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Emerald Bay Sunrise – California

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I love sunrises everywhere and Lake Tahoe is a great place to photograph one! This viewpoint is across from the trailhead to Eagle Falls, so that is a great place to park.

As you are walking the short walk down to the level are, there is a little stream. Just below here is the Lower Eagle Falls. There a multiple ways to cross. when I was here in August, there were three other photographers there for sunrise.

You can look up behind you at the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains all aglow from the sunrise.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

As you look out of Emerald Bay, you see the only island on Lake Tahoe: Fannette Island. If you walk a few minutes clockwise around the lake you will arrive at Emerald Bay State Park where you can hike down to the shore and beautiful Vikingsholm. I saw a few boats in the bay enjoying the sunrise as well.

For perspective, I will include a photo I took later in the day on the hike down to Emerald Bay. You can see the road that circles around the lake. Here at Emerald Bay it is 377 feet above the shore. The far right side of this photo is where the Eagle Falls parking heads off on the far side of the road and this spot for photographing the sunrise is on the close side of the lake.

Emerald Bay
Sunrise over Emerald Bay

Bathrooms – Yes (across the street at Eagle Falls parking or around the corner at Emerald Bay State Park parking)
Seasons to hike – Year Round, but most popular during the summer
Permits needed – $5 per car or National Parks Pass at Eagle Lake State Park or $10 per car at Emerald Bay State Park (Be sure to obey no parking signs)
Pets allowed – Yes (It is allowed here and along the trail to Eagle Lake, it isn’t allowed in Emerald Bay State Park)


We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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