Squaw Valley Trail

MODERATE 6 reviews
#35 of 102 trails in

Squaw Valley Trail is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoe City, CA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and downhill skiing and is accessible from December until April.

5.8 miles 1909 feet Out & Back

kid friendly



trail running




no dogs

1 month ago

After a long four hour drive up from San Francisco, my father and I decided to do a short evening hike before Mount Rose the subsequent morning. We have skied at Squaw often, thus we decided to attempt to climb it in a different light- without any snow.

Turns out there was some snow. Some, of course, simply meaning remnants from last weeks' storms placed on the shadiest spots of the slopes up to Squaw Peak. The earlier storm also rejuvenated, or at least bolstered, one of the creeks heading up (see Photos).

This trail is not well trafficked. It's overgrown at times with washout on the rockier sections. Additionally, there are non-paved (wood shavings and/or fine gravel) roads that offer a safer, more established route to the summit. Thus makes it relatively difficult to navigate, though.

This trail is a steady incline regardless of the route you take. It's not strenuous, but be prepared to climb ~1,700 feet in a little over three miles. I personally recommend hiking poles to help with the rockier, looser sections of this trail.

Additionally, there exists cable cars (operational until 5 P.M on select days) available to take you down from the WildFlower Café. My father and I arrived at the top a little after sunset, and we were generously granted with a private ride down in a cable car. Amazing!

The views are the real pearl of this hike, cable cars or not. The outlook from the WildFlower Café is unrivaled by many others in the area. Lake Tahoe is visible over a stretch of mountains. There's snow at the Wildflower Café despite it being only October.

This is a great hike to test your navigating skills, endurance, and to capture great views. If you have the time (it only takes an hour, granted that you take a cable car down) I heavily recommend hiking it. Another bonus is that the creeks here are active, only if temporarily. Have fun!

3 months ago

The proper name of this trail is the Thunder Mountain Trail and that is how it is marked locally. The trailhead is just west of the Expedition lift. Not sure of the track shown.
The trail is the shortest but steepest route to High Camp

4 months ago

1 year ago

One of the most magnificent trails I have ever been on. lots of beautiful scenery every step, with plenty of places to stop by for a refreshing dip in pounds. it is for certain a challenge but a rewarding one once finished.

1 year ago

3 years ago

A beautiful place with a lot of beautiful scenery. I came for a day and spent two weeks.