Planning a Proposal in Lake Tahoe
Are you planning to propose to your significant other in Lake Tahoe? From location coordinates and logistics, to engagement backdrops, and capturing the moment with proposal photography: we’ve got you covered.
Send me a message about your proposal ideas and we can work out the details together.
“I can’t say enough amazing things about the whole experience! Kimmi. Is. A. Gem. She did a great job capturing such a special day for us. She setup the cutest backdrop, orchestrated by my fiancè, and captured our Lake Tahoe proposal. We spent 3 hours together, traveling to different photo ops in Tahoe and used up all of the daylight! So kind, sincere, and genuine- it was great getting to meet Kimmi and I’m so grateful for the shots captured. Thank you again!”
Below are some proposal location ideas, dinner recommendations, engagement backdrops, and tips for planning a perfect Lake Tahoe proposal.
If you are looking for a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer, check out our other galleries featuring various Lake Tahoe wedding venues and the Lake Tahoe Elopement guide.
Lake Tahoe Proposal at Emerald Bay
“Kimmi was awesome! She sent us absolutely gorgeous photos from our engagement planned perfectly at golden hour, and has exceptional editing skills. 100% recommend!”
Proposal Location Ideas in Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay is a short drive from the town of South Lake Tahoe and can be accessed via Highway 89. It is located on the South West shore of Lake Tahoe and is the only inlet on the lake and home to Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette Island. Its waters are always perfect shades of turquoise and emerald. Emerald Bay State Park is the location for many of Lake Tahoe’s landmarks. Most famously, the park is home to Vikingsholm Castle, a relic of old times that is accessible by a steep downhill trail to the Emerald Bay beach.
Vikingsholm Castle is a 38-room mansion that is long considered as one of the finest and most incredible examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. It’s located within Emerald Bay State Park, which spans just over 1500 acres and geographically south of D.L. Bliss State Park. Vikingsholm Castle was built in 1929 by Mrs. Lora Knight, and still holds some of its original features.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort
Located in Stateline, Nevada, Edgewood Tahoe Resort offers beachfront accommodations a 7-minute walk from Lakeside Beach and provides facilities like a restaurant and is Tahoe’s only lakefront golf resort, and home to the American Century Celebrity Championship. You can call also their concierge to request a dinner reservation at their restaurant with a lakefront view to celebrate your engagement.
A beach proposal is classic, romantic, and pairs perfectly with a sunset to make your Lake Tahoe engagement photography turn out incredible. One that is always easy to get to because it has a dedicated parking lot and not many people is Nevada Beach. There is an outdoor Pavillion there that you can rent or use for your backdrop with the lake in your Lake Tahoe proposal photos.
El Dorado Beach
Similar to Nevada Beach, the California side offers beautiful lakefront views and colors reflected on the glassy surface of Lake Tahoe. El Dorado Beach which is next to Lakeview Commons. There are plenty of steps and there is a pier.
Valhalla Tahoe was formed in 1979 (as the Tahoe Tallac Association) with the goal of assisting the Forest Service in restoring the three estates on the Tallac Historic Site and developing the site as a historic center. Valhalla Tahoe hosts events and weddings in the summer, as well as the site for local markets and theater plays.
Do you have questions about any specific location that you’ve seen or logistics regarding planning a Lake Tahoe proposal?
Ask me anything, I’m all ears.
Lake Tahoe Proposal Photographer Tips
In my years of photographing proposals and engagements, I have learned a few things:
Proposal Photography Timing
Emerald Bay is located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, which means that sunrise and morning sessions are the most beautiful as seen from that side of the lake. To really take advantage of the brilliant hues and colors that you have probably seen on Instagram pictures or travel articles, morning is the way to go for your engagement session in Emerald Bay.
Sunset Engagement in Lake Tahoe
If you prefer the afternoon and sunset for your proposal photographs, choose an area on the east side of Lake Tahoe for your proposal location. Everything from Cave Rock to Stateline is a good option, including Nevada Beach, Memorial Point, Zephyr Cove Resort, and Sand Harbor State Park.
To make a proposal experience truly memorable, add a backdrop. We offer beautiful backdrops with flowers, lanterns, lace, and light-up letters for your Lake Tahoe engagement backdrop. Just send us a message if you’d like to add a pleasant surprise and take your engagement experience to the next level.
Finding a Tahoe Engagement Photographer
Nathan and Leandra celebrated their anniversary of being together for almost a decade by going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. Little did she know, Nathan had a surprise planned to propose to her once they got to their “hiking destination” at Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe.
Weeks before, Nathan emailed me asking to help him plan a surprise engagement with proposal photography for his girlfriend – soon to be fiancée! We had talked extensively about this one location that he had seen in an image search and fell in love with. Using Google Earth and some brilliant sleuthing skills, we were able to find the exact coordinates that gave him the view that he wanted to propose at. We shared the GPS coordinates, a time to meet, and made up a plan for them to go on a hike through Vikingsholm near Emerald Bay, California and end up at the location for the most important question!
