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Shirley Canyon Cascades Trail

HARD 793 reviews
#2 of 194 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

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

waterfall

rocky

scramble

snow

The tram is open weekends only through Sept. 29 from 10am-5pm. The last upload is at 5pm. The last download is at 5:30pm.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

I would recommend this trail if you’re looking for a challenge and like rockier terrain. The last 1.5+ miles are a 1300 foot climb. Personally the descent was tougher than the climb up. Recommend a pole, plenty of water and snacks.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

great hike, not easy .

hiking
24 days ago

Spartan race!!!!

hiking
rocky
scramble
29 days ago

Beautiful hike! Lots of elevation. Bottom follows river, beautiful water falls and spots to boulder. Top has bouldering on granite rewarded by Solitude Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Rewarding challenge. Big altitude change to the top of this ski mountain. Wait a day or two from arrival in tahoe to do this hike. Met friends at the top who took the tram up. Awe-inspiring views. Some scrambling. Before the harder territory you are warned by a posted sign to consider going forward. Near the summit a section is paved but steep and less enchanting. Overall terrific hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Pleasant off-season challenge. Hardly anyone else on the trail for this mid-week hike. I had intended to hike up, and take the tram down, but after Labor Day the tram is running only on the weekends, so I had to hike back down. Lost the trail on on the way down in the large granite area midway, but found my way back using "All Trails" app GPS map. Some blisters from the hike down, but worth it for a good workout on a lovely day on a great trail with beautiful views. I plan to go back next year when the tram is running so that I can have a drink and take a dip in the hot-tub that all the other reviewers mentioned!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Beautiful tough trail. Our group had 50 year old, a 60 year old, and a 70 year old. The gondola was not running so we stopped at the warning sign and turned around

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

A fabulous and challenging 3 miles! I’ve hiked this trail many times, and finally brought a hiking pole today. What an improvement! The wild flowers at Shirley Lake and up to high camp were gorgeous.

hiking
1 month ago

I hike regularly, but this was definitely a challenge! Don’t let that stop you, though, as it was beautiful, with a great reward at the end-a High Camp experience without the $49 gondola price tag ;)

hiking
1 month ago

wow. fun and tough trail w lots of sun. have enough water and wide brim hat. the tram ride back was cool way to end. one of the hardest 3 miles ive done. no joke.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked in early September. Challenging but beginners can do it if you pace yourself and have moderate lower body strength. Bring at least a Nalgene per person. We hiked in tennis shoes and got away with it but bring hiking shoes for a safer climb. At the top we hit up the Granite Bistro and pool area.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Loved this trail! Shady areas, beautiful views, waterfalls, lake swimming and wildflowers. We went with family and our 3 girls ages 7, 10 and 12. Challenging hike but well worth it. Bring money for snacks and drinks at High Camp.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Awesome hike lots of rock scrambles. Still some waterfalls. We hiked all the way up to high camp. Took us about 2 hours. The trail is very exposed lots of sun. We had a nice lunch and swam $10pp at high camp. Riding the gondola down is awesome.

hiking
1 month ago

A stunning, but challenging half day hike. The first mile or so follows a creek uphill past several small pools (great for people and dogs to cool off) with shady wooded areas. This part alone is well worth following. Eventually you reach a warning sign that informs you you've gained 700 feet of elevation and still have 1400 feet to go. Definitely don't go beyond here if you don't have ample water. We passed a family in converse with no water who looked miserable and dehydrated. The next section involves clambering / hiking over exposed granite rock for about a mile, while gaining elevation quickly. We saw people of all ages hiking it, so it's definitely possible for anyone with reasonably good fitness, but it's a good workout! From the top of the granite outcrops to the lake is less demanding. The lake makes a great lunch spot and many of the dogs we saw had a cool off in the lake. From here it's a shortish, but fairly challenging hike to High Camp. Well worth doing this last stretch, rather than walking back down. The views of the mountains and Lake Tahoe are stunning, AND there's a restaurant/bar and a pool/hot tub. Best of all, there's a free cable car tram back down to Squaw Valley. Highly recommended, but wear hiking boots and bring snacks and a ton of water!

hiking
off trail
1 month ago

Too long

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great trail. Definitely had some rocky spots. The trail was hard to find sometimes due to walking across some granite faces, but just stopping to look around fixed that no problem. Good incline and a great workout. Would not recommend taking dogs due to the terrain. Would totally go again.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike and great weather today, light wind and no clouds. Hiked with the OVI group. Maybe sharing some photos, sometime. A M A Z I N G . . . ! ! !

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

My oh my was that incredible! The first hour is just beautiful trees and rivers with waterfalls and pools you can and SHOULD swim in. Then it picks up and you start to climb a bit with the beautiful mountains surrounding you and your thinking... hm... is that the mountain I have to get to the top of in order to take the gondola down? The answer is yes, yes that is the mountain that you have to and WILL climb up! The first real testament starts with a red sign, this weens out all the weaker one, sorry no offense but it’s true, this next part is not for the faint of heart and if your already running low on water id said try again another day. It’s nothing like what you’ve done so far, the granite slab really kicks your butt, and calves, but it’s so incredibly worth it. We saw older people, younger people, and dogs make it to the top, just be prepared! Don’t drink the ware and remember, there’s a bar at the top. Last gondola in the summer is 5:30!

hiking
1 month ago

You get it all in this hike: picturesque rushing river, steep terrain, granite slabs, and heart pounding cardio workout. If you’re in shape, you can finish it in under an hour and 45 minutes, but with slower friends it’s taken me upwards of three hours. The free tram ride down is a welcome ending.

hiking
1 month ago

Husband and I hiked this one today (Sat in late August) and saw a few other hikers on the trail but it wasnt crowded. We started at 8:30am and finished a little before 11:00am. Wasnt hot and there is plenty of shade. No snow. The hardest part for me was the granite rock slab that you have to climb right past the 700ft sign, and my Husband thought that the part after the lake was the hardest. I hiked the whole thing with Converse on and had no problems. You do have to have leg strength (which I found out I really don't!) because the climb up is pretty intense. It earns its "hard" rating! Definitely better than spending $40-$50 per person for the tram... yikes! The waterfalls and pools at the beginning were really cool and pretty, and the views from the granite slab were really nice too. Shirley Lake was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but still pretty and plenty of shade. The views at High Camp up top weren't as good as the rest of the trail, so we spent very little time there. The pool is small and the bistro was closed. The tram ride down was cool (and free!) and we just had to walk 2-3 short blocks back to our car. You can park at the trailhead but there's no parking lot; all street parking. REALLY glad we didnt bring the dogs (too strenuous) and didnt see any dogs on the trail.

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