D. L. Bliss State Park

#7 in Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
D. L. Bliss State Park picture1 of 2
D. L. Bliss State Park2 of 2
Susanne Neumann/Getty Images

Key Info

9881 CA-89

Price & Hours

Free
Sunrise-sunset daily

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Named for 19th-century lumber titan Duane Leroy Bliss, this stunning 744-acre park is home to the deepest section of Lake Tahoe and some of the area's most breathtaking sites, including several pristine beaches, hiking trails and the Balancing Rock, a 250,000-pound boulder balancing on a mere fist of granite.

Recent visitors raved about the park's beaches, trails and campsites, saying that they're definitely worth a visit. However, one common complaint is the lack of parking and the limited access to the park in the winter offseason.

D.L. Bliss State Park sits about 2 miles north of Emerald Bay State Park on Lake Tahoe's southwestern shore, or about 17 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89. It's open every day from dawn to dusk. The park is closed to cars in the winter, though pedestrians can still access the closest Rubicon trailhead via a 1-mile hike from the visitor center. During the summer, the day use parking areas at the beaches and at the Rubicon trailhead are often full by mid-morning, so it's advisable to arrive early or in the late afternoon. It costs $10 to enter the park. Available facilities include restrooms, showers and designated picnic areas. For more information, visit the park's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park1 of 12
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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Emerald Bay State Park

Carved millions of years ago by passing glaciers, this state park is a must-see for anyone looking to experience Lake Tahoe's beauty. Sheltered by towering trees, this inlet along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is known for its colorful granite cliffs and stunning panoramas. Follow Highway 89 south from Tahoe City (about 20 miles) or north from South Lake Tahoe (about 10 miles) and you'll come across the Emerald Bay Lookout, the park's crown jewel. And you should make sure you have a camera on hand – the scenery is breathtaking and travelers say there are photo opportunities everywhere you turn.

But staring off into the sunset isn't the only thing to do here. Emerald Bay State Park is also home to several attractions. Budding geologists can hop a boat out to Fannette Island (the only island on Lake Tahoe) where evidence of glacial activity abounds. If you're into history, a stop at Vikingsholm is a must: Built in the 1920s, this former summer home is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the country. Plus, many of the materials used to construct Vikingsholm came from the Lake Tahoe area, making this mansion an authentic part of the landscape. Adults can tour the home for $10 (children ages 7 to 17 and college student pay $8). Getting to the house takes a bit of doing. After parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay, visitors must hike via a steep 1-mile trail that drops 500 feet in elevation. Those with medical conditions or mobility issues are advised not to attempt this hike. 

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