The Stream Profile Chamber
lets visitors experience what
it would be like to go below the surface of Taylor Creek.
The Lake Tahoe Basin has a number of interesting and unusual
sightseeing attractions that are located on government park
and forest property. For your sightseeing pleasure, we suggest
the following points of interest and vistas of interests.
This is one of the most beautiful historic homes on Lake Tahoe.
From the turn of the century until 1965, the lands of what
is now Sugar Pine Point State Park were owned by financier
Isaias W. Hellman, who began buying property in 1913 and acquired
nearly 2,000 acres.
Hellman's grand but informal summer home, called Pine Lodge,
was completed in 1903 and was considered to be one of the finest
in the high Sierra. His daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman,
inherited the estate and she and her husband Sydney spent many
summers here entertaining friends.
In 1965 the house and 1,975 acres of the estate were acquired
by the California State Park System. Today the house is maintained
as a house museum and as an example of the opulent tradition
in Tahoe summer homes. It provides an interesting view into
the lifestyles of the wealthy.
Ehrman Mansion is open on weekendsfor guided tours, July through
Labor Day. Call for hours. A nominal fee is charged.
Sugar Pine Point State Park
SR 89, West Shore Lake Tahoe
Creek Stream Profile Chamber
The Stream Profile Chamber lets visitors experience what it would
be like to go below the surface of Taylor Creek. The floor-to-ceiling
glass bay windows, waterfall, creek-bottom-like walking surface
and sound effects allow visitors to experience the Taylor Creek
environment without getting wet! Trout, crayfish, insects, frogs,
and other inhabitants of Taylor Creek might be seen displaying
some of their natural survival habits.
The viewing windows artistically fade into a huge mural that
wraps around the walls of the Chamber. Visitors can view scenes
of the Taylor Creek ecosystem throughout the four seasons, with
a final scene looking down Taylor Creek where it empties into
Lake Tahoe. The mural contains many plants and animals native
to Taylor Creek. Children and adults will enjoy locating and
identifying each species. There are also several animals hiding
throughout the Chamber that will require a few more observations
skills to find.
Visitors may also learn about the unique characteristics of the
Taylor Creek ecosystem from the informative interpretive signs
comparing the Taylor Creek ecosystem with other streams in the
Tahoe Basin. The food web of the Taylor Creek ecosystem is described
in the underwater root system of a huge cottonwood tree "growing"
in the middle of the Chamber! Other interpretive panels describe
the story of survival and life in one of Lake Tahoe's most unique
Viewing hours vary with the season, so call ahead. Admittance
Taylor Creek Stream Profile Chamber
USDA Forest Service Visitor Center
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
South Lake Tahoe
Castle & Fannette Island
Located at the west end of Emerald Bay, Vikingsholm Castle
and Fannette Island are popular attractions. Vikingsholm Castle
is considered the finest example of Scandinavian architecture
in the Western Hemisphere and Fannette Island is the only island
in Lake Tahoe.
In 1928, Mrs. Lora J. Knight of Santa Barbara and Chicago purchased
an isolated site at the head of Emerald Bay. She instructed
Lennart Palme, a Swedish-born architect who had married into
her family, to design a home without disturbing a single one
of the site's magnificent trees.
After a trip to Scandinavia, they decided to reproduce a Norse
fortress of about 800 A.D. in full detail. The methods and
materials used in the construction, including the boulders
of the foundations and walls, are those used in ancient Scandinavia.
Turrets, towers, intricate carvings, even hand-hewn timbers
were used to recreate the fortress. The sod roof with its living
grass is like those sometimes used in Scandinavia to feed livestock
during the winter. Many of the furnishings that Mrs. Knight
wanted for Vikingsholm were so historically significant that
their export was forbidden by the Norwegian and Swedish governments,
so she had them copied in detail, down to measurements, colorations
and aging of the wood. The tour is packed with details of the
construction of the castle and its furnishings that will amaze
The castle was completed in 1929. Mrs. Knight also had guest
houses and the Tea House on Fannette Island built. Mrs. Knight
spent her summers in the 48-room castle until her death in
Guided tours are available on weekends from Memorial Day to
mid-June and daily from mid-June to Labor Day. Call for hours.
A nominal fee is charged. If driving, it is best to arrive
before 10:00 a.m. because the day-use parking is extremely
limited (25 cars) and a fee is charged. The castle is about
a mile down, by trail, from the parking lot at the Emerald
Sightseeing bonus! A short trail leads from Vikingsholm Castle
to beautiful Eagle Falls --a must hike!
The only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette
Island is a sparsely wooded, brush-covered upthrust of granite
that rises 150 feet above the water. The stone structure on
top of the island that looks like a miniature castle is the "Tea House" built
in 1929 by Mrs. Knight, who built Vikingsholm Castle. She and
her guests would travel by motorboat to be served tea in a
250 square foot room with a fireplace and a large oak table
and four oak chairs. Today, only the stone shell remains.
Visitors may use the island during the day from mid-June to
February. Camping is not permitted and dogs are not allowed.
From February 1 through June 15 the island is closed to all
visitors. During this time, Canadian geese nest on the land
that is virtually free of predators. By late spring its common
to see families of geese swimming along the shoreline near
Vikingsholm Castle & Fannette Island
D.L. Bliss & Emerald Bay State Parks
SR 89, West Shore Lake Tahoe
Take time to enjoy some beautiful scenery and views as you drive
around Lake Tahoe!
Starting from the Forest Service Taylor Creek Visitor Center,
turn left onto SR 89 then go 100 yards to Fallen Leaf Road and
Continue two miles and turn left on Tahoe Mountain Road. After
one-half mile turn right on a dirt road labeled 1214 and follow
it two miles to old Angora Fire Lookout. From here you'll have
a spectacular view of the Tahoe Basin.
Back track to SR 89 to:
Inspiration Point offers great views of Emerald Bay, one of the
most photographed spots in the world!
Continue north on SR 89 for several more great vistas:
Bliss State Park
Enjoy the lovely beach and take the nature trail that leads to
Point Pine State Park
Take a walk through a sugar pine grove and along a beautiful
After Homewood, look for an enormous rock formation standing
high on the left side of the road. Eagle Rock is the neck of
an eroded volcanic plug.
Valley Aerial Tram
Enjoy the fabulous views on the way and at the top of the tram.
Return to Tahoe City and turn left on SR 28 and then left
on Reservoir Drive just beyond the Biltmore Casino. Turn
right at the fire station on Lakeshore Avenue and left on
the Forest Service Road 1601, by the iron pipe gate.
Pay a visit to the former Forest Service fire lookout with
one of the best views of Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the self-guided
A short trip up SR 431:
A wonderful scenic overlook.
Return to SR 28 and travel south towards HWY 50 for several
more great vistas:
This Nevada State Park Beach is one of the most beautiful and
easily accessible of the east shore beaches. The sand is soft
and the waters are crystal clear.
Logan Shoals offers a pretty vista across the lake where you
can see the broad u-shaped valleys carved out of glaciers,
such as Emerald Bay.
HWY 50 goes right through Cave Rock, a huge rock formation
that is the neck of an old volcano. The name comes from the
small caves on the west side, cut by waves when the lake was
140 feet higher during the ice age. Cave Rock is also a spiritual
site of the regions earliest residents, the Washoe Indian Tribe.