The scenic and dynamic landscape makes this a great location to catch the sunset. The still water from the enclosed harbor allows you to see just how blue Lake Tahoe can get. There are several different vantage points that will offer uniquely beautiful photo opportunities.

Bonsai Rock is a popular attraction for photographers as it is a unique boulder with tiny trees growing out of it, enclosed next to the shoreline. This makes it a beautiful place to enjoy a scenic sunset, as well as play with some long exposure photography.

It's located on the east side of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side of the lake, just south of Sand Harbor, and about 20 miles north of South Lake Tahoe. If you're coming from the NE, pass Sand Harbor and continue for about 1 mile and look for a couple of pull outs on the right (they're not marked).

From the road, you should be able to see down to the beach. Walk along the road about a couple hundred feet until you find a trail to start walking down. There are a couple of paths, but the best one is the sandy trail. It’s a steep, but very short hike on sand and rocks, so probably best to wear shoes and not sandals. It takes about 5 minutes to get down to the beach.

It's best to bring a wide angle lens as well as an ND filter to get a smooth water effect. A polarizing filter also helps to cut through the water. I find that shooting the bonsai rock from a lower perspectives gives the rock more size, height, and dramatic effect.

Tips:
  • If you're going in the winter, the mountains in the back will be snow-capped
  • If you're going in the summer, there are low tides that expose more of the white sand and smaller rocks below the water
  • Be sure to get there at least an hour before sunset to find a good spot as it's a popular location and can get crowded

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Wide angle lens
  • Tripod
  • Filters (ND and/or polarizer)
  • Shoes with good traction
  • Flashlight (if staying past sunset)
  • Jacket
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Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Beach
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Groups
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Gorgeous, Serene

A wonderful experience at sunrise. Perhaps the finest view on the shores of Lake Tahoe other than Emerald Bay.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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