Emerald Bay State Park
- Hwy 89, Emerald Bay West Lake Tahoe
- tel, info: 530 541 3030
- full US$6.00, tours of Vikingsholm Castle, adult:US$5.00, child US$3.00
- late May-Sep, island open 06:00-21:00; tours of Vikingsholm Castle 10:00-16:00
Lonely Planet review for Emerald Bay State Park
Sheer granite cliffs and a jagged shoreline hem in glacier-carved Emerald Bay, a spot of supreme natural beauty that will have you burning up the pixels in your digicam. Its most captivating aspect is the water, which changes from cloverleaf green to light jade depending on the angle of the sun.
For a different perspective, explore the 4.8km/3mi-long bay by boat, which is also the only way to get to Fanette Island, Lake Tahoe's lone isle. It is open for exploring and swimming daily, except from February to June 15 to protect nesting Canadian geese.
The focal point of the state park embracing the fjordlike bay is Vikingsholm Castle, a pet project of millionaire heiress Lora Knight and a rare example of ancient Scandinavian-style architecture in these parts. Completed in 1929, it has trippy design elements aplenty, including sod-covered roofs that sprout wildflowers in late spring. The mansion is reached by a steep trail, which also leads to a visitors center.
Knight also built a teahouse on Fanette Island, but vandals have sadly reduced it to little more than a stone shell.