Upon getting to the location, he pulled her aside to a view point by the rocks. There I was, hiding behind a large boulder with a long lens ready to photograph the moment. They talked for a while and looked out at the view. In a few minutes, he dropped to one knee and asked if she would marry him. She was ecstatic when she said YES and accepted his ring.
Celebrate your Engagement
After your partner says yes, it’s time to celebrate! Bring champagne and a few glasses, a picnic, or make dinner reservations ahead of time. We suggest calling ahead to make reservations at Edgewood Restaurant, Chart House, or Riva Grill on the Lake.
Here are some other ideas for things to do after proposing at Emerald Bay:
Things to Do in Emerald Bay, California
From hiking, biking, and water sports — you have a lot of options regarding things to do at Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe.
Vikingsholm Trail and Fannette Island
We met at the Vikingsholm trail entrance, one of the places around the lake that you can see a clear view of Fannette Island.
Built in 1928 by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, Vikingsholm is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. She wanted to build a summer home that would compliment the magnificent natural surroundings. Emerald Bay beach reminded her of fjords she had seen on her travels to Scandinavia. She decided to commission her nephew, Swedish architect Lennart Palme, to design the home.
Vikingsholm was completed in the fall of 1929. The exceptional summer home was enjoyed by Mrs. Knight and her guests, until her death at the age of 82 in 1945. It is now a part of the Harvey West Unit of the Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe State Park. The house is open for tours during the summer months and the magnificent scenery can be enjoyed all year round.
If you’re feeling adventurous, here are some good hiking trails to consider.
Hiking Trails at Emerald Bay
Eagle Falls Trail
Start at the parking lot of Emerald Bay State Park. There’s a vista point that you can take pictures of the lake from above, or if you’re feeling a little extra adventurous, you can climb the big rocks for a higher and better view. You can see Fannette Island clearly from the top of the rocks, and down the path is the entrance to Eagle Falls Trail.
Eagle Falls Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Leading into the heart of Desolation Wilderness (a permit is required), the Eagle Falls Trail offers forest, lake and far reaching views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra high country.
Rubicon Trail Tahoe
The Rubicon Trail along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is a gem! It’s easily accessible and has some of the best views around Tahoe. It’s absolutely a hike one can look forward to repeatedly. The Rubicon covers a lot of terrain. There are flats, undulating short elevation gains and drops, and twists along some stunning shoreline cliffs. The trail dips into secluded coves, and along easily accessible shorelines in Emerald Bay. At both the beginning of the trail and end are a campgrounds, also along the south shore of Emerald Bay, you can find active nesting area for Eagles.
Rubicon Trail is a 16.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Along the streams grow alders, quaking aspen, mountain dogwood, service berry and bitter cherry, and black cottonwood. Wildflowers include columbine, leopard lily, lupine, bleeding heart, yellow monkey flower and nightshade. The bulk of the brush includes ceanothus, chinquapin, currant, gooseberry, huckleberry, and manzanita.
Due to it’s length and difficulty, I suggest reading a Rubicon Trail guide before attempting this trek. Especially if it’s your first time doing so, you will find a lot of helpful tips in navigating the the Rubicon Trail in Emerald Bay.
The Bayview Trailhead serves as an entrance to Desolation Wilderness. Many short options and loops are possible with this trail. Consider heading to Maggie’s Peak or create a loop with Eagle Falls Trail, or head higher into the wilderness and Velma Lake, near the PCT. From the trailhead, take a right (left is Cascade Falls Trail) and start up steep switchbacks. You’ll soon hit Granite Lake. The trail stays above it, but you can trivially hop down to the lake for a swim or this could be your final destination if you’re looking for a short hike.
Cascade Falls Trail
With lakes and waterfalls galore, don’t forget to check out Cascade Falls Trail. Cascade Falls is a moderate hike that opens up to a 200-foot waterfall which surrounds Cascade Lake. This trailhead begins at the far end of Bayview Campground and is only two miles round trip.
Lake Tahoe Proposal Photography and Engagement Planning
Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe is a popular spot to propose to your partner. Many people choose to propose at this spot for a moment that they will never forget.
For their Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe engagement photography session, we clambered up the top of rocks and over snow piles to get to the ledge overlooking Fannette Island and it was a view that was so worth it.
About Starscape Studios
Kimmi Cranes is a South Lake Tahoe proposal photographer. Her style combines color, vividness, and authenticity to capture genuine smiles and moments to remember during your Lake Tahoe proposal photography and engagement session. Servicing locations around Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Reno, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the greater SF Bay Area. Available for travel to destinations worldwide.
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