If you come close to Emerald Bay then you should take the trail down to Emerald Bay from the Vikingsholm parking lot up above. You get many benefits from hiking down. You not only get great exercise, but you get to experience beautiful views of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island. And yes, you will get a chance to visit the beautiful Vikingsholm castle.
How to get to Vikingsholm
If you come from South Lake Tahoe you take the road that goes around Lake Tahoe. You go west around the western shore of Lake Tahoe and after the road winds around giving you amazing views of the lake, the road will start climbing. And it will keep climbing for a while. It can get a little scary at times because the road goes right on the edge of the mountain. After a few more bends in the road you will see signs indicating Emerald Bay Vista Point. It’s a full rest stop with restroom and plenty of parking. Stop here for great views from the top.
Local Map of Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas.
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Then continue going up the road. The road flattens and after about five minutes from the vista point stop you will see the Vikingsholm parking lot on your right. Pull in and pay the $6 parking fee.
Lake Tahoe’s Vikingsholm main tourist attractions
- See more pictures from Vikingsholm
- Visit the castle. There are tours between 10 am and 4 pm during the summer. It costs $5 for adults and $3 for children. The tour lasts about 30 minutes. Check out tourist resources at the end of this article for more information about Vikingsholm tours and schedules.
- Take your time and admire the Emerald Bay beach. You can even go for a swim in the summer. Lots of people do.
Vikingsholm has the best view of Emerald Bay
Well, at least that’s what the tour guide says. People can debate the authenticity of Vikingsholm, but the fact remains that Vikingsholm is a beautiful castle with the best view of Emerald Bay. If you take a tour, make sure you look through the windows and admire the view. Imagine yourself in the 1920s waking up every morning and seeing…this!
Lake Tahoe’s Vikingsholm is unique in California
Where else in California can you find Scandinavian architecture. Ok, ok, you can go visit Solvang (Read my travel guide for Solvang, California) and see some Danish and Flemish architecture. But there is no other Scandinavian castle anywhere in America I believe. So, you are in for a unique experience.
One thing I like about the National Park Service is that they know how to preserve unique houses. Just like Adamson House in Malibu, California (Read my travel guide for Malibu, California), Vikingsholm at Lake Tahoe has been very well preserved. They have done a great job here as well, and they kept most of the original furniture and decorations. You definitely feel in the 1930s and 1940s.
Lake Tahoe’s Vikingshom castle – Tourist Verdict
We liked Vikingsholm a lot. Maybe if the castle would’ve not been on the shore of the amazing Emerald Bay, maybe we would’ve not liked it this much. But, hey, it’s the location that counts. The hike down took us about 30 minutes, but we kept stopping for pictures. The hike is pretty easy and the view from the shore of Emerald Bay is very relaxing. It’s worth the effort.