North Whale Beach

Pub date January 5, 2010
WriterGary Hanauer

Rating: C

Named after the rocks offshore that look like the head of a whale, North Whale Beach and South Whale Beach are Tahoe’s most remote — and private — nude enclaves. They’re great to visit if you’re seeking a little solitude, but the walk to the sites is pretty long. To reach North Whale, you’ll need to take a trail from the lake’s other clothing-optional beaches. Bring a towel, reading material, and sunscreen to savor the serenity of this secluded section of shore.

Legal status:

Part of Toyiabe National Forest.

How to find it:

The beach is south, around the point, from Secret Creek Beach (see previous entry). Follow directions to Secret Creek Beach, passing the blue Porta Potty. About 200-300 yards past the bathroom, the road peters out into a flat area of waist-high manzanita. On the right, there are some rocks. If you go straight ahead, you’ll come to the water and will be facing Whale Rock. Look for a short series of steps. They will lead you down to the sand. Total walking distance from the first in the string of five adjacent beaches is about two miles.

The beach:

Large and sandy, with a few rocks, Whale’s series of coves are spread out over the equivalent length of three football fields. “But it’s fairly narrow,” explains visitor Steve Williams.

The crowd:

Varying in number, the crowd is sometimes completely nude, sometimes totally clothed, or a mix. Swanson spotted three naked people and seven clothed people during his last visit. One summer day, Williams counted 12 visitors over a 150-200 yard long swath of shoreline; on a weekday, he found six people, including two who were nude.


Long walk; tight parking.