Parking and walking the one mile hike or riding by private boat are the only ways to tour Vikingsholm. Head RIGHT to see Vikingsholm Castle, visitor center and the little beach! Emerald Bay provided the setting for one of the first summer homes at Lake Tahoe. This also means staying on trail, not partaking in destructive water sports and respecting the land so Lake Tahoe is beautiful for everyone (including you) for future visits! This hike is one of my favorite things to do in Lake Tahoe. Through church affiliations Mrs. Knight had become acquainted with the William Henry Armstrong family, who owned 239 acres at the head of Emerald Bay. The Vikingsholm parking lot is about 9 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89 and it isn’t very big! While not really a castle, it is an exceptional mansion whose views and importance in California history are undeniable. The same trail gets you to the beach. It’s a lovely walk, though, with plenty of places to stop and rest. Because of her admiration of Palme’s home and the fjord-like location of Emerald Bay, she decided to have her summer home built in a Scandinavian design. Public bus service is available from both the north and south shores. Of course, their story is no different: sickness spread. Visitors varied in age from young children to the very elderly. Days at Vikingsholm were not filled with one thrilling event following another. Uphill, but doable to get back to parking lot. WARNING: Visitors with medical conditions or mobility issues … They worked diligently throughout the summer and by the end of the season the house was completed. This castle and area of the Tahoe basin have an interesting history. Many antiques were purchased abroad for the home. The highway will merge into Emerald Bay Road which will take you directly to the parking lot of the castle. The rest of the staff was brought from Mrs. Knight’s winter home in Santa Barbara and consisted of her private secretary, personal maid, cook, assistant cook, upstairs and downstairs maids, chauffeur, assistant chauffeur and laundry women. It starts with the Washoe people, Native Americans who once lived around Lake Tahoe dating back possibly to over 9000 years ago. Vikingsholm can be reached by walking a one-mile trail from the parking lot on Highway 89, or by boat. A visitor's center adjacent to the main building is available for further information and the sale of tour tickets and other items. So, drive slow and watch for hikers. His land was eventually sold to Paul Kirby in 1880. Access to lower Vikingsholm is via a steep one mile trail that drops 500 feet in elevation to the house. Mrs. Knight greatly admired some pieces seen in Norwegian and Swedish museums, which were not available for purchase. Sorry, I don’t have any interior photos to show you! Visitors must either take the two-mile, steep hike down from the highway or come by boat. Vikingsholm Castle, on Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, California. I hope this post inspires you to visit this majestic Emerald Bay castle! It has some of the best fall colors in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas each October if you are up for a slightly chillier hike to Vikingsholm. Small, was a corporate lawyer who accepted two brothers, James and William Moore, into his law firm. My legs were VERY sore afterward, but I still think it’s something most ages can do (we passed toddlers all the way up to grandparents with their families on this trail!). After you have enjoyed the castle, hike the short trail to Lower Eagle Falls which begins directly across from the castle or relax at Emerald Bay Beach. You go west around the western shore of Lake Tahoe and after the road winds around giving you amazing views of the lake, the road will start climbing. The hike back up is a true workout only because you gain a lot of elevation in a short amount of time. He subsequently sold it to Harvey West, a lumberman from Placerville, California. This is one of my favorite easy Lake Tahoe hikes! This is a self-pay parking lot that costs $10 (2018), but you can pay with cash, check, or credit card. In the 1880s Lora married James and her sister, Ada, married William. The property on which Vikingsholm is built includes 232 acres of Tahoe’s most beautiful vistas, the only island in Lake Tahoe, and the only waterfall that flows directly into the lake. Uphill, but doable to get back to parking lot. There is no public boat service to Vikingsholm, but Vikingsholm can be reached by private boat. You can tour historic Vikingsholm Castle seven days a week throughout the summer. In the spring of 1929, more than 200 highly-skilled workmen were brought to Emerald Bay and housed in temporary barracks on the property. Keep in mind that you will have to hike from the parking lot in order to reach your destination. This trail isn’t that long, but it is all downhill so you’ll need to hike […] Vikingsholm can be reached by parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. Keep reading for my must-know tips, photos and other fun history facts about this castle! These boats allow passengers to view Vikingsholm from the water but they do not dock in Emerald Bay. I toured Vikingsholm on Sunday, 8/6/2017. Tour boats do not dock at the property. Next time we’re back up at Lake