Granite Chief Trail is a 6.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Olympic Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.5 miElevation gain1,965 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingSnowshoeingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeSnow
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from Truckee: Travel Hwy. #80 west and take the South Lake Tahoe exit and follow Highway #89 south for 8.5 miles to the Squaw valley junction. (If you are coming from Lake Tahoe, take Hwy. #89 north from Tahoe City for 5 miles.) Turn west on Squaw valley Road and drive 2.2 miles to the Squaw Valley Fire Station. Hikers must use the large parking area in front of the ski lift buildings and under no condition use any of the parking spaces around the fire station. The trailhead is located on the east (right) side of the fire station and is clearly marked.

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Reviews (220)
Photos (338)
Activities (222)
Completed (486)
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Andrew Staffaroni
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Running
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Bella Nagappan
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Hiking

First time snowshoeing. Hike in ~2 miles to get to deep snow. Beautiful views!

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Jim S
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Hiking

About a mile from the PCT snow shoes would have been good. Hiking boot until then were fine. Poles very helpful and gaiters

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Mike Legay
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Hiking

Awesome views

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Stacey Legay
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Hiking

Excellent

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Veronica Copple
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Hiking

I would rate this as a moderate to difficult hike. We only made it 1.6 miles up due to the rocky terrain and the altitude. It was beautiful, and weather was great mid October. Some mud but otherwise clear. It took us just over 3 hours to do the 3 miles, but we stopped often to enjoy the view, catch our breath and hydrate.

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Jessica Lewandowski
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Hiking

Lovely hike !!

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Soumil Amin
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Hiking

Great hike. Not to tough but was challenging. Clean. Well kept. Views of the lake at the top. Loved it.

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Colby Baldwin
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RunningGreat!Rocky

Great trail for an intense run! It’s a little hard to stay on the correct trail at the beginning but if you keep the app open it will help. I was on the trail at 7 am and only saw one other couple.

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Patrick McQueen
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Great hike, a bit hard to find trailhead. I parked by the fire station and found the trail right behind the ropes course. Another way is to go all the way back to Squaw Valley Inn and start from there.

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Mark Ferguson
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Hiking
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Scott H
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HikingRocky

I loved the hike, but the trail isn't well marked in a few places. The uphill part of the trail was pretty intense. I started off kind of rough by missing a fork in the road in the first 1/2 mile. I ended up scaling the a steep rocky ledge without much warmup. That set my respiration back for the rest of the uphill. This hike has a combination of every conceivable type of terrain. If you don't miss a turn, you won't have serious technical challenges. But you will get plenty of time on steep and rocky stretches. Watch out for unstable boulders. This area has a lot of heavily weathered granite. What looks firm might break off and turn into gravel. No doubt, this is a beautiful trail. There's no mountain peak at the end with a 360 panoramic view. But the view along the way is shocking and amazing. This trail terminates at the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

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Derek M
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HikingRocky

Nice trail. Would rate it moderate/hard...some steep spots. Fun to enjoy Squaw in the warm fall weather.

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Michael Ludes
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Hiking
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Jim S
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Hiking

Much clearer air up here. Trail open 9/22

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Albert Boyce
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Hiking

Great campsite

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Anja Van Elgort
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HikingGreat!

An absolute must! Got there at 8 am and had the trail to myself. Hiked up to PCT. Incredibly beautiful and peaceful. My kind of rugged. Wear good traction shoes. Consistent climb but not so steep with lots of excellent spots to stop and take in the beauty.

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Janan Yousif
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Hiking
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Albert Wu
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Hiking
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John wolff
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Hiking
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Rikard Bergquist
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Hiking

Beautiful dynamic trail, through the woods, out into the open with awesome views of Squaw valley. Very cool to hike a few steps on the PCT, thinking about the thousands before and to come.

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Janine Morice
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HikingBugsMuddyOver grownRocky

Great views! This was a really steep trail and a lot of lose gravel. I would recommend this hike but plan to bring a lot of water and be prepared to stop a lot. It was marked well and easy to follow. There are a few creeks along the way for dogs but definitely need to plan extra water for the pup. My dog is older and had a hard time with the lose gravel and steep elevation.

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K T
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HikingRocky

Steep! If you live at or near sea level and are of moderate athletic prowess, plan on a full day and a LOT of water. The altitude and the incline are noticeable for those who live at sea level. The trailhead is behind and to the right of the fire station. We took this trail with the intention of summiting Granite Chief Peak again and then taking Shirley Canyon Trail back down. But our lightning speed of 1.5 mph limited our daylight and made the summit impossible to climb and still get down before dark. We used a bailout route from high camp to get down (Squaw Valley Trail aka Thunder Mountain Trail - not the Thunder Mountain by Kirkwood). Granite Chief Trail has a wide variety of terrain and views, but the common thread is UP. It pretty much is always going up! Gorgeous views though! In and out of shady areas but lot of sun in the rocky areas. Take lots of water! I used 3 liters and probably could have used more if I hadn’t been conserving. Our total mileage for the day (all inclusive - not this trail alone) was 12.92 miles with an elevation gain of 2981 feet. It’s not a do over for me but it was worth it. I will be back to do Shirley Canyon Trail.

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Albert Boyce
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HikingBugs

Outstanding in every way.

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Lauren Morales
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Hiking

Beautiful trail overlooking Squaw Valley. The end of the trail isn’t really a peak view, but there’s a great one pretty close. if you take a left at the end of the trail onto the pacific rim trail and go down about a quarter mile, there’s a large rock pointing toward the valley. I hiked a little off trail at that spot to have a great view of the valley and Lake Tahoe. The trail is mainly rock and gravel with some dirt trails thru the woods. This is on the harder side of moderate difficulty. Most of the trail is a gradual incline but there are a few areas with steeper rock incline.

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