Lake Tahoe’s Newest Trailhead is… Underwater?!
May 7, 2019 by rachel
Thousands of visitors travel to the Lake Tahoe Basin every summer in search of their favorite trailhead along the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, but did you know one of Lake Tahoe’s most unique trails actually lies below the lake’s surface?! Starting October 1, 2018 California’s first maritime heritage underwater trail officially opened to the public. According to the California State Parks website, the trail is devoted to showcasing Lake Tahoe’s historic recreational watercraft and barges that now rest below the surface of Emerald Bay.
Iconic Emerald Bay
Known as one of the most photographed sites in the United States, Emerald Bay is on the must-see list of most everyone who comes to this region. When the weather is warm you have several options available to experience Emerald Bay:
- Visit Inspiration Point by car or bike Rising 600 feet above the water, Inspiration Point showcases some of the most fantastic views of the bay. From here you can hike up to Eagle Falls or down to the water’s edge.
- Experience Emerald Bay by water Rent a boat or join one of the many commercial cruises that complete the well-known counter-clockwise tour of the famous bay multiple times every day.
On the interpretive signs or the guided cruises you may learn about the history of Vikingsholm Castle, which sits on the shoreline at the apex of the bay, as well as how the mistress of the castle would row her guests out to Fannette Island in the middle of the bay for tea in the small stone house at the top of the hill. You will absorb many fun facts about the lake: it’s the 2nd deepest lake in the country; the water is 99.9% pure and so clear you can see a white dinner plate 90’ down; the “Big Blue” gets its color from the rapid evaporation of the surface water. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the famous lake monster, Tahoe Tessie, who likes to show up around sunset.
New Underwater Trailhead
Now, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Sierra State Parks Foundation and the California State Parks, visitors and locals alike have an opportunity to experience a part of Emerald Bay rarely seen before. Interested parties can obtain a series of waterproof cards with exact coordinates of the dive sites from the visitor center, local dive shops, or online at the California State Parks’ website. The underwater trail features five different sunken barges located at four separate dive points throughout the bay. While one of these dive sites has been known and accessed for many years by divers, the unveiling of the Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail included the debut of three additional sites that had previously been withheld from the public. The vessels are located between 10 and 40 feet beneath the surface and each is adorned with an underwater plaque. Visitors will have to have proper equipment and training for diving at high altitude.
Be one of the firsts to explore this one of a kind trail and finish the day relaxing in your luxury vacation rental with Utopian LVH. Come learn more about the history of beautiful Lake Tahoe, the various ways to tour the area, and experience the new underwater trailhead!