• Gabriella Viola

The Prettiest Spots on Lake Tahoe's East Shore

Updated: Jun 12



Lake Tahoe is an all-around stunning place. From popular spots like Emerald Bay and Sand Harbor to the secluded coves of the east shore; there’s no shortage of locations around the lake to take in Tahoe's magnificent scenery.


That being said, it's no secret that my favorite side of Lake Tahoe is the east shore. The reason? Along with having some of the best views of Lake Tahoe, the rugged east shoreline has numerous beaches and coves with brilliant turquoise water that rivals the Caribbean. Except instead of palm trees, it's pine trees and snow-capped mountains that surround the crystal clear water.


So if you're in search of raw beauty and turquoise views, then Tahoe's east shore is where you want to be. Here are 5 of the Prettiest Spots on Lake Tahoe's East Shore, ordered from south to north.

Whale Beach ↞




Whale Beach, also known as Creek Beach, Secret Harbor Beach, and Black Sands Beach, is part of a string of secluded beaches along Lake Tahoe's east shoreline. It can be accessed via Nevada Route 28 and is a 10-15 minute hike south of Secret Cove Beach along the East Shore Forest Trail. Like most of the other beaches in this area, Whale Beach is a clothing-optional beach.


Whale Beach is probably the most remote beach on this list. Once you pass through a series of boulders along the trail, you will be greeted with some of the most picturesque views in Lake Tahoe.


➳ Tip: There is a bit of hiking and a few boulders to cross to get to this beach. Sneakers or hiking shoes are recommended.

↠ Secret Cove ↞


Paddling through turquoise water at Secret Cove

Secret Cove Beach is hands down my favorite place to take photos of Lake Tahoe. The semi-secluded turquoise cove blows my mind every time I visit.


Located on Tahoe's east shore, Secret Cove can be accessed directly off Route 28 or from the Secret Harbor Parking Lot. Like Whale Beach, Secret Cove is a clothing-option beach. This is also a popular spot for kayakers and paddle-boarders (who often do so sans clothing).


➳ Tip: The best time to photograph Secret Cove is mid-morning around 11 a.m. That is when the sun hits the cove just right to bring out that turquoise color.

Chimney Beach ↞

Drone view of Chimney Beach
Chimney Beach in late autumn

Along with Whale Beach and Secret Cove, Chimney Beach is part of the string of remote beaches along Lake Tahoe’s east shoreline. It's also one of the best photo locations Lake Tahoe.

Chimney Beach can be accessed via a short and scenic hike from Secret Harbor Parking Lot. The whole area around Chimney Beach, which features several pristine coves and secluded strips of beach, offers some of the most stunning views of Lake Tahoe.


➳ Tip: Fall is one of the best times to explore Chimney Beach. There's usually a good amount of fall color in this area and you'll most likely have the normally busy beach spot to yourself.

↠ Bonsai Rock ↞



Lake Tahoe's Bonsai Rock is a popular spot about 1 mile south of Sand Harbor. It can be accessed directly from Route 28 via multiple trails that lead directly down to the water. Bonsai Rock is a favored location amongst photographers, particularly at sunset. It's also a prime location for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding in Lake Tahoe.


➳ Tip: Although the trails down to Bonsai Rock are very short, they are steep with lots of loose dirt so be sure to wear sneakers or hiking shoes to avoid slipping.

↠ Sand Harbor ↞

Paddle Boarders at Sand Harbor
Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor is perhaps the most touristy location on this list, especially during the summer months. But that doesn't mean it's not one of the prettiest spots in Lake Tahoe. The off-season is a great time to visit Sand Harbor as the normally packed beach spot is practically deserted.


➳ Tip: Be sure to check out the new east shore biking trail which offers incredible views of Lake Tahoe. The 3-mile scenic bike path runs along Tahoe's east shoreline from Sand Harbor to Incline Village.


Photography gear used in this post:




Check out the video version here:


What are some of your favorite photo locations in Lake Tahoe? Please share in the comments below!


You might also enjoy:


A Guide to the Most Stunning Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe


The Best Drone Spots in Lake Tahoe



For more photos of Lake Tahoe check out the gallery.



Please enjoy Lake Tahoe responsibly.

Always practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.


ABOUT

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

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