Explore the most popular trails near Olympic Valley with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Challenging but amazing.

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

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
18 days 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
21 days ago

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

Great day hike. Best in July to September when Mule Ear flowers are in bloom. Beautiful views from PCT with running streams until Sept.

Amazing hike. Difficult but very rewarding at High Camp!

Have to do this once a year! Memorable!!

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

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

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

Our group hiked this wonderful trail on 20 August 2018, and I can tell you that the signature waterfalls and pools are completely dry. Other hikers familiar with this trail said water is usually present into June, sometimes July. Even without the waterfalls the hike is spectacular. From Shirley lake it's easier and quicker to continue up to the top then take the free tram down than to climb down to the trailhead.

Great area, pretty funny essentially walking around a ski resort I’ve been to a dozen times in the winter. We continued along the pct and climbed granite chief which is a pretty casual peak to bag. Like others have said, download the all trails trail map or use your gps early on to save yourself some backpedaling. After a mile or so everything is pretty well defined and the trail is tough to lose but at the beginning it seems to go in a half dozen different unmarked directions!

Rather strenuous, but wonderful hike!

1 month ago

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

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

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!).

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.

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!

hiking
1 month ago

I stay at Squaw Valley a lot and this is one of my favorite hikes. it’s definitely tricky to follow in the beginning I’ve done this so many times, as well as going off on all the alternate trails, that I have a good sense of it now but it took a while. Key is to always veer to the right when you get to the first sign that says granite chief trail keep following to the right there’s several other trails that intersect that are not real trails just stick to the right and you’ll find it. all trails map helps a lot. once you get in a little over a mile some people have put yellowish orange paint in certain places to mark where the trail goes over the rocks as well as some cains. but again when in doubt follow towards the right and you’ll pick up the trail.
I encourage you to go beyond Granite chief onto the PCT it’s just incredibly beautiful with amazing views. I always take this left over to High camp so I can take the tram down. note if you do this it can be very tricky/scary to get to high camp there’s two options you can climb up the hill straight after you pass tervis cup trail then take the road down to high camp, adds some extra time. or you can veer to the left to take the very very small not well traveled trail but it will require a little bit of rock climbing and scrambling down. not for the faint of heart and actually potential for injury. but I’ve made it OK each time I’ve done it.
once you are at High camp there is a pool there’s also a restaurant there’s lots of outdoor seating and the tram runs down every 15 minutes it’s free if you hike up and tram down.

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.

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!

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.

this trail was incredible! we were astonished at how many different terrains and environments we encountered on our hike. if you want to walk through meadows, alpine forests, rainforests, deserts, boulder fields, and mountain ridges all in the span of 4 hours, then this is the trail for you.

we hiked up granite chief trail, then hooked up with the pacific crest and walked down to high camp to take the tram down. it was definitely a long hike, especially with the elevation gain, but not overly technical or difficult. if you're okay with a steady uphill and you've got sturdy shoes, it's a really satisfying hike. i would recommend starting out early--we started around 10 and it was already pretty hot (until we got up to the PCT).

a lot of other reviewers mention that the trail is difficult to follow, and in some places i agree--there are a few stretches of boulders where the trail mostly disappears. when in doubt, keep going up the mountain (you'll find the trail again before you get lost) or check the alltrails map. there's great service all the way up and the app's trail is accurate. i would argue that the easiest place to get lost is at the very beginning--if you don't know what to look for, it's very easy to end up on the shirley canyon trail.

overall, this hike was amazing. it had great views and scenery all the way up. if you have enough food and water, you can hike the ridge all the way around the ski basin--the PCT links to a trail that will take you farther up. it's also nice having high camp there to refill water/get food/take the tram (for free!). if i were to recommend one tahoe hike to a visitor, this would be it!

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.

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!

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

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.

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