Tahoe I’ll be making sure we visit the castle again because I really want to see what it looks like on the inside. It’s closed in the winter, which makes sense (who in their right mind is trying to go hiking or hanging out on a beach during a Lake Tahoe winter?!). (It is one of the few easy hikes in Lake Tahoe so I get it!). Got questions? Tea was served in the afternoon on the terrace or in the library, and occasionally at the tea house on the island. Pack a picnic, your swim suit, and enjoy … In 1915, they purchased a home in Santa Barbara, but had little time to enjoy it together since Mr. Moore died in 1916. The home is open daily for tours in the summer months from June to September. In fact, even after you’ve hiked down the trail from the parking lot the one mile and 500 feet of elevation drop to witness it first-hand, you’ll still be challenged to take in the castle in its entirety. The castle is a house. Difficulty: Easy. And it will keep climbing for a while. All the spots on the side of the road were taken by earlier hikers so we gave up. You made it! Mrs. Knight would arrive for the summer in the middle of June and stay until the middle of September. The William Henry Armstrong family acquired the property in 1892 and they used the cabins as their summer residence for over 32 years. The same trail gets you to the beach. I’m so excited to share this with you! Vikingsholm is located at the head of Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the United States. A dock is provided for loading and unloading only. Vikingsholm Trail starts from the stone observation area above Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe, about 9 miles north of South Lake Tahoe in the northern Sierra Nevada. over a year ago Problem with this answer? I’m told by followers on Instagram that you can paddle over and look around the island. Guided tours inside the mansion are offered during the summer season every 30 minutes from 9-4pm. When at the end of the trail take the Vikingsholm Castle tour available 7 days a week from mid-June until the end of September from 10am to 4pm. Rated 4.0 /5 based on 2 customer reviews 4.0 Save Add Review Get Directions Add Photo. During the summer months, embark on the challenging hike to Vikingsholm and enjoy a guided tour of the house. These tours are conducted by guides employed by the Sierra State Parks Foundation. Your email address will not be published. This magnificent structure, now a national and California landmark, is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture outside of the Nordic countries. Vikingsholm Lake Tahoe is located on the shore of Emerald Bay and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests are welcome to enjoy the grounds and beaches year-round; however, the trail and parking lot may be impacted by snow or ice. The estate was sold to Lawrence Holland, a rancher from Nevada. best fall colors in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, South Lake Tahoe Breweries Ranked From Best To Worst, Top Lake Tahoe winter activities (that’s not skiing! Sadly, we were not able to go inside this summer as it’s closed for COVID. Emerald Bay reminded her of fjords she had seen on numerous travels to Scandinavia. Vikingsholm is the name of the Scandinavian Mansion built on the beach at the base of the trail. Head to the parking lot which is across the road from the Eagle Falls Hiking Trail and campground lots. In the 1950’s after Lora Josephine Knight died, the castle was sold to Harvey West, which is a name you probably recognize if you’ve spent some time around Lake Tahoe. This is a great chance to see 11th-century style Scandinavian architecture up close without flying to Europe. You can learn more about the hike and what to … This lookout spot faces east, which means you can catch a colorful sunrise here most mornings if you are up for an early wakeup call! Highway 89 at Emerald Bay, CA; View Map Go To Site. Various Westerners owned the portion of land that the castle stands on now. Lora and James Moore had one son, Nathaniel, who married Helen Fargo of the family of Wells Fargo fame. This is a moderate, dirt and paved road hike (with about a 400-foot elevation change) from the parking lot to bottom of Emerald Bay, but be prepared to hike back up. You’ll find a beach and dock there to park your boat or kayak. White men fought the remaining living tribe members in a war over potatoes (I’m serious) and eventually, they were forced to work on area ranches, lumber mills and in other labor-based jobs to survive. The Vikingsholm Castle is in one of the most photographed places in the world, Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. Explore Lake Tahoe's Vikingsholm Castle . Not a fairy tale castle. In the early 1950s, Mr. West, a noted philanthropist, negotiated with the State of California and said he would donate one-half of the appraised value of the land and the Vikingsholm outright, if the State would pay him the other half of the land value. The Vikingsholm castle stands in one of the most idyllic spots in Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay State Park. In 1928, Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight bought the Armstrong’s land with the desire to build a summer home that would compliment the magnificent natural