Lake Tahoe has many beautiful coves and beaches surrounding its stunning blue waters. However, this is one particular location that stands apart, providing a picturesque boulder-laden cove and spectacular views. Secret Cove, while not the out-of-the-way, locals-only scene that it once was, is still a spot that doesn't receive the crowds of nearby beaches. The retreat has a group of devoted regulars who have made a point of keeping the cove pristine by adopting a set of rules and even appointing a "mayor." Be aware that the beach is clothing optional.
This 2.6-mile hike begins at the Chimney Beach Overlook parking lot. For about three-quarters of a mile you will follow a fire road that parallels the main road. Once you reach the newly constructed bathrooms and a sign for Secret Cove, turn right and follow the path downhill until you reach the cove. Once you reach the beach, you will probably want to take photos, but please be respectful of anyone taking advantage of the clothing optional rule.
Once you have had your fill, you can either return the way you came or continue toward Chimney Beach on a smaller trail following the water's edge. After nearly a mile, you will get your first views of Chimney Beach. This beach is much more popular, with a long sandy stretch and impressive rock outcroppings. The central landmark at this beach is the freestanding chimney, the last remnant of an old lakeside cabin. You can expect to see many more people than you did at Secret Cove, but Chimney Beach is less enclosed and has more spots to call your own.
Upon departing, backtrack until you reach the trail junction for the parking lot. Another half mile of uphill will bring you back to your car.