All year round, North Lake Tahoe offers breathtaking views of land and waterscapes unlike anywhere else in the world. Framed by the humbling range of the Sierra Nevada, Tahoe’s crystal-clear expanse, thriving flora, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and wondrous geological formations have captured the imaginations of photographers for years.
While North Lake Tahoe is photogenic every season, something extra-special happens during the fall. As a sense of serenity blankets the region and temperatures descend, rich sunsets embellished beautifully by clouds bring out epic purples and pinks that captivate; meanwhile, in the aspen groves, changing leaves positively glow with a golden hue as the sun peers through Tahoe’s flora.
All of this adds up to the perfect opportunity for a photo excursion—so if you’re ready to snap a few brilliant shots of your own, check out our guide to some of the most Instagram-worthy points to be found in our mountain paradise.
1. Monkey Around at Monkey Rock
Overlooking Crystal Bay is a geological curiosity that’s sure to bring a smile to your face—and plenty of amusement to your Instagram feed.
Known as Monkey Rock, this large granite formation has tickled North Lake Tahoe visitors for years because of its strangely familiar shape. The unique weathering of this large stone gives it the appearance of a monkey’s head popping eagerly out of the ground—perhaps to get a look at the beautiful lake in the distance. Based on his facial expression, we’d say that our resident primate likes what he sees.
To get to Monkey Rock, you’ll need to hike an elevation of about 400 feet. There are a couple of ways to get there, but most people recommend coming from the nearby Incline Village, or using the Flume Trail as a jumping off point. Find out more about this Treasure of Tahoe here.
2. Pop in for some Leaf Peeping at Paige Meadows
Though most people tend to think of the various evergreen fir trees common in Tahoe, they aren’t the only kind of tree to be found in the region. In fact, many species of aspen in Tahoe offer the quintessential leaf-turning experience, and should not be missed. One of the best spots to find them is Paige Meadows, just miles off of the Tahoe Rim Trail.
In the fall, North Lake Tahoe’s sights include a beautiful array of yellows, browns, and oranges found in Tahoe’s aspen grove. Leaf-peepers who visit the area will be in for a special treat as they experience the blue water contrasted with fall colors throughout the region.
3. Peruse the Perfect Pano at Eagle Rock
Situated just off of State Route 89 and a fairly modest hike that isn’t too hard on the ticker—Eagle Rock offers a massive scenic reward for those who make the half-mile trek.
Photographers in search of Tahoe’s best panoramic shots absolutely can not miss this spot, which offers an “eagle’s eye” view of North Lake Tahoe’s expanse. From this vantage point, you can see most of the lake, the Sierra Nevada, and much of the rest of the region. Best of all? Getting to this volcanic plug takes about 20 minutes, tops!
4. Find Your Balance at Balancing Rock
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Sometimes, nature does things that boggle the mind. That is often the case in North Lake Tahoe, as evidenced by the curious existence of the Balancing Rock at D.L. Bliss State Park.
Geological formations like Balancing Rock are usually the result of glacial deposits or weathering phenomena. Regardless of how this particular geological formation ended up here, it often serves as a reminder for nature lovers to find peace and balance of their own. In any case, this natural wonder makes the perfect addition to any photo album—just don’t touch it!
Balancing Rock can easily be accessed on its eponymous loop trail in the state park. A trailhead just past the park’s visitor center will let you know that you’re headed in the right direction.
5. Take a Gander at Downtown Tahoe City
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If you’re on the hunt for the perfect intersection of fall colors, lakeside views and a vibrant, urban feel, look no further than Downtown Tahoe City.
This lakeside community is beautifully appointed besides Tahoe City Commons Beach, a long, sandy expanse that offers easy access to the lake all year-round. Local shops, each offering their own take on Tahoe chic in terms of decor, line the streets perfectly while beautiful aspen trees frame the sidewalk—offering would-be photographers a perfect strip of color, structure, and detailed visual content that is a must-capture among North Lake Tahoe’s lakeside communities.
These are just a handful of the beautiful sights you’ll find in North Lake Tahoe when you visit this fall. There’s plenty more where that came from, which is why you should make sure you take advantage of North Lake Tahoe’s Secret Season and make memories that will last you a lifetime.