Vikingsholm

Vikingsholm, an architectural marvel located at the head of Emerald Bay, is one of the top attractions in Lake Tahoe. The Vikingsholm Castle is tucked into the forest and many visitors are surprised by the fact that it seems to blend with the landscape seamlessly. Built in 1929, this castle was the summer home of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. Today, tours of Vikingsholm Lake Tahoe are available seven days a week from Memorial Day through September. During your trip to Lake Tahoe, it is possible to combine outdoor adventure, relaxation, and history.

Many people plan a trip to Vikingsholm because it is a great destination to aim for at the end of an invigorating hike. While it is possible to drive to Vikingsholm Castle (parking is available for a small fee), many visitors choose to tackle one of the hikes to reach this Lake Tahoe attraction. From Emerald Bay to Vikingsholm, there is a hike along the lake that is 1.7 miles in length. While this trail is longer than the trail from the parking lot to the castle (1 mile in length) it is in some ways easier; the trail from the parking lot to Vikingsholm is significantly steeper than the trail from Emerald Bay.

Once you arrive, there are tours of Vikingsholm Lake Tahoe seven days per week. The first tour of the day is offered at 10.30 am, and the final tour of the day is given at 4.30 pm. You must join a guided tour if you are interested in seeing the castle; at this time there are no self-guided tours of Vikingsholm. Lasting half an hour, these tours in Tahoe are relatively cheap, and there is a discount for children under 17 as well. There is a maximum number of people allowed on any individual tour, so once 30 tickets have been sold, it may be necessary to wait for the next available tour. For this reason, it is smart to arrive as early as possible, and avoid weekends when this attraction sees the largest crowds, unless you’ve bought your ticket in advance.

During a tour of Vikingsholm Castle you will learn about the Scandinavian inspiration of the buildings design. Mrs. Knight had a staff of fifteen and spent her first summer here in 1930. She enjoyed fifteen summers in her castle before passing away in 1945. This and much more history is discussed during tours of Vikingsholm Lake Tahoe, including the fact that Mrs. Knight always invited many guests to share her beautiful castle and views of Emerald Bay. After Mrs. Knight’s death at age 82, Vikingsholm passed through the hands of one additional owner before becoming the property of State of California. It is now one of the essential pieces of Emerald Bay State Park.

After learning about some local history, there are many ways to burn off some energy. Go for a hike in the Eldorado National Forest or take a river rafting tour along river outside Truckee. Climb aboard a boat for a tour of Lake Tahoe or gaze down at the mountains and forests from a gondola. There are so many ways for your family to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Lake Tahoe that you won’t know where to start! But if you’re interested in architecture and history, a visit to Vikingsholm should be at the top of your list.

Image: *~Dawn~* (flickr)

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