Granite Chief Trail

MODERATE 32 reviews
#28 of 121 trails in

Granite Chief Trail is a 6.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Olympic Valley, California that offers scenic views 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.

DISTANCE
6.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1896 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

snowshoeing

views

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.

3 months ago

Nice hike, once we found the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike. It could use a few markers.

4 months ago

This was a great hike! Spectacular views and a few beautiful meadows full of blooming wildflowers. We would rate this hike at the more challenging side of "Moderate". The trails are pretty well marked throughout. Up towards the last couple of miles there was a good amount of snow making it difficult at times to know which way to go. Bring your phone, and use the map associated with the trail. This map really helped us navigate when we weren't sure where to go, or thought we were off course. There is plenty of cell service all the way up, which is a pretty nice little bonus. This is an out and back trail, but you can take PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) across to the backside of Squaw and hike down to High Camp for that much deserved beer. It's really easy to get lost up here, so it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the area before heading out so you don't have to turn around and go back down the way you came.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great trail with beautiful scenery the whole way. I would strongly recommend a GPS as much of the upper portion of the trail is covered in snow and easy to lose your way. Be sure to stay right of the creek at the upper portion of the trail. Since the switch backs are all buried the last half mile or so will be spent cutting straight up the final portion of the mountain. Be prepared as you set off especially if you have never made the trek before. There are numerous water crossings and with all the snow this year the little creeks have a pretty strong flow.

hiking
5 months ago

This is one of my favorite trails around the lake. However, it is easy to get mixed up at the bottom as there are a bunch of little trails. Make sure you keep your eye out for a trail which goes away from the river after you pass the Granite Chief trail sign. As of 7/2/17 there was still too much snow about 3 miles up, lost the trail and had to make our way back down.

hiking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

Great hike with gorgeous vistas. I'd suggest this is on the more technical end of 'moderate' though.
A nice feature of the hike is that it meets up with the Pacific Crest Trail at the summit of the trial such that you can take the Squaw gondola from High Camp down to the village.

hiking
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One of my favorite trails. Love being able to hike up to high camp and take the team down. When you hit the pct go right about a half mile, great views of granite chief wilderness, tinkers and Anderson peak. Can hike up to the top of emigrant and take the road down to the team or cut off just before going up emigrant from granite. The trail is good except one spot where a stream washed out the trail. Awesome vistas.

hiking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great hike! Only saw three people- all trail runners- my entire way to the PCT. Great hike starting near the fire station. I mixed up a couple of trails, but ultimately they all led to this one. The AllTrails app helped with this. Granite Chief trail was nice- quiet and great views. A little smoky this time of year, but what can you do. Moderate uphill for the majority. Hit the PCT and made a left, headed for High Camp. PCT to High Camp was great. Well maintained and nice views. Cut off to the left at a 2-way fork to get to High Camp. One fairly sketchy trail to get to the service road, then a quick shot to the Tram. All in all- a great hike. To get from the trailhead to the Tram is about 8 miles, so be prepared for that. Will hike again.

hiking
Thursday, July 28, 2016

beautifully quiet hike with amazing views. well worth the effort to the top:-)

hiking
Saturday, July 02, 2016

Gorgeous hike. Variety of terrain, beautiful vegetation, fantastic views. Not a difficult one, very few steep places. My 11yr daughter and 7yr son managed to do it (though with few "are we there yet") :)

backpacking
Friday, May 20, 2016

We backpacked through this trail. Amazing views and gorgeous scenery along the way. The first 3.4 miles were mostly uphill but the destination was beautiful.

hiking
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I had a little trouble finding the start of this trail and so posted numbered pictures to help you get going... some snow fields this early... it's steady up hill...

hiking
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One of my favorite, so secluded.

hiking
Sunday, August 31, 2014

We hiked the Granite Chief Trail up from the Squaw Valley Village area. The trailhead is next to the old Olympic Village, now Olympic Village Inn, right by the ropes course area. We kept on going and connected with some other trails (see our uploaded track in the Tracks section) that took us to a narrow trail that traverses over to the top of the Shirley Lake Express lift, from where it was just a short walk to High Camp. We took the aerial tram back down from there (the ride down is free for hikers who walked up). Nice hike with good views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Tahoe in the later part of the hike.

hiking
Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Hiked the Granite chief Trail with rick Hackman and Bill Vance on our way to the summit of Granite chief Mountain. The trail head is across the street from the west end of the Squaw village parking lot (really, it is; look for the sign that says "Trail" on the side of the building where they store the snow plowing equipment.) The trail climbs up Squaw Creek for about three miles to the junction with the PCT. Turn right (northish) to head for Donner Summit or left (southish) towards Granite Chief and Mexico. We went left. The trail follows the upper reaches of Squaw Creek with some great views of Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley's High Camp. At about a mile and a half, there is a pass where the trail drops down into the Middle Fork of the American River. The ridgeline goes northwest to Granite Chief and southeast to Emigrant and Squaw Peaks. The route to the top of the Granite Chief is up about a quarter mile of sandy steep slope. Great views and geocache and summit registers on top. We went down by way of High Camp (the folks at Squaw Valley are nice enough to let you ride the tram down for no charge if you are crazy or ambitious enough to walk up.) The trail forks at the pass. The right hand is the PCT and takes you down to Whiskey Creek. The left fork is the Squaw Valley Connection Trail. A hundred yards or so down this trail, we found and followed a rough trail below the cliff face on Emigrant Peak towards High Camp. The trail goes about half way to the Shirley Lake Road and ski lift...the rest of the way is a scramble without a trail down a steep, rocky slope (not for beginners or the faint of heart...take the connection trail in that case.) Once you hit the road, follow it up to High Camp.

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