Crystal-clear waters, jaw-dropping vistas and historic artifacts. It’s downright difficult to put away your camera in the High Sierra even for just a few minutes. Why? Because around every turn, there’s something to photograph! We thought we’d share seven Instagrammable places in California High Sierra that you shouldn’t miss.
Nearly every bend and turn reveals yet another photo-worthy scene, but out of those shots, one stands alone… literally. Named after the artful bonsai it resembles, this unique stone formation is known as Bonsai Rock. The outcropping overlooks the massive expanse of North Lake Tahoe’s waterscape like no other place on the lake. Stand-up paddleboard or kayak your way from either Sand Harbor or Hidden Beach for the perfect shot. For other Instagrammable ideas around the shores of Tahoe, check out Go Tahoe North’s 5 most Instagrammable spots.
Sequoia National Park
There’s the classics that are Instagram worthy like Moro Rock. They are worthy, but why not step up your feed by including a few lesser-known spots just as impressive and give your pics some spice. A good example of this is Hanging Rock. One of the most overlooked places is Hanging Rock as it’s less than half a mile from Moro itself. From here, you’ll get a different perspective on Moro Rock, and a totally different vantage point of the High Sierra.
Sometimes a bit of work to get to the “perfect shot” makes the image that much sweeter. This is the case for the Crowley Columns and why it’s listed as one of the weird and wonderful things to see in the High Sierra. Located thirty miles outside of Bishop at Crowley Lake, you’ll be hiking, boating or driving a high clearance 4X4 to reach this natural oddity. When the Long Valley Dam was built in 1941, the fascinating and unique attraction that was obscured for thousands of years under the earth was exposed. It’s something to see in person! For more Instagrammable locations in and around Bishop, check out Visit Bishop’s article – Razzle dazzle instagrazzle.
Note: This is a warm weather attraction. You can only see it in the warmer months when the lake’s not frozen and the ground is snow-free.
Rock Creek Lake
We all are in a rush, rush, rush. As you zoom down Highway 395, be sure to set aside time to explore the alpine lakes, streams, and canyons in the Eastern Sierra like Rock Creek Lake. Located on the southern edge of Mono County, this lake is accessed via the road of the same name. Rock Creek Road rises nearly 3,000 vertical feet in under twelve miles to the shores of this alpine lake. At 10,320 feet above sea-level, it’s in fact one of the HIGHEST drive-to-lake adventures in the Sierra.
When in the greater Tahoe region, nearly everyone flocks to the shores of Tahoe and rightly so. The water shines like diamonds and the views are some of the greatest in the world. With that, there are many little gems to be found outside of the classics like the Rainbow Bridge just outside of Truckee on the scenic drive up Old Highway 40 to Donner Summit. One of the unique bridges of California, it is arguably one of the most beautiful in the state. Besides its one-of-a kind architecture, the backdrop of Donner Lake and the High Sierra combine for a must do for Instagrammable locations.
Please note: a road rehabilitation project is underway on Donner Pass Road which may cause Rainbow Bridge to be inaccessible. Check the Truckee Travel Alert for more information.
Yosemite National Park
You know this list wouldn’t be complete without including the most iconic “shot” location by legendary American landscape photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams. The Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park allows you to get El Capitan, Half Dome AND Bridalveil Fall all in one shot. Due to its popularity, we recommend visiting in the winter or signing up for the Valley Floor Tour. If you do make it to Yosemite National Park, be sure to check out the article – Top 10 places to get the shot by Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau.
Sierra No. 3™
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Compared to the others on the list, the good ole Sierra No. 3™ is something Hollywood junkies will “hop” onto. While it played a significant role in logging, mining and dam building operations in the Sierra foothills, it wasn’t until the 1950s that it reached legendary status. Often called the “Movie Star Locomotive”, the 4-6-0 ten wheeler locomotive, built in 1891, was made famous by its use in Back to the Future Part III and other Hollywood films like Unforgiven. Considered by many as the most photographed steam engine locomotive in the world, you can see this beauty in the same original roundhouse at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park when it was doing “work.”
It’s no secret that nearly every square inch of the Sierra Nevada is photogenic. And these seven Instagrammable places in California High Sierra definitely showcase that!
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.