sand harbor beach

Snap the perfect photo during the golden hour at Sand Harbor Beach. (Photo: Getty Images)

Insta-Inspired Travel

Before You Post That #Tahoegram, Check Out Lake Tahoe’s Most Instagrammable Spots

Straddling the California-Nevada border and surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is a year-round mecca for adventurers and loved by photographers for the clarity of its water and deep cobalt hues. Spring, summer, fall or winter, here’s where to capture the best #tahoegram.

As always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.

Lakeview at Alpine Meadows

The Lakeview lift at Alpine Meadows is aptly named: It’s simply one of the best views of Lake Tahoe from the many world-class ski resorts that overlook the lake. For the best photos, head up the lift around noon or later on a bluebird day — when the sun is at your back, the lake will appear its bluest.

At Squaw Valley you can get similar views of the lake from the top of the High Alpine lift. At Homewood, head to Rainbow Ridge. The top of Diamond Peak’s Crystal Express lift offers panoramic west-facing views; get the best photos of Lake Tahoe in the morning.

Instagram tip: Use the Clarendon or Lark filters on about 50 percent to subtly boost the blues in the lake and sky.

Eagle Falls

eagle falls
Snap a stunner at Eagle Falls. (Photo: Getty Images)

With easy access from Highway 89, Eagle Falls is a popular spot for hiking with spectacular views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe beyond. The falls are easily accessible along a well-trodden path about a half mile from the parking lot.

Since they face east, they are best captured at sunrise in the spring when there’s plenty of water running. Once you’ve finished photographing the falls, continue on up the path to Eagle Lake, which appears spectacularly blue on a sunny day and offers crisp, clear reflections of the surrounding craggy peaks.

Instagram tip: At Eagle Falls, put your phone or camera on a tripod and experiment with longer exposures.

Emerald Bay

No photography trip to Lake Tahoe is complete without a stop at Emerald Bay. The overlook from Highway 89 offers a perfect vantage point to capture the bay and Fannette Island. During the summer season, the overlook parking lot is very busy; arrive before dawn to set up the best shots, or midweek the rest of the year for daytime views.

Instagram tip: Increase the crispness of your landscapes with the Structure, Sharpen and Contrast tools.

Skylandia Beach

truckee at night
Starlight snaps await you in Truckee. (Photo: Getty Images)

With its perfectly aligned planks reaching out into Lake Tahoe, the dock at Skylandia Beach seems to be constructed especially for Instagram. It’s a great place to capture fiery summer sunrises and sunsets, as well as a night sky full of stars glowing over snowy peaks, but the views are stunning really any time of day.

A short drive east of Tahoe City, the beach can get crowded in the summer; the best bet for capturing photos devoid of people is midweek in the spring, summer or fall.

Instagram tip: This is a great opportunity to play with point of view — move back and forth down the dock or place the camera especially low or high for more effect.


The town of Truckee has been enjoying a renaissance of late. Many of the historic buildings have been renovated and now house modern restaurants and boutiques featuring locally produced art, jewelry, leather goods and pottery. The town is equally beautiful under a fresh coat of snow or basking in the glow of a warm summer sunset.

Instagram tip: Look for the details — the “postcard” of Truckee painted on the side of the California 89 building, a giant steel sculpture of a bike, a quaint 19th-century facade, or locally made artisanal goods in the shop windows.

Hidden Beach

secret harbor cove
It’s easy to capture the perfect shot at the lovely Secret Harbor Cove. (Photo: Getty Images)

On the Nevada shore, one mile south of Incline Village, Hidden Beach isn’t hidden at all, and it offers the best sunset views of the lake any time of year. The rocky alcoves and boulders create an interesting foreground under multicolored skies in the background. Go on a day with a few clouds in the sky — they create the most interesting sunsets!

Further south along Highway 28, Sand Harbor Beach, Bonsai Rock, Chimney Beach and Secret Cove offer up more stunning sunsets framed by photogenic boulder beaches.

Instagram tip: You’ll want your camera or phone on a tripod to get the sharpest shots as golden hour gives way to dusk.