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San Antonio, Texas
December 25, 2005
Vikingsholm is located about 30 minutes up Route 89 headed north away from South Lake Tahoe. The drive there is winding and beautiful. Take your time and take in the beauty of the huge trees and the mountain and lake views.
Use caution around the hairpin turns, as traffic travelling in the opposite direction sometimes goes over the line and into your lane, and in some locations there are no guard rails and no room for error. The speed limit is 25 to 30mph, and I would recommend doing the speed limit just to be able to take it all in, but also for safety's sake. Locals may want to pass you, and there are pull-offs to will let them go by.
Vikingsholm is a true historical moment filled with beauty. When you get there, be prepared to take pictures and make sure you bring plenty of water for the hike to Eagle Falls. There is a 1-mile hike to Vikingsholm itself, and from there you can hike to Eagle Falls and other places. This section of Lake Tahoe is referred to as Emerald Bay and is beautiful (see my additional section down below).Fitness requirement: It's all downhill, but 1 mile down feels like 5 miles going back. Take your time and enjoy the day. We were there in December and the path was a little snowy and requires an amount of surefootedness, but the hike itself was great. There are "restrooms" at the bottom of the hill, and they were open while we were there. We spent over 3 hours and could have spent longer if we had water and better shoes. It looks like the summer months would be really busy, but there are planned activities and more to see. The trails are easy, but because you have to go back UPhill, the hike back can be strenuous on the no-so fit. If you don't exercise, be prepared to stop a lot on the way back. Take your time. I am completely out of shape and at one point thought I was going to have a heart attack!! My pulse was 160, and I was seriously overheating and dehydrated. (The 1-mile "road" is wheelchair-passable, but it would be very, very strenuous on the driver. Controlling that rate of descent and then going back uphill could be a fitness disaster in the making. The elevation changes from 6,630 down to 6,230 on that 1-mile trail.)A great way to complete this journey it to plan a trip on the Tahoe Queen cruise to Emerald Bay. The Tahoe Queen offers a different view of Vikingsholm and adds some valuable historical information about the location and the people who made it all possible. Vikingsholm was a great little find for us and made our trip to South Lake Tahoe very enjoyable. It was an awesome day trip adventure, and I would recommend this to everyone but the seriously fitness impaired.
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