Emerald Bay provided the setting for one of the first summer homes at Lake Tahoe. In 1863 Ben Holladay, stagecoach magnet and early day transportation king pre-empted land in Emerald Bay and built a summer home. In 1884 a Dr. Kirby bought 500 acres in the Bay and built a resort. A portion of the Kirby land was sold to the William Henry Armstrong family in 1895. Mrs. Knight purchased the land from the Armstrongs in 1928. Mrs. Knight's land included the only island (Fanette Island) in Lake Tahoe and the only water fall (Eagle Falls) flowing directly into the Lake. Magnificent cedars and pines set off by shear granite cliffs make this one of the most scenic areas in the entire United States. Mrs. Knight wanted to build a summer home that would compliment the magnificent natural surroundings. Emerald Bay reminded her of many of the fjords she had seen on numerous travels to Scandinavia. She commissioned her nephew by marriage, Lennart Palme, a Swedish architect, to design the plans. Learn all about the rich history of Emerals Bay and Vikingsholm Castle on this informative tour!
Tours of Vikingsholm Castle are available seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September. The first tour of the day starts at 10:30 A.M. and the last tour at 4:00 P.M. All tours are guided tours and take approximately one-half hour. The tour fee is $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children (7-17). Children under 7 are free. The maximum number of people on a tour is 30.
Limited parking is available in the Vikingsholm parking lot off of Highway 89. The parking fee is $10.00. (It is advisable to come for morning tours as there are more parking opportunities at that time.) A one-mile steep, but well defined, trail leads from the parking lot to Vikingsholm. Many scenic views can be enjoyed during this walk. There are various resting places along the trail. It is to be stressed, though, this is a steep trail at an elevation of over 6,300 feet.
Bus service to the parking lot is available from both North Shore and South Shore. There is no public boat service to Vikingsholm, but Vikingsholm can be reached by private boat. A dock is provided for loading and unloading only. Beaching a boat is allowed in the bay from dawn to dusk. Tour boats are available from South Shore and North Shore. These boats allow passengers to view Vikingsholm from the water, but they do not dock in Emerald Bay. Limited handicapped access is available.