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Emerald Bay and D.L.Bliss State Parks - California Watchable Wildlife Viewing Site #75

Wildlife Viewing Area
Lake Tahoe from D.L. Bliss State Park

Emerald Bay and D.L.Bliss State Parks are California Watchable Wildlife Viewing Sites. These two adjacent parks are linked by trails and located in a spectacular alpine setting above one of the world's largest and clearest high-elevation lakes, Lake Tahoe.

Eagle Falls cascades into Emerald Bay against a backdrop of Lake Tahoe, where one can watch soaring ospreys and bald eagles overhead. Rock outcroppings and conifer forests line six miles of shoreline, where the Rubicon Trail leads to protected coves and views of waterfowl. The path weaves among pines, firs, and cedars, habitat for juncos, western tanagers, and white-headed and pileated woodpeckers. Squirrels and chipmunks are common. Patient observers may see coyotes, martens or bats at dusk. Fall colors are covered by a mantle of winter snow when snowshoe hares and bald eagles visit. Wildflowers bloom just as Canada geese arrive to nest on Fannette Island in Emerald Bay.

A trail from the Highway 89 vista parking area leads to the water's edge of Emerald Bay and the historic Vikingsholm Mansion for tours during the summer. The historic Rubicon Lighthouse is accessible from the Emerald Bay Trail via the Rubicon Trail or may be accessed by parking at D.L. Bliss State Park, a few miles north. Emerald Bay includes an underwater park with the opportunity to dive to submerged vessels.

A nature center is located at nearby Sugar Pine Point State Park. The visitor center and campgrounds are available during the summer months only, winter camping is available at Sugar Pine Point State Park, 7 miles north on Hwy 89. Contact the California States Park for current days and hour information. For more details about viewing wildlife at Lake Tahoe and for links to a species list, visit

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

High probability of seeing waterfowl, birds of prey, and songbirds in spring and summer. Winter offers views of eagles, martens, and lots of tracks in the snow.

Nearby Places