surroundings. Mrs. Knight and guests at Eagle Waterfalls. The exceptional summer home was enjoyed by Mrs. Knight and her guests, for 15 gratifying summers, until Mrs. Knight’s death at the age of 82 in 1945. If you go mid-week, you may have the place all to yourself. Vikingsholm Castle. Getting to Vikingsholm Castle parking lot is quite easy. This lookout point sits on top of the mountain ridge a couple of hundred feet up and is always one of those views that make me feel so very alive to see in person. Tours are available at Vikingsholm Castle Lake Tahoe from Memorial Day weekend until the last week of September. Vikingsholm can be reached by walking a one-mile trail from the parking lot on Highway 89, or by boat. Once you’re done soaking in all the views, time to hike the Vikingsholm trail to the castle! Photographs taken on that trip show how faithfully Mr. Palme reproduced specific features of these Scandinavian buildings in the design of Vikingsholm. It transferred a lot of hands, eventually being sold to Lora Josephine Knight in 1928. I recommend going for the $10/day ticket as the hike and castle tour will take you more than an hour. The castle is part of the Sierra State Parks Foundation and thus open for public tours for a small fee during the summer months. These hiking trails are SUPER popular and thus there’s always cars parked on the side of the road and people dashing across. Tucked near the beach is the Vikingsholm Castle – it’s a bit hidden by trees but eventually, you’ll spot the castle tower peaking out. Input your search keywords and press Enter. Here’s the thing: you’re going to want to hike this lake trail RIGHT away in the morning. of nature's spectacular beauty and man's architectural ingenuity. In the early 1920s, Lora Small Moore married Harry French Knight, a stockbroker from St. Louis. The early bird gets the parking spot, or the empty hiking trail, or the good spot on the beach! There is no public boat service to Vikingsholm, but Vikingsholm can be reached by private boat. The Fresh Ketch. The Washoe people usually spent summers on the lake and winters in the foothills or valleys of the Sierras. Tour boats are available from South Shore and North Shore. Comment or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll try to help! Description: This popular trail offers spectacular views of Emerald Bay and Fanette Island from the shoreline. She also was a major benefactor to the Christian Science churches in Santa Barbara, Reno, and South Lake Tahoe. Vikingsholm, South Lake Tahoe: 93 answers to 14 questions about Vikingsholm: See 775 reviews, articles, and 528 photos of Vikingsholm, ranked No.7 on Tripadvisor among 185 attractions in … Distance: 1. Directions: How To Get To Vikingsholm Castle & Vikingsholms Trailhead Address: Emerald Bay State Park Lot on Highway 89 (most Google Maps will recognize “Vikingsholm Parking lot” if … Everyone gathered in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Unlike some of their other California-tribe neighbors, the Washoe didn’t come in contact with Westerners until 1848 during the California Gold Rush. Vikingsholm is noted for its outstanding architecture and scenic location. It only took a few years to construct this castle which she then used as a summer home for over 15 years. Mrs. Knight enjoyed entertaining and invited many friends and family members to visit during the summer months. You can purchase your tickets from the small visitor center just past the mansion at the end of the trail. Discover Vikingsholm Castle in South Lake Tahoe, California: One woman's Viking Castle on Lake Tahoe. Gracious hospitality was extended at all times to guests. Open to the public to enjoy forever, as it should it be. There are benches along the way if you need to stop and take a rest. I can’t stress enough how packed this parking lot and trail can get. Vikingsholm is located in South Lake Tahoe on the California (western) side of the lake. For perspective, we foolishly tried to do the Vikingsholm trail hike around 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. In 1928, she purchased the property from them for $250,000. During these months of 1929, the timbers were hand hewn, the exterior wall boards were planed, intricate wood carvings were executed, and metal fixtures, such as fireplace screens, hinges and latches, were hand forged. When she encountered such situations she hired craftsmen to make copies of the museum pieces. A relaxed, unhurried atmosphere typified the style of life one experienced when visiting the home. The trail was pretty emtpy and there weren’t many people around the castle. This whole area is quickly becoming one of our favorite go-to vacation spots in the United States. That’s right, in traditional Lake Tahoe fashion, there’s a beach here! I’m not sure if there are rules or permits required since I did not arrive this way, so check before you head out. BUT, Lake Tahoe is also a fantastic place to hunt out fall foliage. This spectacular site was originally built to be the summer residence of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. PS: you can rent Vikingsholm Castle out for events and things like weddings. As in, you’ll want your car in the lot no later than 8:30-9am. Interior tours of Vikingsholm Castle begin Memorial Day weekend and continue