Dive D.L. Bliss Underwater Park
A cliff band stretches from Rubicon Point south almost to Emerald Bay, and it’s home to Lake Tahoe’s most dramatic wall dives. The D.L. Bliss Underwater Park boasts 14 different sites in about 2.5 miles of shoreline. Most all of these sites get deep quickly and have monstrous dropoffs, so buoyancy control is a must.
You’ll find cliffs dropping in dead-vertical 70-foot steps hundreds of feet into the deep, granite buttresses and pinnacles jutting out from the walls, and massive stacks of house-sized boulders replete with huge overhangs. In the warmer months, schools of Lahontan redside shiners gather at the lip of the cliffs in schools hundreds strong. Trout are often cruising the (minimal) shallows in the morning looking for breakfast. Crawdads cling to the cliffs year round and will waggle their claws at you as you pass. As you get closer to Emerald Bay, you’ll hit a shallower and more beginner friendly site on the south end of the park: Whiskey Cove.
Each site is spectacular in its own way. That said, due to their proximity, similarities, and inclusion in the park, I’m listing all 14 sites on this page with GPS coordinates and describing the ones I’ve visited. A few sites have dedicated pages linked below.
D.L. Bliss Underwater Park dive sites
Listed from north to south:
- Two Rock can be visited by swimming from Calawee Cove and is what most divers experience when they dive Rubicon Wall. The rock in this area gets carved into some really interesting formations by seasonal current. Not as vertical as other sections of the wall.
- Rubicon Wall is a quintessential Tahoe dive and can be done from shore, swimming from Calawee Cove (or scootering from Lester Beach). If you can only dive Tahoe once, this is your spot. Check out the dedicated Rubicon Wall page.
- Ridder Cove. 38°59’46.5″N 120°05’37.7″W
- Cable Mark / Jonathan Lee. 38°59’42.4″N 120°05’38.5″W
- Gibson Shot has some fabulous granite buttresses and pinnacles, as well as some killer dropoffs once you get past the sandy shelf. Rocky entry from shore.
- Midwall. 38°59’34.1″N 120°05’34.6″W
- Chestnut Point. 38°59’26.0″N 120°05’35.4″W
- Fallen Tree Nook is marked by a rocky nook with a fallen tree leaning across the front of it, a great place to get ready if you paddle in. Thanks to the relatively short cliffs that give way to a sloping bottom at moderate depth (120′), this is an excellent spot for intermediate divers to experience the granite walls of D.L. Bliss without having to worry about sinking into the abyss. Neat swim-throughs, too.
- Chiarella Hangout is home to some amazing dead-vertical cliffs. I usually hit this area when I shore dive from Steller Cove.
- Steller Cove is one of my favorite spots at the lake. Incredible granite formations, massive vertical cliffs, good fish in the warmer months, and a private beach for your post-dive chill. Check out the dedicated Steller Cove page.
- Two Tree Dropoff lives up to its name and has some epic cliffs dropping into the inky blue. Rocky entry from shore.
- Cable Mark II. 38°58’43.8″N 120°05’35.3″W
- Deep End isn’t a misnomer. This site drops off spectacularly. Best formations are to the north of these coordinates. Rocky entry from shore.
- Ferrell Falls. 38°58’20.7″N 120°05’33.4″W
- Whiskey Cove is a lovely but not terrifically steep or deep glacial moraine-esque pile of rocks. It’s not without its charm, though. I’ve seen the cove completely packed with thousands of Lahontan redsides at dusk, as well as a good number of Paiute sculpin tucked in the rocks.
Cable Mark / Jonathan Lee
Fallen Tree Nook
Two Tree Dropoff
Cable Mark II
- Access: Most of these sites require a boat, either to dive from or to get you to the shore nearby (I canoe myself with my gear and shore dive)
- Surface swim: 900 feet if you’re diving Rubicon wall from Calawee Cove, most other sites have an almost nonexistent surface swim
- Parking: $10 for the day at D.L. Bliss
- Crowds: Very high if diving from Calawee Cove, very low or nonexistent at most other sites
- Dive experience level: Mostly advanced with opportunities for beginners at Whiskey Cove and diving Calawee Cove without going all the way to Rubicon Wall
- Highlights: Tahoe’s best granite, epic cliffs, house-sized boulders, buttresses and pinnacles, steepness, deepness, fish during warmer months
- Dive flag: Not required