Description - In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated a National Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier carved granite. Emerald Bay was designated an underwater state park in 1994.
Copyright: - California State Parks
Emerald Bay through some trees
- Emerald Bay offers a full service campground as well as a boat camp. The boat camp is located on the north side of Emerald Bay, approximately 1/2 mile east of Fannette Island, at the site of the old Emerald Bay Resort. The Boat Camp is normally open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, depending upon weather conditions. There are mooring buoys for the 20 campsites, and boaters can either sleep on board their boat, or camp in a designated site on shore. Each campsite has a table, storage locker, and fire ring. Water is available in the campground, and there are chemical toilets. There are no showers. All campsites, with buoy, are available on a first come, first served basis. 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.
Vikingsholm is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the western hemisphere. Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight purchased the property encompassing the head of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island in 1928 for $250,000. Before starting construction of the summer home late that year, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the construction of the house. Work on the home ceased at first snowfall in the winter of 1928, and was started up again in the spring of 1929. Two hundred workers were brought to Emerald Bay and started hand hewing the timbers, carving the intricate designs, hand planing the wood for the interior walls, and forging the hinges and latches. Most of the materials to construct the home came from the Tahoe Basin. Trees were cut for their size and lack of knots, and the granite for the foundation and walls was quarried from behind the house.
A step into Vikingsholm is like a step back into medieval times and a chance to gain an appreciation of a unique style of architecture and the person who had it built. The home may be toured from mid-June thru Labor Day. Tours are given from 10:00 am thru 4:00 pm, every half hour. The Vikingsholm may be reached by parking in the Harvey West parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay and taking the trail which is one mile in length and drops 500 feet in elevation. Many visitors state the walk back up is twice as far as the walk down.
Fannette is the only island to be found in all of Lake Tahoe. It is located in beautiful Emerald Bay on the west shore of the lake. A sparsely timbered, brush covered upthrust of granite that rises 150 feet above the water, Fannette Island was not always known by that name. During the past 100 years it has been known as Coquette, Fannette, Baranoff, Dead Man's, Hermit's, and Emerald Isle. Fannette was the name that finally stuck.
Visitors are welcome to use the island for day use activities only between 6 am and 9 pm. Camping is prohibited and dogs are not allowed on the island. From February 1 thru June 15 the island is closed to all visitors. During this period several pairs of Canadian geese nest on the island. Due to the virtual absence of predators, this is an ideal location for nesting. There may be as many as 100 geese on or near the island in the early spring. By late spring it is not uncommon to see families of geese swimming along the shoreline near Vikingsholm. The natural beauty, geology and history of this unique island certainly make it one of the highlights of a visit to the Lake Tahoe area.
As a scuba diver in Emerald Bay, you will enjoy an experience unavailable to most visitors to the lake. You have the opportunity to view and touch the artifacts of an age long past. Emerald Bay State Underwater Park 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. Please be aware as you view and enjoy these artifacts that we all have the responsibility of protecting them for others to see and enjoy. All artifacts you find while diving in the State Parks are protected by state law and may not be taken or disturbed regardless of size or value.
Recreation - Emerald Bay offers opportunities for camping, boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, picnicking, SCUBA diving, viewing the historic Vikingsholm, viewing scenery
Climate - 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. The campgrounds are closed during the winter; depending on the weather, they are open from late May until the middle of September. The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Emerald Bay State Park is located on the southwest end of Lake Tahoe, 22 miles south of Tahoe City.