Explore the most popular hiking 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.

tough climb

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.

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. :)

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.

I was in the Tahoe City area for a couple days and decided to go for a hike. This trail was a great challenge and with beautiful views. The information from prior reviews was helpful in making my way through the granite section. The marks on the rocks were helpful in making my way.

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

This is a great trail. I was under the impression it was not very shady. Not true. Plenty of shade. I parked at the Olympic Valley Inn. There's a restroom there, plenty of parking and it sits right at a trailhead that intersects the Granite Chief Trail. It's a steady climb up and up. Lots of people run this trail. I went to Granite Peak and then to the top of Emigrant before heading to the Squaw tram. Sept 30 is the last day the tram is open so I made a quick decision to do this hike. I was alone and so didn't stop much. I only saw a few people on the trail, including 3 hunters in camouflage. After descending Granite Peak, I accidentally got on the trail back the way I came. Once I figured that out, I turned around and found the right trail. The AllTrails app helps..

If you are looking for a challenging hike with beautiful views and a free tram down, this is it! My only disappointment of the day was that the restaurant was closed. I really wanted a margarita.

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.

2 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.

2 months 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.

2 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.

2 months 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!

3 months 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!

3 months 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!

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