D.L. Bliss State Park, Lake Tahoe

We’ve been exploring Lake Tahoe a lot this summer, and one of our favorite stops so far has been to D.L. Bliss State Park, 7 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, and a couple of miles north of Emerald Bay. This past weekend, we loaded up some watercraft and drove down early to get a day-use parking spot at the Rubicon trailhead.

The park has a great visitor center just off the highway—we stopped in for ice cream sandwiches on the way out and were wowed by its taxidermy display of native fauna (none of which were hunted, the ranger was quick to assure me). Everything from bats and birds, to black bears and bobcats were on display. They also had a touch table and some magnifying jars with scat. There was a dissected owl pelet showing all the tiny bones he’d left undigested from a meal that was particularly interesting to the kids. I could have easily looked around longer.

DL Bliss State Park is named for a pioneering lumberman, railroad owner and banker from the region, whose family donated 744 acres to the California State Park System in 1929, and there is also a nice collection of historical photos alongside guidebooks, postcards, and stuffed animals.

Further down the road is the entry point for day use permits and campsites. There are 51 campsites that open up for reservations several months in advance. The rangers always offer the kids junior ranger stickers to wear with litter collection bags, and they get a kick out of trying to find things to fill them. Happily, it’s actually been a challenge!

The water all around the lake is crystal clear, but it always seems especially brilliant in the coves—where the boulders descend into the water along the edges of the lake. Apparently its a popular area to scuba dive.

We brought along the mini kayak we borrowed (Hudson’s own is on the way! A birthday gift!), and two inflatables—a double kayak and paddleboard—to explore the coves, and find some good spots for jumping into the lake.

Hikers set off on the Rubicon Trail, the Lighthouse Trail, and Balancing Rock Trail from within the park. We’ve only climbed to the top to look over the beach, but it’s said that from promontories such as Rubicon Point, you can see over one hundred feet into the depths of Lake Tahoe.

Note: The park is closed during the winter. And dogs are not permitted on the trails, on beaches or in the Vikingsholm area.

Are you familiar with Lake Tahoe? What’s your favorite place to spend the day? 

P.S. Wildlife cameras and more on Lake Tahoe

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