Squaw Valley Trail

MODERATE 22 reviews
#47 of 164 trails in

Squaw Valley Trail is a 5.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tahoe City, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and downhill skiing and is best used from December until April.

5.7 miles
1,837 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



trail running




no dogs

18 days ago

Just to clarify, this is a review for the Thunder Mountain Trail, which this app calls the “Squaw Valley Trail.” The entrance for the trail is hard to find, but once you find the trail signs, those are accurate and will lead you the whole way to the top of High Camp. However, the trail was overgrown in many places which is annoying for trail running. Furthermore, the trail doesn’t take a direct route to the summit so although it may seem like it’s going to nearby Squaw Peak, it does go to High Camp. If I were just trying to go to High Camp, I’d recommend just walking the Summer Road.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Waste of time totally! Trails are difficult to fine, almost no signs - we got stopped on the trail at big flow of water impossible to over pass because no bridge .... we are experienced trekker but here we lost patience looking around ; we came back down to the car and left. Ski stations do not focus on trails but definitely more skiers . Thank god there are much other trails around lake tahoe to explore without searching

Saturday, October 08, 2016

After a long four hour drive up from San Francisco, my father and I decided to do a short evening hike before Mount Rose the subsequent morning. We have skied at Squaw often, thus we decided to attempt to climb it in a different light- without any snow.

Turns out there was some snow. Some, of course, simply meaning remnants from last weeks' storms placed on the shadiest spots of the slopes up to Squaw Peak. The earlier storm also rejuvenated, or at least bolstered, one of the creeks heading up (see Photos).

This trail is not well trafficked. It's overgrown at times with washout on the rockier sections. Additionally, there are non-paved (wood shavings and/or fine gravel) roads that offer a safer, more established route to the summit. Thus makes it relatively difficult to navigate, though.

This trail is a steady incline regardless of the route you take. It's not strenuous, but be prepared to climb ~1,700 feet in a little over three miles. I personally recommend hiking poles to help with the rockier, looser sections of this trail.

Additionally, there exists cable cars (operational until 5 P.M on select days) available to take you down from the WildFlower Café. My father and I arrived at the top a little after sunset, and we were generously granted with a private ride down in a cable car. Amazing!

The views are the real pearl of this hike, cable cars or not. The outlook from the WildFlower Café is unrivaled by many others in the area. Lake Tahoe is visible over a stretch of mountains. There's snow at the Wildflower Café despite it being only October.

This is a great hike to test your navigating skills, endurance, and to capture great views. If you have the time (it only takes an hour, granted that you take a cable car down) I heavily recommend hiking it. Another bonus is that the creeks here are active, only if temporarily. Have fun!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The proper name of this trail is the Thunder Mountain Trail and that is how it is marked locally. The trailhead is just west of the Expedition lift. Not sure of the track shown.
The trail is the shortest but steepest route to High Camp

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One of the most magnificent trails I have ever been on. lots of beautiful scenery every step, with plenty of places to stop by for a refreshing dip in pounds. it is for certain a challenge but a rewarding one once finished.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A beautiful place with a lot of beautiful scenery. I came for a day and spent two weeks.

6 days ago

8 days ago

road biking
26 days ago

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10 months ago

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday, June 08, 2015