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Most difficult part of the trail is staying on trail due to very poor signage and/or markings. The trail has one lackluster lake and dumps you out near some ski runs. Good if you’re in the area and have half a day to kill, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this one.

We hiked this last April and it was gorgeous. At the time lots of poison oak and the trails were washed out on lower section.

Like many have said there are trees down on both sides of the loop, not to hard to climb over though. On the lower sections how ever one of the gorges that had a small stream running across that path got blocked debris and diverted the street down along the trail. So roughly 15 yards or so of the trail is washed out. In addition to some other erosion further along at another point that makes the trail very narrow on a pretty steep hill. If you’re thinking of doing the loop it’s advisable that you stay on the upper part.
Took about four hours to complete. Beautiful view at the end and along the way.

Challenging yet rewarding hike with beautiful scenery and views. We went in mid-Oct when the tram was closed (it closed 10/1/2018), so once we got to Shirley Lake, we continued on around Solitude chair to Shirley Lake chair and up and over to High Camp and then took Mountain Run down to to Squaw Village. All in, with a few snack and photo breaks it took us 4.5 hours and was about 9 miles. To get from Squaw Peak Road (the trail head) to Shirley Lake, it’s a lot of boulder maneuvering and often scaling on all fours. It’s not for the weak, very young, out of shape, or elderly. Follow the blue spray painted markers and little trail signs along the way and you’ll be in good shape. If you don’t see blue spray paint for a while, you’ve likely gone off the trail by mistake. We got lost at one point following aimlessly the people in front of us who didn’t know where they were going (we realized later), so have this app ready when needed and follow the markings. It’s a very fun and varied hike and the beauty of Shirley Lake, the gorgeous valley and the views from High Camp are worth it. The hike from Shirley up to High Camp has significant elevation and no shade but it’s a relatively steady climb up the service road and not technical. As the tram was closed, we took Mountain Run down which was simple enough. Only negative with that is it’s a slippery loose pebble ridden service road so be careful with your footing. Often we walked on the side of the road in the brush for better stability. Incredible and rewarding hike overall. Highly recommend for the adventurous and not faint at heart! Bring a camelback/plenty of water and snacks! Glass of wine at the Village at the end was incredibly rewarding. :)

walking
23 days ago

*pretty unpopulated trail in october- YEY!
*last bit of trail is a road that takes you up to the fire lookout station at the top. Views up there are wonderful!
*bring all the water you'll need- there isnt any on the trail.
*gorgeous views in the last mile and a half!

Well maintained trail.

Wonderful trail with a beautiful view. It is long and is strenuous at parts. There are quite a few areas with downed trees. It took 4.5 hours with my 9 year old.

Beautiful trail but challenging along the granite. Keep you eyes open for the blue spray paint on the rocks to keep you on course (great idea to spray paint). The tram is closed from Oct 1 - opening season for maintenance so be prepared time wise to hike both ways.

Beautiful and dry as a bone. great view over the Livermore area

backpacking
29 days ago

Such a great trail! We did a two day backpacking trip, low key and so refreshing.

We went around clockwise, camping by the Government Meadow overnight. We stayed on top of a rock formation (which was a mistake, way too windy) but I would recommend it as a place to catch a killer sunset! There are plenty of nice flat open spaces near the creek, they are easy to spot as logs are usually arranged around the remains of a fire pit.

There is a lovely open area to set up camp about 2 miles in, if you go counter clockwise, on the other side of a bridge. It looks like you could lounge around this mellow part of the creek, and it would be great for swimming on a sunny day.

We picked up our permit at the Ranger Station in Pioneer. It added an extra 30-40 minutes to our drive coming from SF, so if you can get your permit at a station off of 50, you'd save yourself some time.

hiking
1 month ago

Took me 4 hours to complete, counting my little break I took on the lookout by the falls. Overall, the trail loop is very pretty, nicely shaded, and well cut, however, for about half of the west section of the loop it was terribly overgrown and not well marked. The lack of trail at one point and even less markings made me a little disoriented for the last quarter of the west side of the loop. But once I got through that by climbing logs and pushing/cutting a whole bunch of branches, the falls and the eastern part of the loop back made it all worth it:)
Bring bug spray, I was also being followed by a little cloud of gnats for a lot of the time

Beautiful hike. I went counter clockwise. Practically all downhill to the falls with a slight grade on the way back. The view of Feather Falls and the ravine is more than worth the hike.

