Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail

HARD 318 reviews
#3 of 145 trails in

Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail is a 4.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back 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
4.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1374 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

rocky

scramble

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful canyon. We have enjoyed hiking here for many years, sometimes on the trail, and in the dry season straight up the creek in sections. The first hike to high camp with the return cable car ride was a good day spent with my children, the youngest was eight. It is a good time spent even if you just play somewhere along the way. The unfortunate thing about hiking here in the last couple of years is how many dog poop bags owners leave behind. I love hiking here with my dog too, and I encourage all dog owners to keep it clean so our pups continue to be welcomed.

hiking
4 months ago

Great autumn hike up to the lake. We did this in September. From the lake to the top is mostly boring but steep fire roads. We ended up hiking down the ski slopes.

nature trips
6 months ago

hike was lit AF

6 months ago

Awesome hike!! Beautiful views. Challenging and worth every step.

hiking
7 months ago

Remember the "free" tram isn't always running: can shut down for the day unanounnced anytime.

hiking
7 months ago

Long hike but beautiful

7 months ago

Great hike with gorgeous views! Not for those who are afraid of heights

7 months ago

Did this hike Labor Day weekend. Hiked up to High Camp and took tram down. Decent amount of complaining from my 11 year old but he did it. Beautiful.

7 months ago

I completed this hike in July. It's steep, but very pretty. Take the tram from the top of Squaw to get down for free. You must hike up from Shirley lake to get to it. Very fulfilling day!

hiking
8 months ago

Challenging hike but so worth it! The views, waterfalls, wild flowers still in bloom the higher you get! Parts of hike from trailhead to Shirley Lake are on granite rock! Shirley Lake is so serene. We had lunch there. Hike out of Shirley Lake easy but once you reach service road it's steep to high camp. Tram was under maintenance so we had 3 mile hike down to Valley but enjoyed every step! Trail is marked well.

hiking
8 months ago

Super hike!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Keep an eye on the markers because it's easy to get off track, but pretty simple to find again. Plenty of water for the dogs along the way, and everyone was fine with no leash. Gets a little steep on the granite but the views are unbelievable.

8 months ago

[9-9-17] Lots of varied terrain and landscapes packed into 4 miles - great hike for those staying in the Olympic Village area as you can walk from your accommodations to the trailhead.

Tips:

1) Pay attention to the pink, blue and black spray paint marks to keep you on the trail.

2) Make sure you wear shoes with good traction and ankle support as you're navigating a few sections with rocks.

3) At the fork for Solitude Trail and Shirley Canyon Trail, we chose the Shirley Canyon Trail. After climbing a steeply ascending fire/service road, we reached the High Camp area. Apparently the Solitude Trail is a harder way to get to High Camp.

4) Check if the cafe and tram are open/operating -
a sign at the trailhead indicated the summer season is coming to a close.

8 months ago

Labor Day was pretty crowded but not awful. Took my 11 and 13 year olds and they did a ton of complaining...but now they feel accomplished and psyched to have done this hike. We didn't do the out and back. We hiked from the lake up to High Camp and took the tram down. The hike from the lake to High Camp was steep but mainly just a dirt trail. Amazing views. Love this hike. Bring more water than you think you'll need.

8 months ago

This was such an awesome trail! Highly recommended!

8 months ago

Great hike, take a swim in the lake and then make the push for high camp, great views and overall a great time

hiking
8 months ago

There is a pool and bar at the top at high camp!!! Wish we would've known. Bar closes at 3:30 so get there earlier if you want some food. We hiked Shirley trail then after passing the lake you come to a fork (Solitude trail to the left and Shirley to the right), and we took the Solitude trail to the top. Amazing views and amazing hike. Definitely a workout, but you can go slow and steady and make it to the top.

8 months ago

Awesome hike along the river, waterfalls along the way. The last mile is tough as it's along a fire road and steep. The views are worth the trek up to high camp. One of the best hikes I have done!!

9 months ago

Great hike. You can take as long as you want going up so even less experienced hikers can handle it just fine. Take the tram down but remember that the tram doesn't start running down until after 11am. Thus if you do an early morning hike you'll have to walk back or wait.

9 months ago

we didn't quite make it to high camp because we didn't have enough time. to take the tram back. 6.5 miles in and back.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike with the dog, Lots of water for her to play and drink. Best part was the free tram ride down as a reward to getting to the top!

hiking
9 months ago

The wettest winter in years left the waterfalls gushing and the wildflowers in full bloom in mid-August for a perfect day. This assumes you are in shape for the final uphill grind from beautiful Shirley Lakes. Watch for the pink/blue spray paint on rocks to stay on the best track, though it's pretty hard to get very far off trail with the stream on one side and the cliffs on the other. We planned lunch at High Camp. After 30 minutes seated in the crowded restaurant, we noticed NO ONE had either food or beverages, and assumed the restaurant was on hold for the day. The free ride down could be a thrill for those not used to such dramatic (vertigo) views.

9 months ago

Beautiful trail with lots of variety in terrain. Hard to follow trail at some points. Just stay close to the creek.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike. Not too long but some good elevation. Water flows were spectacular. All along the trail are spray paint lines indicating direction which was helpful in a few wide open spots.

9 months ago

Wow! Hard , but nice internal sierra views of close in forest and distant peaks. Lots of elevation gain 2,100+ . The best part of the trail is the first half with nice views of streams and waterfalls and granite slabs and boulders. Up to Shirley lake is for me where the trail gets harder and less scenic for a bit as you travel some of squaws ski runs and steep man made switchbacks to get you to the top. The reward for the last bit of difficulty is a free tram ride down courtesy of Squaw that descends into squaw village. The high mountain camp is beautiful as you wait for the tram lots of wild alpine flowers. There is a pool and hot top at the top too and you can call Squaw for hours and access I believe it closes at 4pm. The last tram ride down the mountain in August 2017 was 5pm. Otherwise it's a long walk back to the trail head.

hiking
9 months ago

A very beautiful and strenuous hike. I recommend getting there early to find parking near the trailhead, because the trail can get crowded. It can be easy to get off trail, so download the map and enable GPS if possible (stay close to the water if you wing it). Once you get the lake, you have the option to keep going up to get to high camp and take the tram down - the stretch from the lake to high camp is challenging.

hiking
9 months ago

Great little hike. The bouldering definitely isn't easy so I wouldn't recommend I experienced or young hikers, although my 10 year old had no problems. (However, he's been hiking since he was 3). Beautiful scenery and my puggle made it too.

hiking
9 months ago

Challenging with 5 year old boy. 9 year old boy and a dog.

hiking
9 months ago

We hiked up to the lake and back. Having done this hike a couple times in the past, this trail never disappoints. There were plenty of people out on this Saturday morning, young and old. I was impressed! This is definitely a hard trail since quite a bit of the trail is granite boulders, hopping from rock to rock, using hands to climb. Best to wear good hiking shoes. Lovely views at the top, waterfalls, and mixture of forest and granite.

9 months ago

Awesome trail, about a 2 hour hike for us. Enjoyed the rocky terrain and the snow!! Definitely will do this again.

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