Outdoor Project calls the most difficult portion of the hike. Remember as this is an out-and-back trail, you'll have to hike back up the hill later. As you go, you'll have glimpses of the sparkling lake through the conifer forests. Your first stop might be at the Vikingsholm summer house, Tahoe's self-proclaimed hidden castle, which dates back to 1929. You can have a tour of this Scandinavian-style mansion in the summer months.

From there, Tahoe Trail Guide assures us the terrain turns flat as you turn off onto the Rubicon Trail, which weaves along the shoreline and in and out of the forests that line Emerald Bay, with views of Fanette Island. After 1.5 to 2 miles on the trail, you'll get to the place where you need to branch off to head to Emerald Point (check the map on AllTrails for a close-up view). This involves going off-trail and marching through the open forest toward the water, so you'll get a little adventure built into your hike. At Emerald Point, you'll have fabulous views over the lake. Fox in the Forest says that during your hike, you'll have opportunities to get down to the beaches and have a swim in the crystal waters, so bring your bathing suit. What's not to love about an easy hike with a plunge at the end?