Ed Z’berg – Sugar Pine State Park may be one of the best and most beautiful natural areas that remains on Lake Tahoe. The park fronts on two miles of the famous lake and is made up of thick forest lands of sugar pine and other varieties of pine trees, firs, junipers, and aspen. This area on Lake Tahoe is known as Sugar Pine Point and was a part of the Washoe Indian territory. Generations of Washoe came to the shores here to hunt and fish.
Isaias Hellman, a wealthy financier, and his family, originally owned the land at Ed Z’Berg Park. Hellman built the family home there in 1903 and the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion is now one of the park’s attractions. In 1965 the land became a California state park. One of the more interesting things to do on a visit to the park is to take the tour of the mansion. The beautifully landscaped grounds of the mansion are also available for private events such as weddings and family reunions.
There is plenty of camping available near the mansion and in the summer there are a number of activities available at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine State Park. The beach offers swimming, volleyball, and fishing and the park has about 10 miles of hiking trails. Avid long-distance hikers use these trails to access the northern part of Desolation Wilderness, the Pacific Coast Trail, and other trails that take them into the High Sierras.
Most of Sugar Pine Points hiking is inland along General Creek. Following is a description of some the hikes and nature trails found at Ed Z-berg. To get to the trailheads for any of the Sugar Pine hikes, from Tahoe City, drive south on Highway 89 to the park. This is about 9 miles. Park in the overflow parking near the camping area.
· General Creek Trail – This trail is a 4.5 loop. It goes west following the north bank of General Creek. A bridge allows you to cross the Creek and then wind into a group of Jeffrey and lodgepole pines and then on through a meadow that is lush with wildflowers in the summer. After 3.5 miles the trail leaves the state park and takes you into El Dorado National Forest before winding back, crossing General Creek again and returning to Ed Z-berg again.
· Dolder Nature Trail – This trail takes you through a preserve set aside for special habitats. It is what is known as a sub-alpine meadow and is left to survive with little to no intervention from humans.
· Rod Beaudry Trail – This trail is only ½ mile and has markers along the way that explain the history of the area.
· Lily Pond Trail – This four-mile hike starts at campsite 150 and follows a fire road which eventually leads you to the trail with markers pointing the way to the Lily Pond. This trail leads to Desolation Wilderness.
The park also has a nature center with interpretive displays of the area and exhibits and a theater that talk about the history and geology of the area.
Ed Z’berg – Sugar Pine State Park is located about 10 miles south of Tahoe City, California. on Highway 89. To reserve a campsite at Sugar Pine Point State Park, call Reserve America at: (800) 444-7285 or check online at http://www.reserveamerica.com/campgroundDirectoryList.do?contactCode=ca. Camping fees vary by size of party.
Day fees are $4.00 per vehicle in undeveloped parking and $10.00 in developed parking. There are separate charges for the tours of the mansion and boat mooring.