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Rubicon Point, CA  A hike of some distance required.Fee charged.   

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Rubicon Point Lighthouse

After three years of requests by the Lake Tahoe Protective Association, Congress authorized the establishment of aids to navigation for Lake Tahoe on August 28, 1916 but failed to provide funds for the project. At this time, numerous steamers and launches were carrying a great many passengers on Lake Tahoe, and the lake, which is twenty-one miles long, had a seventy-mile-long mail route.

The Annual Report of the Commissioner of Lighthouses for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1920 notes that during the previous twelve months an acetylene light, consisting of a 200-millimeter AGA lantern and flasher mounted on a small lantern house had been established at Rubicon Point on Lake Tahoe at a cost of $1,352. The light was likely placed in operation in September 1919, as the Lighthouse Service Bulletin of October 1, 1919 noted that an acetylene light had been established at Rubicon Point. The light had a focal plane of 200 feet above the lake and produced a white flash every five seconds.

In 1921, the light on Rubicon Point was discontinued and moved four-and-a-half miles north to Sugar Pine Point where it was established on a square, pyramidal, wooden tower, which gave the light a focal plane of thirty-four feet above the lake. This change was noted in the Lighthouse Service Bulletin of November 1, 1921. The Coast Guard’s Light List for 1979 indicates Sugar Pine Point Light was still being displayed from a white tower, but its 1980 Light List indicates that a light atop a steel tower had taken the place of the wooden tower.

In 1929, the D.L. Bliss family donated 744 acres to the State of California, and D.L. Bliss State Park, which includes Rubicon Point Lighthouse was created. D.L. Bliss was a pioneering lumberman, railroad owner, and banker in the Lake Tahoe region.

Renovation and stabilization of Rubicon Point Lighthouse was completed in 2001, after the nonprofit Tahoe Heritage Foundation helped raised around $25,000 for the project. A wood-penetrating epoxy was injected into support beams to stabilized the lighthouse, and an independent mill supplied a specific type of sugar pine lumber so that the wood used to restore the lighthouse would match what had originally been used. After the restoration, a battery-powered light was placed in the lighthouse, and the light was exhibited on special occasions for about five years.

Plans for another rehabilitative project were initiated in 2015, after the lighthouse had again been severely vandalized. As part of a plan to reroute a steep segment of the Rubicon Trail, Tahoe Fund awarded a $48,000 grant in 2017 to California State Parks that helped cover work on the lighthouse. Timber cross braces were placed on the inside walls to strengthen the lighthouse, and an iron metal frame was installed inside the door frame to prevent unwanted entry.


  1. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Lighthouses, various years.
  2. Signage in D.L. Bliss State Park
  3. “Lighting the way: Legacy of historic Rubicon Point lighthouse shines on,” Ryan Hoffman, Tahoe Daily Tribute, June 28, 2020.

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