Secret Cove

Pub date January 5, 2010
WriterGary Hanauer

Rating: A

Also called Paradise Cove, Secret is one of the “nudest” of the Tahoe clothing-optional beaches. And it’s also the one that typically has the least sand during high water years. The good news: this season, everything’s fine.

Known too as Secret Cove Beach, Paradise Rock, and Frankie Loves Dougie Beach, the site has a long history of clothing-optional use. During stopovers a few years ago, San Leandro’s Dave Smith found 90 percent of the visitors were nude, while Steve Williams estimated an impressive 95 percent were wearing their birthday suits.

Remembers Williams: “If you go nude, nobody hassles you, whether you’re with a group of people or all alone.” On warm days, you should expect to encounter as many as 70 people who begin arriving as early as 9 a.m. Popular activities include sunbathing and rock-climbing. “There may be up to 15 people on the rocks,” says Williams.

Legal status:

Part of Toiyabe National Forest.

How to find it:

From the California-Nevada border, go north on Highway 50 to Highway 28. Head north on 28 about six miles until you see a parking lot on the west (lake) side of the highway. Park there. Walk south on the fire road that starts there until you come to two Porta Potties and some trash cans. Follow the trail that starts here down to the beach. It should take you 10-15 minutes to arrive on the sand. If the lot is full, you can park on the shoulder of 28, south of the last “No Parking” sign (cars on the asphalt itself will be cited). On the west side of the road, follow signs that say “Trail” to the beach path.

The beach:

A rocky shoreline, with some sandy nooks, next to some great water. “It’s a beautiful place,” says Swanson.

The crowd:

In past visits, Smith found 30 people on the beach, while Swanson counted about 10.


Rocks; limited parking; erosion often caused by visitors trying to make their own trails to the beach; in the past, the water has smelled like algae, according to Smith.