Friday, May 29, 2009

speaking of running...Rubicon Trail

I've mentioned this trail before, but have never properly posted about it. If you're in Lake Tahoe and enjoy running, I highly recommend this trail. Walking it is great, too. I walked it with my mom this past weekend, and it really is beautiful.

{Note: This is the single-track Rubicon Trail that runs from Bliss Park to Emerald Bay, not the off-roading Rubicon Jeep Trail up McKinney-Rubicon Road.}

My favorite place to run near our cabin is the Rubicon Trail at D.L. Bliss Park. The trail runs from Calawee Cove (Rubicon Point) at Bliss Park all the way to Emerald Bay, around Emerald Bay and up to Upper Eagle Point Campground (see map below). I haven't gone nearly that far, but some day I will. I have only run the stretch from Rubicon Point to Emerald Bay. It is well worth the trip.

The portion of the trail closest to Rubicon Point (along with the Lighthouse Trail) has more traffic on it, but the rest of the trail is quite isolated in the morning. I prefer to jump on the trail only a mile down the Bliss Park road, just past the pay station. When you turn off of highway 89, drive a mile down the road to the ranger's station (pay station). Less than a quarter mile after the station, park in the small parking lot on your left. You'll see two trail heads: the Lighthouse Trail (down the road) and the Rubicon Trail (up the road a bit back toward the pay station). Take the Rubicon Trail and head right (South) when you hit the trail. This cuts off the entire Lighthouse Trail portion (probably a little over a mile and a half). From here it is somewhere between 2 and 3 miles to Emerald Bay and another 1 1/2 to 2 miles to Vikingsholm. I'm could probably look up the exact distances, but really--who cares when you're out on a beautiful trail?

From the starting point mentioned above, it's a gradual downhill until you are running closer to the water. Then the trail levels out and is relatively flat. You'll know you are getting close to Emerald Bay when the trail passes a small cove and heads inland. Run another 5 minutes or so and you'll come out near the entrance of Emerald Bay.

This single-track trail really is amazing and is perfect for running. I read another online review of the trail and the author said that there are a lot of side trails that head down to the lake, making it hard to distinguish which is the real trail. Perhaps he was referring to the part closest to Calawee Cove, because farther down the trail I don't remember seeing any side trails. It is quite obvious where you are supposed to go.

You can make it an out-and-back or you can park cars at different ends and run a point-to-point starting at either Upper Rubicon Point Campgrounds, Emerald Bay, or Bliss Park. If you start at Emerald Bay, you'll have to park at the top and walk (or run) the half mile down the dirt road to get to the trail down on the bay. Wherever you start, be sure to go early--parking fills up at Emerald Bay, and Bliss Park has a limit on the number of cars they let in. Be sure you get in early on busy weekends, especially so you don't have to deal with lots of other hikers on the trail. I highly recommend starting and ending at Bliss Park so that you can spend the rest of the day at the Calawee Cove beach (or jumping off nearby rocks).

Click map for larger view:

I was sure to take my camera with me this past weekend just so I could post a ridiculous number of pictures:


bon bon said...

Wow Molly! Those pictures are so gorgeous. I sure miss those trips to your cabin. You're so amazing that you run so much and enjoy it! (I can't seem to find the joy in running that you have!) Thanks for inspiring me!

Holley said...

oooooh what beautiful pictures. They make me want to visit Tahoe. And I am so impressed that you've been able to keep running this long while pregnant. Go Molly!

mer said...

Oh wow--so pretty! Great photos! As much as I love living in the Rockies, sometimes I really miss the Sierras...

Tamra said...


brooklyn said...

LOVE these pics! they made me so itchy to go to the mountains! and the water--so beautifully clear.

i haven't checked blogs for so long--fun posts to catch up on. your pregnant pics are so cute.