Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail

HARD 418 reviews
#3 of 188 trails in

Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail is a 3 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Olympic Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,925 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

rocky

scramble

Some users reported that the tram was closed for winter as of Oct. 1

1 month ago

A challenging hike if you're not accustomed to altitude. About 8k ft at top with nearly 2k ft elevation gain from start to finish. bring lots of water and snacks. It's beautiful with varied terrain and a tram ride back down.

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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. :)

hiking
3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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

3 months ago

Challenging but amazing.

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

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
4 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
4 months ago

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

4 months ago

Amazing hike. Difficult but very rewarding at High Camp!

4 months ago

Have to do this once a year! Memorable!!

4 months ago

Wonderful hike!! If you start at the bottom, hike up to the summit and ride the Tram down for free!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Has everything you could want. Panoramic views, scrambling up rock slabs, and a lake to swim in.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Really beautiful hike that offer some forest areas and open sunny terrain too. We definitely got more sun than shade during the hike so make sure to wear sunscreen and bring lots of water. The hiking wasn’t difficult, just very strenuous. Make sure to keep an eye open for the markings spray-painted on the rocks. Not super easy to keep the trail in the beginning of the hike, especially in the Summer when the river isn’t flowing at all. The lake was a nice spot to take a break and go for a swim. It’s at about 3/4 of the way up so not too much more to reach the top. The tram is free to ride back down. It took us about 3 hours to get to the top and that’s with hanging out at the lake for about 20 minutes and a little Cliff Bar break right before. Would def recommend this hike! Looking forward to doing it again.

hiking
5 months ago

Rather strenuous, but wonderful hike!

5 months ago

We had a blast. Quite strenuous at the granite part but definitely worth it!! The team ride down was the best motivation!!

hiking
5 months ago

A great hike, definitely on the challenging side. Great work out, lake is refreshing and High Camp is awesome

5 months ago

Beautiful hike. The first third of it feels deceivingly easy because of the waterfalls. The next third is a grueling dry climb - be sure to have plenty of water. You are rewarded with reaching Shirley lake - be ready to swim, you will be tempted. The last third is steady uphill with easier terrain - mostly dirt road. Great hike for strong dogs. (If your dog is an English Bulldog- this hike is not a good idea for your four-legged friend!).

hiking
5 months ago

Great walking and climbing combo at the end you can get back to the city in a Tram where they have a pool and restaurant.

5 months ago

Great trail! Beautiful creeks and a lake to cool off in, and if you make it to the top of squaw you can use the pool and have lunch! Hike back down or take the gondola for free!

5 months ago

Good tuff hike. Mix of single track , bouldering and scrambling. Then you wand up at High Camp for a dip in the pool, and tram ride back down. Better bring it.

5 months ago

HARD! steep and a lot of just sheer buldering. But it isawesome to work your way up the forest line.
Saw a lot of people not prepared for the length and the incline: bring water and electrolights because you will need them!

hiking
5 months ago

Loved every minute of this hike. Nice variety of scenery... Well marked rocks help guide your way up!!! Perfect weather for a little plunge in Shirley Lake and a free tram ride down from high camp.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike! Made it to Shirley lake then continued on to High Camp. So many gorgeous wildflowers. It's not easy - Lots of rock scrambling. further up as you head higher in elevation it can be tough but a fantastic hike. I met 71 year old jack and his (it's really his neighbor's) dog Lucy who do this hike everyday. He's a badass and he lead me from just past the halfway point to the top.

6 months ago

My family did the hike this morning. Started at the bottom, and hiked to the lake where the kids enjoyed the lake. Trail can be challenging, but take your time! We then hiked to the top, and had some drinks at the pool. Caught the gondola back down. If you hike up, the gondola down is free. It's $10 to swim at the pool up top. Looked like a cool place to hang, but we traveled back down. Definitely gets your heart pumping!

6 months ago

So hard!!! A lot of climbing straight up rocks. But GORGEOUS and a great workout. Highly recommend.

hiking
6 months ago

The reviews were confusing before I went. That's because there are two ways to get to the lake. Many ride the gondola to High Camp, which allows you to hike to Lake Shirley, w young children. If you do the actual climb from the bottom, (CCC alumni here) it is tough. Do not attempt if you are not in shape.
If you make it to Lake Shirley, you may as well keep going up to High Camp. It's 3.82 miles to High Camp from the trailhead at the bottom with close of an 2,000 elevation gain. Caught the last gondola ride before close. The gondola is dog friendly, Which was a huge plus. Definitely will do this again in the fall.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike
We crossed the river at the beginning and stayed on the side to avoid the people as it was pretty crowded

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