There’s a new California State Park trail at Lake Tahoe, but for this one you’ll have to put away your hiking boots and grab a dive mask to explore it.
California’s first maritime heritage underwater trail showcases historic recreational boats and barges that have sunk to the bottom of Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe. Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail opened Oct. 1.
Divers could previously explore two large barges at the Historic Barge Dive Site established in 1998, according to Tahoe Weekly. The new underwater trail allows exploration of three new sites and the ships that rest under the surface of the lake, including a wooden fishing boat dating back to the early 20th century, according to Travel + Leisure.
Travel + Leisure said a 27-foot-long vessel, known as Florence M, sits under Emerald Bay. Built in 1915, the boat was used for excursions around the lake. Traces of its paint are still visible on its hull, the magazine said.
California State Parks has released videos of divers exploring the barges at the site. The watercraft rest 10 to 40 feet below the surface, the director of underwater science at Indiana University told the Sierra Sun.
“What’s most exciting on the trail are the large ponderosa pine barges …” Charles Beeker told the Sierra Sun. “These were probably used in the building of Vikingsholm, we think, and were also used before the highway was built in 1926 to cross the mouth of Emerald Bay.”
Vikingsholm is a historic 38-room Scandinavian mansion on the shore of Emerald Bay.
Several small vessels that were likely sunk at their moorings sit 30 to 60 feet deep in the water, too, Travel + Leisure said, including a kayak, wooden fishing boats, rowboats and motorboats.
Scuba divers are advised to use caution and adhere to safe diving practices at all times, according to California Diver. With Lake Tahoe’s altitude over 6,000 feet, divers should be prepared for extreme cold water temperatures year round.
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