• Gabriella Viola

Top Places to See Fall Colors in Lake Tahoe

Updated: Apr 5



Autumn is one of the best times to visit Lake Tahoe. By this time the summer crowds have dissipated and the normally busy beaches and hiking trails become quiet and tranquil. The weather is pleasantly crisp and shades of orange and yellow begin to show. By mid-October, beautiful displays of fall color can be seen throughout Lake Tahoe and the Eastern Sierras. The colors last for a few weeks and tend to peak around mid to late October.


Here are 5 of the Best Spots to see Fall Colors in Lake Tahoe.


↠ Fallen Leaf ↞

A meadow of yellow aspens along Fallen Leaf Lake Road
Autumn views at Fallen Leaf Lake

Fallen Leaf Lake is a mountain lake with multiple hiking trails and stunning views of Mt. Tallac in the background. It's also a great spot to view fall colors. The colors can be seen along the shoreline of the lake and right off Fallen Leaf Lake Road (accessed via State Route 89). There are many shoulder spots along the narrow road making it easy to pull over and explore the fall colors.


Where: Fallen Leaf Lake


🍁Best viewing time: Early to Mid October


Photos taken October 9th & 10th 2019


↠ Hope Valley ↞

Fall colors at Hope Valley off State Route 88.
Field of Yellow Aspens in Hope Valley.

Hope Valley is a top location to see tons of fall color. Located about 25 minutes south of Lake Tahoe, the spectacular autumn hues can be seen right from the Highway. One of the best spots to enjoy fall colors in Hope Valley is along State Route 88 between Pickett's Junction and Blue Lakes Road. You can take a quick photo op from the side of the road or walk through the meadow to get a closer look at the golden-colored trees.


Where: Hope Valley


🍁Best viewing time: Mid October


Photos taken October 11th 2019


↠ Granite Lake ↞

Fall foliage at Granite Lake in Lake Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness
Granite Lake in Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness

Granite Lake is a picturesque alpine lake located in Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness. It's accessible via a short hike along the Bayview Hiking Trail. The hike is about 1 mile and features a fantastic viewpoint of Emerald Bay along the way. Granite Lake is surrounded by towering pines and dotted with yellow aspens in the autumn months. The lake is commonly used for swimming and fishing.


Where: Granite Lake


🍁Best viewing time: Mid October


Photos taken October 14th 2018


↠ Spooner Lake ↞

Yellow aspens along North Canyon Road at Spooner Lake
Fall colors at Spooner Lake

If you want to see tons of fall color in Lake Tahoe, look no further than Spooner Lake. Located off Route 28, the trails around Spooner Lake are known for their spectacular displays of fall foliage; and one of the best trails is North Canyon Road. Starting in October, the aspen trees that line the picturesque walking trail turn brilliant shades of yellow and orange.


This is happens to be my favorite spot for fall color in Lake Tahoe.


Where: North Canyon Road at Spooner Lake


🍁Best viewing time: Mid to Late October


Photos taken October 16th 2018


↠ Taylor Creek ↞

Golden aspen trees along the Rainbow Trail at Taylor Creek.
Autumn views of Mt. Tallac from Taylor Creek Visitors Center.

The Taylor Creek Visitor's Center is another excellent spot to enjoy autumn colors in Lake Tahoe. Two recommended trails are the Rainbow Trail, which is lined with yellow aspens, and the Lake of the Sky Trail, which has great views of Mt Tallac and leads down to Kiva Beach.


While visiting Taylor Creek in the fall, be sure to check out the annual Kokanee Salmon spawn. The bright red salmon can be spotted migrating upstream from viewing platforms along the Rainbow Trail.


Where: Taylor Creek Visitor's Center


🍁Best viewing time: Early to Mid October


Photos taken October 9th 2019


Where are some of your favorite spots to enjoy fall colors 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 Prettiest Spots on Lake Tahoe's East Shore


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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