Vista views of Big Blue |

Vista views of Big Blue

William Ferchland

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune Via the Heavenly gondola, Malcolm's Deck, located at an altitude of 9,123 feet above sea level, offers spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.

It was the view.

When talking to a long-time South Shore resident, and the inevitable question pops up of “Why did you move here,” one answer is how that person was struck with the view of Lake Tahoe coming down Echo Summit.

Or it could be Spooner Summit. No matter the summit, those who helped shape Tahoe provided plenty of peripheral turnouts, vistas and lookouts for many Kodak moments.

Emerald Bay, off Highway 89 and a few miles north of Camp Richardson, may be the most well-known vista. Nearby is the parking lot for Vikingsholm, which offers a different angle of Emerald Bay.

For peace of mind and a better chance at getting a parking space, people are advised to stop by Emerald Bay early on the weekends or during the weekdays.

The demand for weddings at Emerald Bay often means a limousine traffic jam.

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Chris Baleston, a reverend with A Tahoe Wedding to Remember, said she advises against weddings at Emerald Bay, unless it’s in the morning.

“The scenic vista spots, those are very, very popular,” she said. “I don’t even go up on Emerald Bay. I tell people anything after 10:30 (a.m.) I don’t want to go up there. It’s not even worth my time.”

Like a call of a siren, pulling into a vista does have its dangers. Those who drive up Echo Summit on Highway 50 can create a precarious situation if they decide to turn left into one of the tight turnouts that can barely hold three vehicles.

A few years ago authorities dealt with a rash of vehicle burglaries where thieves would take a credit card from a wallet stashed under a car seat. Sightseers would come back to their car and see their wallet was still there. When the credit card was discovered missing, they would think it was lost and retrace their steps, giving crooks ample time to abuse the card.

Authorities suspected organized crime, even identifying the Russian Mafia as potential culprits.

El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell said the high level of car burglaries at trail heads and scenic spots have since subsided into random acts of crime.

Lovell advised people to take valuables with them or lock them in the trunk. He also warned people not to be obvious in placing wallets, cameras or other items in the car for people to see.

“The crooks are watching,” Lovell said. “They see that so they know what they’re looking for.”