until the end of September; hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at the Vikingsholm Visitor Center adjacent to the castle. As with all state parks, this does have a parking fee which helps maintain the porta-potties located in the parking lot and of course, keeping the trail clean for visitors. Vikingsholm Castle. At the parking lot, I recommend first you climb over the big boulders for a stunning view of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island. After a few … During the day guests enjoyed swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and trips around the lake, by boat or car, planned by Mrs. Knight. These terms were agreed upon, and in 1953 the house and property were acquired the the state. Easy trail. The lot was SO packed, we spent 20 minutes circling around with no luck. Here’s what I suggest you pack: Yes! Not a fairy tale castle. The brightly painted bridal table, which stands in the living room, represents the quality of these outstanding reproductions. A visitor's center adjacent to the main building is available for further information and the sale of tour tickets and other items. I can only picture her in a full-blown petticoat standing on the shores of South Lake Tahoe – which back then was very rustic compared to the way it is now – declaring that she wants a Scandinavia-style castle built here. It represents an era of gracious living. A real-life castle in the middle of Tahoe. The photo opportunities are endless. Remember, no matter when you go, to Keep Tahoe Blue! The castle tours are currently cancelled due to covid. For 16 years she had enjoyed her summer home Wychwood, at Observatory Point, on the North Shore. Tour boats do not dock at the property. To get to the mansion, take Highway 89 to the lake’s southwest shore. I’m not going to lie – this woman seems kinda awesome. Nearest city: South Lake Tahoe, California: Built: 1929: Architect: Lennart Palme, AIA; Matt Green : Architectural style: American Craftsman, Late 19th and early 20th Scandinavian Century Revivals: NRHP reference No. This means picking up your trash (don’t leave your chips bag on the trail or in the lake waters for mother nature to deal with!) If you are coming from Sacramento, like most visitors, all you need to do is take Highway 50 North of the city. Beaching of boats is allowed in the bay from dawn until dusk. Address: 11001 W Lake Blvd Tahoma, CA 96142 View Map. The house is a short, 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) hike away from the Emerald Bay State Park lookout parking lot, which is worth stopping at for views of the bay and Fannette Island. Instead, each day blended into the next in the relaxed, unhurried atmosphere. The castle is a house. It’s nothing like I’ve seen in the USA before. Get there early for a better chance of snagging a parking space, and bring cash to pay for parking. “Selma” the clock, one of the most striking pieces, stands in the hallway. Click to rate this hike! Outstanding features of the Vikingsholm exterior include: granite boulders embedded in mortar, typical of Swedish stone churches and castles built in the 11th century, massive hand hewn timbers, characteristic of those used by the early Norsemen, carvings around the doors adapted from those bordering old church entrances; carvings extending along roof ridges with dragon heads crossing at roof peaks, and a sod roof with wildflowers. Vikingsholm Castle tours. The home is open daily for tours in the summer months from June to September. They were reproduced in exact detail, including aging of the wood and duplication of scratches found on the originals. Bay at Lake Tahoe, this magnificent "castle" is a unique blend She and Mr. Knight actively promoted Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic and were the prime financial backers of that flight. Parking is available for a fee. You will find the lake views along the trial and forest setting make this a pleasant hike. Vikingsholm is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. When Mrs. Knight purchased the land at Emerald Bay, where Vikingsholm would be located, she was not a newcomer to the Tahoe area. Vikingsholm was completed in the fall of 1929. BUT when we finished our hike around 10am, the lot was just as packed as it was the day before. Her father Edward A. Located in Emerald They were inspired by viewing many ancient building such as wooden churches and homes in Norway and stone castles in Sweden. Added by Jake Young. For the latest information on tour schedules, parking, special events, and directions to Vikingsholm, please visit: Vikingsholm Tour Information. ), My 13 favorite Lake Tahoe summer activities (North + South Lake), 9 cute South Lake Tahoe cabins to rent for the whole crew. She commissioned her nephew by marriage, Lennart Palme, a Swedish architect, to design the home. These young men eventually grained controlling interests in a number of large companies, including National Biscuit, Continental Can, Diamond Match, Union Pacific, and Rock Island Railroad. At the bottom, you’ll find a split in the trail. The house is open for tours during the summer months and the magnificent scenery may be enjoyed all year around by those wishing to visit this beautiful setting. 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