Thursday, February 21, 2013


We were up in the Sierras at Truckee so we decided to visit Emerald Bay, part of Lake Tahoe. Emerald bay is a very beautiful bay. The Vikingsholm Trail takes you from the Parking Lot off of Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay. The trail is a very steep. There was snow on the ground for us but there’s well defined 1 mile trail that leads down to the beach and the old stone house of Vikingsholm. 

Trail  to Vikingsholm

The way down is a nice hike, but the way back up can be difficult because it’s so steep. The scenery along the way is great, with views of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and surrounding mountains. The elevation is 6,300 feet.

Vikingsholm Boarded up for winter
Vikingsholm is the former summer home of millionaire heiress Lora Knight, and was built in 1929. Because the rugged mountain scenery and sheer granite cliffs surrounding Emerald Bay reminded her of the fjords in Norway, Mrs. Knight chose a Scandinavian design. It’s a house with many unusual features, including a sod roof seeded with wildflowers and carved dragon-heads at the peak of the roof. Vikingsholm is considered to be one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture existing in the United States.
The 38 room Vikingsholm mansion was home to a staff of about 15 every summer upon Mrs. Knight’s arrival. An enthusiastic entertainer, she also had guests often in the summer months; at times as many as twelve people would be staying at one time. 
Fannette Island from the Beach
From the beach at Vikingsholm there’s a beautiful view of the Tea House on Fannette Island, the only island to be found in all of Lake Tahoe.
Vikingsholm was closed to tours while we were there because it’s winter (we were the only people there) but I remember on an earlier trip that it’s filled with whimsical touches inside that are fantastic. Upstairs, the delicate colors of the stained paneling are beautiful, and Mrs. Knight’s collection of Scandinavian antiques and museum reproductions are interesting to see.
Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the Trail
Emerald Bay is incredible. With clear and very cold water it was designated an underwater state park in 1994. It’s bottom 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 the construction of Vikingsholm.
Vikingsholm and Emerald Bay are highly recommended. A must see if you’re lucky enough to be at Lake Tahoe.  
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