One of our favorite campsites is D.L. Bliss State Park. After camping there many times, here are a few tips we have learned over the years.
Map not to Scale. When you arrive and check in, the ranger will give you a map of the campsite. There are 3 main loops at Bliss and the beach. The map shows this. Make sure you note the text that says “Not to scale”. The loops are not close to each other. Our first time at Bliss we stayed at the top loop. We looked at the map and saw the beach was just below the 2 lower loops. We decided it would be a quick walk. We packed out gear and started walking down. Needless to say, it was not a quick walk. It’s walkable, just be aware.
Bear Boxes. All food and any scented item must go in the bear box (not your car). This includes soaps, lotions, gum, etc. There are bears. We’ve seen them. They are not as aggressive as in Yosemite, but do exist. Make sure all your stuff will fit in the bear box. The inside dimensions of the food lockers 36″ deep, 43″ wide, and 22″ high. Make sure your cooler(s) fits. And if you’re sharing, make sure whoever is sharing stuff will all fit together in 1 bear box. Note: if you have a Yeti cooler or other bear-proof cooler, you can leave it outside the bear box as long as you have locks on it.
Ice. Tahoe gets warm during the summer. The metal bear boxes heat up in the sun and get really hot. The ice in your cooler melts quickly. Luckily the campsite host sells ice. When it’s hot, we refresh it daily. Sometime the camp host will drive around in their ATV’s and sell ice and firewood. Fresh ice is also good if you want to plan on making cocktails.
Water, Bathroom and Showers. Each loop has a bathroom and showers. The showers take coins instead of quarters. You must buy these coins from the ranger kiosk when you enter the park. There are water spigots at about every couple of campsites. We drink the water from here. It’s drinkable and tastes good.
Beach. One of our favorite parts of D.L. Bliss is the beach. There is a small beach with a parking lot. One side of the beach is houses and the other side is rocks. On a busy day the beach will fill up fast. People come early and setup camp to reserve a spot on the beach. It’s best to go down around 7am and setup a spot on the beach. It’s best to setup a sunshade and some towels. If you’re early enough get one of the handful of picnic benches. There is a parking lot at the beach too. This also fills up quickly. On a busy day the lot is full by 8 or 9am. Another idea is to take your breakfast to the beach. You can setup on the beach and then make breakfast there or at the picnic tables by the parking lot.
Paddle Boards and Kayaks. Bliss is a great spot for Paddle Boards and Kayaks. There is a rocky cove just to the right of the beach. It’s fun spot to paddle around. The rocks are a popular spot for jumping into the water. It’s also popular with boats, so be careful.
Yellow Jackets. Towards the end of the camping season, the yellow jackets can be bad. One year (2016) was so bad we almost went home. The ranger suggested yellow jacket traps. We tried that and it didn’t do much. We found it best to just try and ignore them. They didn’t bite, but were just annoying.
Hiking. There are several good hikes around Bliss. The closest is the Rubicon Trail. It starts by the beach parking lot and is a 8.3 mile round trip to Emerald Bay. The gift shop at Emerald Bay sells popsicles and other packaged ice cream, which is a nice treat for the kids. Eagle Lake is another favorite hiking spot. The trailhead starts at the top of Emerald Bay. It’s a 1.8 mile round trip hike. There is a parking lot and you can park on the street, but during a busy weekend it fill early. I suggest being there by at least 8am. You start off by hiking next to a waterfall, then you cross it and then take a trail to Eagle Lake. If you want to go further, there are lots of trails into Desolation Wilderness.
Cell Phone Reception. There is some Cell Phone Reception at the lower campsites and beach.
South Lake Tahoe. It’s only 13 miles to South Lake Tahoe if you need to run out and get supplies. With no traffic, this only takes about 25 minutes. But on a busy weekend this could take over an hour. The traffic gets bad because of people going to the beaches and Camp Richardson. If you need to get out, I suggest doing it before 10am.