Great hike with Beautiful views of Shirley Canyon and Tram Face at Squaw Valley

Beautiful

hiking
1 month ago

Nice 8.2 mile hike. Some parts are steep, but nothing over the top

Challenging but amazing.

Rated as moderate but it’s actually a pretty good challenge

hiking
1 month ago

Had a view of the lake along a great deal of the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

In this trail’s defense, I should’ve read the reviews more closely before starting. I’m new to hiking & very much enjoy a well groomed trail, but in good shape, so I enjoy longer, harder trails in terms of elevation. This trail was difficult for me due to the fact that in 3 instances there are downed trees that are hard to get around, especially if you have a 20lb or less pup with you. The overgrowth on this trail was difficult for me as well. Also, when you get to the fork in the trail, if you go to the left, there’s a pretty large portion that’s washed out by a creek that I would imagine would be impassable during the spring months as it would probably be flowing much higher than it was today. My little mini schanuzer Norwich terrier made it, but I did have to carry him the last half mile and strenuous portion to the falls. I wouldn’t take him again. Take lots of water! The waterfall is beautiful but we were told by others on the hike that it’s much prettier in late Oct early Nov!

We decided to continue hiking on the first trail to the left, about half way on this trail and hiked all the way out to where it comes back out on the lake. It’s only a few miles but the various switchbacks are pretty killer if you go that way and it is not a loop trail. This was a little while before I got the app so I was not ready for it. Very pretty though!

Gorgeous views and great workout!

Hiked this to train for Yosemite Half Dome. This was an awesome training hike. Your legs get a great workout. You need at least 3 liters of water. It was a sunny but windy and cool day when we hiked and I drank about 3, so on a hot day, would have needed more. Fox tails galore on the narrow paths, so stuck to my socks and shoes.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail (would be amazing in winter and spring when water was running in the creek), but hikers need to be prepared for the amount of climbing or descending (depending on which way you travel). The 1000 feet of elevation change is accomplished over MANY stairs created with wood, dirt, and rock. While I was able to handle the descent, the uneven wood and boulders were tough on the knees and ankles.

Beautiful trail! Take the gondola down :) worth it!

We had a great time. Took fork to right on way in. Beautiful sites on the way. Upper Frey creek falls a pleasant surprise. Last 1/2 mile in to Feather Falls is strenuous but totally worth the reward. The view point lookout is a beautiful spot to soak in magnificent views of the falls and the river valley below. The short jaunt to top of the falls rewards you with a chance to soak the aching feet and knees in crystal clear creek. Great spot for picnic. Returned by way of the lower or (left fork at start). The trail is in a bit of disrepair and a bit over grown and the end hike out is a lot of uphill. Reward is given when you recross Frey Creek again. Make sure to take bug spray the flies and gnats were a bit annoying. Fern fronds make an excellent back up fly swatter. Be on lookout for poison oak, very much in abundance on trail!! Lots of great viewpoints.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a beautiful day to hit this trail for the first time. It has a few good strenuous sections but all in all it is not too challenging. Good mixture of sun and shade and the meadows are stunning. Very quiet with few other hikers!

Love this hike! A big thank you to whoever has marked the way with blue paint :). It has some difficult parts, but I really enjoyed the varying terrain and the views are gorgeous! It also isn’t bad that you can finish it off with a cocktail and hot tub at the top if you so choose.

hiking
2 months ago

This was no fun without the tram. It was a hot day and it's a rocky hike. The tram had stopped running on 9/3/18 so we didn't get all the way to the top, which was disappointing. Also, the waterfall and the creek were dry. Beautiful views along the way. Bring lots of water as it's very hot and truly a challenging trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Definitely on the harder side, but well worth the climb.

Amazing hike. Difficult but very rewarding at High Camp!

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