• Gabriella Viola

The Best Drone Spots in Lake Tahoe

Updated: Sep 1



Lake Tahoe is one of the best places for capturing stunning drone images and footage. The mountains, curvy roads, pine trees, and pockets of turquoise water make Lake Tahoe extremely photogenic, especially from an aerial perspective.

For your consideration:


Keep in mind there are quite a few restrictions as to where you can fly a drone in Lake Tahoe. For more in-depth information on where you can fly a drone in Lake Tahoe check out:

https://www.jmpeltier.com/2017/06/02/flying-drone-lake-tahoe-area/


For information on drone rules and how to fly responsibly:

https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/


To register your drone with the FAA (it's super easy and only costs $5):

https://registermyuas.faa.gov/


Drone etiquette: Unfortunately drones are quite noisy and can disturb someone else's outdoor experience. The loud buzzing can sometimes illicit confused and even dirty looks from near-by individuals. It's always nice to practice drone etiquette by launching and flying your drone a decent distance away from where other people are gathered. You can also try flying during less busy times of day (early morning for example).

Now that we've got the serious stuff out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff. Here are 5 of the Best Drone Spots in Lake Tahoe. All locations on this list can be found along Lake Tahoe's east shore.


All images in this post were captured with the DJI Mavic Air.


1. Chimney Beach

Aerial view of Chimney Beach on Lake Tahoe's east shore

Chimney Beach is located right off Route 28 on Lake Tahoe's east shore. The trail to Chimney Beach is an easy 20-minute hike from Secret Harbor Parking Lot and features beautiful turquoise views of Lake Tahoe.


2. Whale Beach

Birds-eye view of Whale Beach on Lake Tahoe's east shore.

Whale Beach, also known as Creek Beach, Secret Harbor Beach, and Black Sands Beach, is a secluded nude beach in Lake Tahoe. It can be accessed off Nevada Route 28 and is a 10-15 minute hike south of Secret Cove Beach along the East Shore Trail.


3. Skunk Harbor


Skunk Harbor is a 2.6 mile out and back trail on Lake Tahoe's east shore. It's not a difficult trail by any means, but the return hike back to the main road might get you a little winded as it's all uphill. Skunk Harbor is an unmarked trail with limited parking. In the summer the small beach area fills up quickly with speed boats, so getting there early is always a good idea. You can access the Skunk Harbor trailhead from Route 28.


4. Secret Cove

Secret Cove Beach from above


Secret Cove is a somewhat secluded cove that features stunning turquoise-colored water and beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. It's also a nude beach. Located on Tahoe's east shore, it's a 20-minute hike from the Secret Harbor Parking Lot or can be accessed directly from Route 28.


5. Bonsai Rock


Lake Tahoe's famous Bonsai Rock is a popular spot about 1 mile south of Sand Harbor. Bonsai Rock can be accessed directly from Route 28 via multiple trails that lead directly down to the water. Although the trails are very short, they are steep with lots of loose dirt so be sure to wear sneakers or hiking shoes.


Tip: Launching your drone around Bonsai Rock can be a little challenging. Much of the area is on a downward slope (so limited flat areas to launch your drone from). There's also lots of big boulders and loose dirt. You might have to launch and land your drone off of one of the many boulders along the shoreline.



Check out the video version here:



Where are some of your favorite drone spots in Lake Tahoe? Please share in the comments!



You might also enjoy:


A Guide to the Most Stunning Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe


The Prettiest Spots on Lake Tahoe's East Shore


For more aerial photos of California check out the gallery.


Please enjoy Lake Tahoe responsibly.

Always practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.


If you enjoyed this post or know someone who will find it useful,

please share it!

ABOUT

Gabriella Viola is a photographer and outdoor enthusiast currently living in Lake Tahoe, California. 

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