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Best Photo Spots in Lake Tahoe 

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States and straddles on the California/Nevada border. The alpine area makes the lake unique as its surrounded by mountains and pine trees. In the colder months, it’s a winter wonderland and during the summer the gorgeous blue water makes you feel like you’re in paradise. It’s an absolute dream place to photograph since you have different elements to capture. If you’re planning a visit then check out my list of the best photo spots in Lake Tahoe.

Now I must say I’m not a professional photographer but I do take a lot of photos as a travel blogger. My list isn’t technical and doesn’t deep dive into photography. But if you appreciate photography and looking for some cool places that are great for photos, this post is for you!

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Sunrise vs. Sunset

Sunrise and sunset, as well as the golden hours, are optimal times to photograph but which location is best? If you’re wondering where to photograph for sunrise in Lake Tahoe I prefer the California side. The sun rises in the east so you’ll have a perfect view of the sun from many spots on the California side of Lake Tahoe. However, Eagle Point Campground has a lookout point overlooking Emerald Bay that is perfect for sunset as well. 

Now, if you want to know where the best place to photograph the sunset in Lake Tahoe, you guessed it, it’s the Nevada side! Because the sun will set in the west the Nevada side is the perfect place to watch it.

Lake Tahoe – California

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay was created by glaciers thousands of years ago and is one of California’s state parks. It’s a picturesque area full of beautiful trees and mountains. The bay is perfect for swimming and kayaking during the summer. It’s also is home to the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island. Here you’ll find a miniature castle which is known as the “Tea House.”

Photo by Fabian Quintero

Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls is one of the waterfalls in Lake Tahoe. What makes this waterfall special is its location overlooking the bay. It’s also the perfect place to watch the sunrise. Go early as it does start getting packed after 9 am.


Eagle Falls has a couple of different trails to get to it. I opted for the “easy to get to” viewpoint which is a quick walk from the trailhead parking lot, just on the other side of the highway. Walk a few steps over the rocks and you’re there on top of the waterfall. Sunrise is the perfect time to go because it’s absolutely stunning and you’ll beat the crowds that start rolling in around 8/9am.


Vikingsholm is a summer home of Scandinavian design owned by the Knight Family. The home is open to tours and tickets can be purchased at the Vikingsholm visitor center, located at the Vikingsholm parking lot.

The Vikingsholm parking lot is where the Rubicon Trailhead is located which leads you to Vikingsholm. You can take the trail down to get to the beach and pier.

Eagle Point Viewpoint

The Eagle Point Viewpoint is located at the end of the Eagle Point campground. You’ll have a very open view of Emerald Bay. The viewpoint can be reached by a roughly 8-mile round trip hike or much shorter hike from the Eagle Point Campground.

best photo locations lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe – Nevada

Secret Cove Nude Beach

Secret Cove is one of the hidden gems of Lake Tahoe. It isn’t quite as crowded as some of the other more popular beaches but I would get there early to avoid the crowds since it is a smaller cove. Also, parking can be quite difficult during the summer if you don’t arrive before 2 pm.

There are many places and angles to photograph here. In fact, this was probably my favorite spot. It is a nude beach so it’s important to be respectful.

best photo spots lake tahoe

Chimney Beach

Chimney Beach gets its name from the chimney which is the only thing remaining of a lakefront cabin that once stood there. This beach is a short hike down and there are a few ways down to it so be mindful so you remember exactly where you came in from.

Enjoy the views from different parts of the trail. The cove where the chimney stands is quite small but there is a lot to explore in the surrounding area.

Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock is one of the more popular beaches in Lake Tahoe. It’s known for its unique rock formations and the larger boulder that has small “bonsai-looking” trees growing out of it. The crystal clear water looks amazing in photos. And the beach is picture-perfect from sunrise to sunset!

best photo spots in lake tahoe
Photo by Ethan Dow

Ready to plan your trip to Lake Tahoe? Check out my24 hours in Lake Tahoe for ideas for your itinerary!


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