Fall Photography Spots South Lake Tahoe

Fall Photography Spots South Lake Tahoe (Hope Valley)

Fall Photography - Red Creek Hope Valley Cabin

Early to Mid October in South Lake Tahoe (Hope Valley), Carson Pass Highway, and Caples Lake

An early morning adventure on a perfect weather day turned into an interesting ending (4Runner Problems), I’ll get to that later. The plan was to hit Hope Valley in the middle of October on October 15, but according to California Fall Color, everything was perfect on October 8th. A friend was supposed to join me on the mini day trip adventure and then sent me text message at 6am saying he had a headache, I think he just wanted to sleep in. I got up at 7am and was out the door by 7:30, grabbed some photography snacks and got on Highway 50.

The whole drive up highway 50 was epic. Trees everywhere were screaming for rain and snow. The day was beautiful and there were many good photography spots straight off highway 50. As you drive up highway 50 towards South Lake Tahoe to Hope Valley and Carson Pass Highway, you will easily get sidetracked. About every 15 minutes you will want to pull over and make your own photography spots along the way. The whole reason why I wanted to go up here was for the Red Creek Lake Cabin (The Iconic Hope Valley Cabin).

I pulled off the side once right before Kyburz to get a river shot (South Fork of the American River). For the most post, I mashed the 4Runner up the hill and headed straight for my target.

South Lake Tahoe Photography Spots List (Fall Photography)

  • Red Creek Cabin (Iconic Hope Valley Cabin)
  • Hope Valley Aspen Trees
  • Glen Alpine Falls (Not Much Water in October)
  • Carson Pass Highway
  • Caples Lake (Carson Pass Highway)
  • Red Lake (Carson Pass Highway)
  • Kirkwood Station Inn
  • Fallen Leaf Lake

Red Creek Cabin (Iconic Hope Valley Cabin)

The Iconic Red Creek Cabin in Hope Valley is a stunning sight to see in October. Whether you come on the first, second or third weekend in October, you are sure to see spectacular fall colors. The Hope Valley cabin is located on the side of the road on Carson Pass Highway (California State Route 88). Once you come down to the “T” in the road from Highway 89/ Highway 50, turn right onto Carson Pass Highway and drive until you see it. You will come down to the bottom of a valley in which Red Creek runs through.

Fall Photography - Hope Valley, CA Iconic Cabin

Abandoned Cattle Ranch in Hope Valley

There are so many different photography spots in Hope Valley and most of them are off the side of the road. At every step of the way, you will find a photography spot that you can call home. This old abandoned cattle ranch was stunning. An epic picture of what used to happen here 50+ years ago.


The Aspen Trees in Hope Valley (WOW!)

The Aspen Trees in Hope Valley are amazing. Along the entire Carson Pass Highway, you will see clusters of Aspen Trees. Also, the Aspen Tree Festival is held every year in Hope Valley. It was breathtaking gorgeous.


Aspen Trees in Hope Valley (Close-Up)


Carson Pass Highway (Route 88)

Along the entire drive, you will have amazing views of mountain ranges and fall colors. Carson Pass Highway (Route 88) runs from Nevada down to Jackson, CA. The fall colors on Carson Pass Highway will display in absolute beauty for miles. The options are endless for Photography Spots on Carson Highway. Just drive, you are sure to see something epic around every corner.

Fall Photography - Carson Pass Highway South Lake Tahoe

Caples Lake (Carson Pass Highway)

The Photography Spots off Carson Pass Highway at Caples Lake were amazing. Caples Lake is located just below Kirkwood Resorts and boasts stunning views of mountain ranges, beautiful fall colors, fishing boats on the lake, nature’s finest and much more. Take a drive along Caples Lake and you are sure to find and epic photography spot that you can spend hours shooting.

Fall Photography - Caples Lake Mountains

Red Lake (Carson Pass Highway)

Again, Carson Pass Highway is your road map for California Fall Colors in South Lake Tahoe.

Fall Photography - Red Lake (Carson Pass Highway)

Carson Pass Highway Fall Color

This is looking up towards Kirkwood. After you drive up and over this pass, you will see Caples Lake.

Fall Photography - Carson Pass Highway Fall Color

South Fork of The American River (Highway 50)

Heading up Highway 50 from Sacramento, there are hundreds of places to shoot along the South Fork of the American River. I may have jumped the gun here and stopped a little too soon.



Kirkwood Inn (Carson Pass Highway)


Glen Alpine Falls in October

Very Impressive but I am sure February – March and into April would be epic.


El Dorado County Winery in Fall (Apple Hill/ Camino, CA)

As you pull off the road from Highway 50 into Apple Hill/ Camino towards Carson Road, there is a very pretty winery to your right (Crystal Basin Cellars). I have wanted to take a sunset picture here for years but today, I settled for this awesome mid-day photography spot.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jennifer Kennedy
5 years ago

Those are great shots! I am going up to Hope Valley this weekend. Hopefully I get some great shots like yours.

Dennis Price
5 years ago

May we use two of your Carson Pass images for our interpretive walks at Carson Pass Station this summer? One is Kirkwood and the other Aspens near Caples Lake.
FB: Carson Pass Information Station
Thank you
Carson Pass Station

Questions or Comments?x