The Majestic Rubicon Trail and the Tiniest Shack of a Lighthouse, D.L. Bliss State Park
I might be a lighthouse snob. I think it is a common trait among Michiganders, both those currently living in state and displaced. You know what they say, “with Great Lakes comes great lighthouses”. Heck, even the light marking the entrance to the Keweenaw portage is magical.
So, about this ‘Rubicon Point Light’ – it may have been the highest-elevation lighthouse in the US, but that’s if you are taking the term ‘light house’ at face value. Yes, here stood a light which was housed in a small wooden building. It did help shine a beacon on the shores of Tahoe to those sailing big blue… but it is no lighthouse.
While Rubicon Point Lighthouse might not meet lighthouse exceptions, the Rubicon Trail in D.L. Bliss State Park exceeds them. With the trail overhanging Tahoe cliffs and winding under granite boulders, it is as if you are walking into a Pinterest image. Very cool.
Rubicon and Lighthouse Trail Loop, D.L. Bliss State Park
Distance: 1.5 miles from the Parking area to Rubicon Point Lighthouse & back to the trailhead via the Rubicon Trail. The lighthouse trial has ~200 ft elevation gain.
Trialhead: After arriving at D.L. Bliss State Park follow the road forking right at every intersection. We ended up parked at Lester Beach – which is a must stop while down here. It doesn’t seem like there is very much parking given the popularity of the trail, so be prepared to find a spot and walk in the busy season. Map.
It was another beautiful Tahoe day with my parents when we decided to visit D.L. Bliss State Park and Lester Beach. This was on the Tuesday after the holiday weekend now. Good thing too, because I am fairly certain if we tried to visit the state park on Labor Day weekend we would have not been able to get a parking spot. As it was, it was a lovely less busy Tuesday.
My Mom and I headed over to the nearby Rubicon Trail for a hike, leaving my Dad to fend for himself against the persistent Lester Beach water fowl (these ducks are hungry and know what a cooler is). We followed the lighthouse trail to the aforementioned light-shack lookout. This is probably the more gradual climb up to the lighthouse than if you take the flat Rubicon trail then have to stairmaster up in the opposite direction. There are some nice lake views through the trees among the trial here when taking breather during the climb.
After checking out the lighthouse down a short side trail, we quickly descended down to the level section of the Rubicon trail. Here the trail hugs the cliffsides with some overhanging bridges, and lots of great spots to stop and enjoys the lake. It was a quick hike back along this segment of the trail back to Lester Beach for a quick swim in some pretty chilly water.
It is definitely a trail to return to sometime with a better camera and more time to maybe explore as far as Emerald Bay. But then again, it was pretty great to explore it with my Mom! We just need to steal Dad’s camera next time… More photos below: