Emerald Bay, South Shore Lake Tahoe, California, USA


“…the Lake burst upon us—a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still!” -- Mark Twain

My wife and I celebrated our 32nd Wedding Anniversary the week of June 10th with a road trip to Lake Tahoe. Errantly, I promised my followers to post daily the photographs from each day's adventures to share the experience with us. Unfortunately, unforeseen technical problems prevented that promise from being kept. So if you will forgive me I would like to share part of that adventure with you now.


While the Great Lakes remain the largest lakes in the United States, Lake Tahoe holds the honor of being the largest land-locked lake in the United States. It rests at approximately 6250 feet above sea level surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. The California/Nevada border cuts right through the middle of the Lake. Needless to say, it is a breathtaking sight to behold when you enter that great basin. I think Mark Twain's description holds true and will offer a far better illustration than any my clumsy skills could afford.

There are an incredible number of sights to see and things to do here. The summer offers hiking, camping, swimming, biking, boating, jet ski's and fishing just to name a few. The winter months offer no less entertainment with snowboarding, snow skiing, sledding, ice skating, and more at the numerous ski resorts located around the lake, including Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics! If snow is not your thing, Stateline Nevada offers a great nightlife with casinos, shows, and fine dining.


One of the more popular hikes during the summertime is at Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is a large cove on the California side of South Lake Tahoe. In the center of this amazing inlet lies Tahoe's only island, Fannette Island. There is a California State Park trailhead that begins from the roadside parking lot overlooking the bay. The hike from the parking lot to the edge of the lake is roughly 3 miles roundtrip. Be warned, it is 1 mile down and 2 miles coming back out, at least that is what it felt like!


Stop at the overlook on the way down to snap a few shots, you will be far too tired to want to do this when you come back up, and the view from here is fantastic!


The hike down is anything but boring. Your views of Fannette Island changes perspective as you go down, and you will be treated to a variety of small streams created by the snowmelt if visit in late spring or early summer.


Many types of flowers grow wild along the trail.


Many of them are quite stunning to behold with bright colors and intoxicating smells.


The trail leading down to the water's edge is not overly steep and anyone in average physical condition should be able to make the hike without too much distress. I had open-heart surgery and a four-way bypass 4 years prior to our visit, and while it was definitely a challenge for me coming up if I can do it almost anyone can.


The trail offers some tremendous scenery on the hike down so take your time and be sure to get it all in. If you are a photographer you will be in heaven!


About two-thirds of the way down you will come across a dozen or so trees that many a couple has stopped at to carve their initials in and forever enshrine their love for one another in this magical place.


Upon arrival at the bottom, near the lake's edge you will be greeted by the local wildlife which resides in abundance, These colorful birds were flitting about everywhere and barely stayed still long enough to have their picture taken.


Ground squirrels scurry about looking for handout's from the tourist and putting on comical shows for them as they wrestle and chase each other.


If you are extremely lucky you may spot one of few rock trolls still in existence as we did!


And at the shore's edge, you're sure to spot a number of Mallard ducks floating in the clear cold water. Wait what's that?!!!


If your the fishing type you might want to bring a pole along, the lake is teeming with a variety of trout and Emerald Bay is a popular spot for catching these beauties. Darn, wish I had brought my pole!


The Island view from the shore is also compelling, tour boats from south shore Lake Tahoe frequent the bay throughout the day as part of their journey around the lake.


The tours are reasonably priced and this time of year (late spring/early summer) they are not overly crowded either.


Be sure to look about you as you wander around here, there are many hidden gems for the photographer including Viking's Holme, a Scandinavian castle built at the turn of the 20th century. I was unable to get pictures of this masterpiece in architecture due to some camera issues but it would be worth googling some images, it is pretty amazing.


The trees growing here in the Tahoe basin are mostly the mighty Sequoia's. One of three species of redwood trees that grow to be quite old. They are not as large and tall as their coastal cousins in Northern California and Oregon. This one seems to be growing right out of the rock!


And now for the part everyone dreads, time for the hike out, but don't worry you will find plenty of places to rest on the way up. Bring plenty of water, take your time, bring an extra camera battery, and all will be well!

I hope you enjoyed the photos and I would like to thank my awesome wife of 32 years for putting up with me and posing for a few pics. Hope you all are having an awesome day and get a chance to visit this truly magnificent place!!!

3 columns
2 columns
1 column