Camping at Lake Tahoe in 2020


After a couple glorious days in Yosemite, we drove north to Lake Tahoe, where we had camping reservations for the rest of the week. We had such a wonderful time in Emerald Bay, and we really loved our campsite in the Eagle Point Campgrounds. Would 100% do it again, pandemic or not.

We left through the northeastern gate of Yosemite and drove through the Tioga Pass, an engineering feat in the high Sierras.

Mono Lake

We were detoured through Nevada due to the Slink Fire, which closed our originally intended route.

We arrived to the campgrounds in Emerald Bay in the late afternoon, with plenty of time to set up camp before sunset. And this was the sunset view from our actual campsite! So lovely.

When we checked in, the ranger told us there had been a male bear cub that scared off some people and successfully got breakfast the day before, and he had been hanging around the upper campsites throughout the day hoping for more. But, she said, it was all the way on the other side of the campgrounds and not where you’ll be staying, so you’ll probably be fine. 

Of course, later that night as I went to go brush my teeth, I heard one of the big camp groups speaking loudly, and I thought they were just partying and being rowdy. But they were talking to the bear! He slowly made his way around to different campsites but each group shouted him away. I didn’t ever feel in danger considering how many people were around, but I watched as he walked in a circle and then right past me, and then the rangers came in their car and chased him off with their rubber bullet guns… they must have successfully scared him off, because we never saw him again. There have been a lot more wildlife-human encounters this year as the human populations have dwindled and then returned, and that’s never good. The goal is always to prevent them from getting your food by properly storing everything in bear lockers and also defending your food rather than letting them scare you off from it. We all lose when wildlife becomes dependent on humans for their food.

Anyway, exciting bear encounter finished, the rest of our trip was less eventful and more restful. Oh, besides the fact that rodents around Tahoe also carry fleas that transmit the plague, so there was also that to worry about. But anyway, next we commenced lots of hammock time and lake time.

A short walk from our campgrounds, you can reach this secluded little beach area right on Emerald Bay.

In the ‘back yard’ of our campsite, you could also walk down towards the water and eventually reach a little beach cove. Perfect little reading nooks.

Floating, swimming, living the Lake Tahoe life.

We did one hike, along the Rubicon Trail, but not too far. Just around Emerald Bay.

Another lovely picnic spot.

An overlook point from our campgrounds.

Views all around!

Thank you to Josh for letting us borrow your camp stove… while Yosemite had somehow not banned campfires still, they were already banned here in Tahoe. Wildfires were burning all around California. The air was mostly moderate while we were here, but it was definitely a concern the whole time. And of course, after we left, the fires came much closer to Tahoe, the national forests were all fully closed, and all fires, including camp stoves, were banned. So again, we were so lucky in many ways to be able to do all this when we did.

Making the 10 minute trek down to the beach again.

The cove at the bottom of our campsite.

And that was the end of our four nights in Tahoe! So wonderful, but we were also quite ready to go home and take a shower after all of this. It also happened to be Labor Day Weekend, so a huge influx of visitors were also funneling in to the Tahoe Area, and we were glad to be going opposite all the traffic to get out.

Grateful for these moments of respite in a year of uncertainty and loss. Thanks for a lovely time, Emerald Bay.

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She compulsively documents and blogs all of her daily adventures, even in quarantine. Follow her on instagram and view more of her professional work at