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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Viola

My Absolute Favorite Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe: 10 Spots!

best photography locations in lake tahoe

It's no secret that Lake Tahoe is an outdoor photographer's dream, as the scenery here is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Even though I've lived in Tahoe for two and a half years (photographing the heck out of it!), I'm still so inspired by the incredible beauty of this place.

In this post, I'm sharing my absolute favorite spots to take photos in Lake Tahoe. The locations on this list are the ones that I return to time and time again- and where I take most of my Instagram photos.

P.S. Since I'm sharing some of my favorite Instagram spots around Lake Tahoe, all I ask is that you help keep Tahoe beautiful by practicing the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.

Alright, let's get into it...



Flume trail lake tahoe nevada
South facing views from Flume Trail

Flume trail lake tahoe nevada

Flume trail lake tahoe nevada
One of my favorite perches over Tahoe

Monkey Rock along the Flume Trail is one of my go-to spots to take photos in Lake Tahoe. Yes, there's a rock carved to look like a monkey (which is fun to see and snap a few pics with), but I'm there for the spectacular 180-degree views. My favorite things about this spot are the views facing south (see the first pic) and the over-hanging rock shaped like a perfect chair (see the third picture).

The trail to monkey rock is 2.6 miles out and back and is relatively easy. There is a steep incline for a section of it, but it doesn't last long. Just pace yourself by taking little breaks if you get winded on this part of the trail. The trailhead to Monkey Rock is behind Tunnel Creek Cafe in Incline Village.



Bonsai Rock in Lake tahoe

Bonsai rock in lake tahoe

Bonsai rock in lake tahoe
Aerial views of Bonsai Rock

Located on the east shore, Bonsai Rock is another one of my favorite spots to shoot photos in Lake Tahoe, especially during sunset. I also love taking drone shots from this area, particularly during the day because the water is so turquoise. And during the summer, the chances are pretty good of capturing an epic shot of someone jumping off the rock!



Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe nevada

Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe nevada

Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe nevada

Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe nevada

Secret Cove is hands down my favorite location to take photos in Lake Tahoe! Many of the images I post on my Instagram are taken from this spot. I am not kidding when I say that the turquoise-colored water at Secret Cove blows my mind every single time I visit. I prefer to photograph Secret Cove during the off-season because summer gets crazy crowded, especially on weekends.

I'm going to put in a reminder here. If you visit Secret Cove or any of the spots on this list, be respectful, pack out your trash, and leave no trace.



Rubicon Trail in Lake Tahoe
Views from the Rubicon Trail

Rubicon trail in lake tahoe

DL Bliss State Park in South lake Tahoe

The Rubicon Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in Lake Tahoe (which makes it great for taking photos!) The trail connects D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park, and the views are just jaw-dropping the entire way. I am not kidding when I say you will be stopping every 5 minutes to take photos along this trail.

You can pick up the trail from Emerald Bay State Park via the Vikingsholm Trail or from D.L. Bliss State Park. If you hike the entire Rubicon Trail and then back, it will take about 10 miles round trip. Alternatively, if you would like to save yourself 5 miles, you can arrange for a friend to pick you up at the end of the hike and drive you back to your car.



bayview trail in lake tahoe

Emerald bay overlook in lake tahoe

Located off HWY 89, the Bayview trail features an alpine lake, sweeping views of Lake Tahoe from the top, a.k.a Maggie's Peak, and a lovely view of Emerald Bay near the start of the trail. The Emerald Bay overlook is one of my go-to spots to take photos because it's a short hike, the views are unobstructed, and there's a perfectly placed rock to stand or sit on and take in the gorgeous views.

You can end the hike at the overlook or continue towards Granite Lake and Maggie's Peak for more amazing photo opportunities.



Emerald Bay in lake tahoe California

Emerald Bay in lake tahoe California

Emerald Bay in lake tahoe California
Sunset at Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed spots in Lake Tahoe, and for good reason- it has some of the most stunning views of the lake. No matter how many times I visit Emerald Bay, I never get tired of photographing it! My favorite times to photograph Emerald Bay are at sunset/sunrise and on a day with little to no wind.

After you take in the views from the overlook, you can hike down the Vikingsholm Trail to the bottom of Emerald Bay, where you can check out the Vikingsholm Castle, pick up the Rubicon Trail, or hike to Lower Eagle Falls.

Emerald Bay is one of the busiest locations in Lake Tahoe, especially on weekends. I would recommend visiting during the week because parking is pretty rough on weekends.