Photographing Lake Tahoe -3. Secret Cove

PURITY. A spring morning at Secret Cove, Lake Tahoe.

PURITY. A spring morning at Secret Cove, Lake Tahoe.

Secret Cove

Secret Cove is one of the most photographed and iconic locations at Lake Tahoe and for good reason. The shallow sandy bottom of the inlet is speckled with boulders of varying size. The perfectly shaped oval of the cove is framed by tall pines, and, in the distance across the lake, are the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Crest. In the morning around 10 or 11, after the sun clears the tall peaks at your back, it shines directly down into the water, reflects off the bright sandy bottom and brings out the elemental colors of the water. It’s simply gorgeous.

In order to photograph Secret Cove well you are going to need a polarizing filter to reduce the reflections on the surface of the water which will reveal the lake bottom. A wide-angle lens is recommended if you want to include the pine trees on either side of the mouth of the cove.

There are a huge variety of compositions that can be made here so explore and enjoy.

Best Times

10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Best Months

April, May.

Excellent images can be made here during any month but the snow on the peaks across the lake adds an important element, and this is best in the spring.


Secret Cove is 6 miles south of the junction of Hwy 28 and Lakeshore Blvd on the east end of Incline Village, NV. It’s also 4.4 miles north of the junction of Hwy 28 and Hwy 50. There is an ample parking lot. From the lot hike the gentle dirt road south for 0.5 mi to the cove. NOTE: When the weather is warm expect to see nude sun bathers on the beach.