A few summers ago, I had the opportunity to visit family who were vacationing in the Lake Tahoe area. Knowing I would have the opportunity to kayak one of the most popular paddling destinations in the country, I was excited. One of my main goals for the week was to kayak into Emerald Bay, with its clear waters and spectacular views. My original plan was to launch my kayak from DL Bliss State Park. However, strong winds prevented this from happening, so I decided to kayak a calmer part of the lake and wait for better weather. The next day, I decided to launch from Baldwin Beach, about a 3-4 mile paddle to Emerald Bay.
Along the way, you have good chances of seeing eagles and ospreys. As you enter the mouth of Emerald Bay, you can see Fannette Island, Vikingsholm, and Eagle Falls in the distance. My goal was to reach Fannette Island to meet up with my cousins, who had hiked down to Vikingsholm and rented a kayak. It still took a while to reach the island from the mouth of the bay, but eventually I landed on the shore. I pulled my kayak onto the bank and hiked up to the tea house, which was built by the owner of Vikingsholm in the late 1920s.
The views of the surrounding bay were fantastic. Eagle Falls could be seen in the distance, along with other boaters and kayakers. After spending around an hour on the island, I kayaked back to Baldwin Beach to end the day. Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay are definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve had the opportunity to kayak, and I plan on returning soon.
Know Before You Go
When kayaking, it is important to plan ahead before you head out on the water. Make sure you have the proper gear-a good life jacket, dry bag with extra clothes, sun protection, and extra food and water. Check the weather before you go. If it’s windy, it’s a good idea to wait for better weather. Strong winds make it hard to paddle, and create large waves, which lead to situations that are even more dangerous. Unless you’re an experienced kayaker, it’s a good idea to paddle with a group of people, or at least a friend. Finally, research the area you will be paddling. Having a knowledge of basic landmarks, the nearest towns and beaches, and where you’re going are essential. If you’re not entirely comfortable with the area you’ll be paddling, you might consider a guided tour. Finally, have fun, take pictures, and practice the Leave No Trace principles. Kayaking is not only fun, a good way to stay in shape, and fairly inexpensive, but also a great hobby for the entire family!
Get out, explore, and have fun!