Explore the most popular views 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.

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.

3 days ago

Beautiful hike
We crossed the river at the beginning and stayed on the side to avoid the people as it was pretty crowded

Great views it’s worth it when you get to the top

It was not an easy hike. Some parts were of course but scaling the 300ft wall to get to the other section was a bit of a leg burner. We did get to the lake and we were hiking in 88 degree weather. So with that we were more than happy to jump in the lake. I would recommend this hike waterfalls and beautiful landscaping just bring water it can get warm out there. loved that we did it.

This is an amazing hike. Today was my third time. Two times have been successful to the top, and one was thwarted by snow. My husband, myself and two boys did it three years ago (they were 10 and 7), on a slightly overcast day in July. Temps were probably in the 70's. My husband and I attempted it in late April, and there was still too much snow to get to the top without snowshoes. The hike itself is really not that difficult, but a couple variables will really up the difficulty... On a hot, sunny (no relief from any clouds) day, it's quite difficult to get to the summit. Our group included two very fit grandparents in their mid 60's, two boys now 13 and 10 and a fit 43 yo. The last section past Shirley Lake was tougher than I remember, and if I could do this again, I would not bring my parents beyond the granite slope/boulder portion. If you live in altitude, it may not be an issue. If you live closer to sea level, perhaps take caution to go on a day where it's a bit more overcast, and make sure to bring plenty of water and food. The members of our group declined food, and if i knew what I know now, sandwiches at Shirley lake would have been mandatory!

Beautiful views! The hike will take your breath away!!!

great trail a bit tough. not for weak of heart. last section needs help. slippery steep gravel road

Not as bad as you think. some technical sections but we did it with our 3 year old daughter. Took it slow plenty of water to play in. 2000 feet vertical to get to the top, but free ride down, and only 10 bucks to swim in the pool.

9 days ago

July 2018: I wish I had listened to the reviews! The hike starts in beautiful terrain but beware, this Granite Chief Trail is very very poorly marked. There’s a sign at the beginning, and then no markers whatsoever. This isn’t a problem in the wooded areas, where you can lose and find the trail in a few minutes, but it’s really problematic when you are scrambling over granite boulders, which start about 45 minutes in. I gave up and crossed over to the Shirley Lake Canyon trail. I’m a very experienced hiker and had never been in this area before, and this was incredibly frustrating. I don’t recommend this trail unless you are with someone familiar with it.

Everything you could want in a hike. Woods, waterfalls, pools, lots of dogs, wildflowers, a swimming hole, and extraordinary vistas. Definitely worth continuing to High Camp and taking the gondola down. Beautiful!

One of my favorite hikes. It’s challenging as much as it is breathtaking. Every section of the hike brings something new whether it be hiking through a flat, forested area or climbing rocks alongside a series of cascading waterfalls or scaling a huge granite side of a mountain. A lot of people underestimate this hike. Be prepared for it to take at least 3 hours and bring plenty of water and snacks.

As others have suggested, instead of turning around at the lake we continued the final mile or so to High Camp at the top. Be prepared if you intend to do this as it does add about 800 feet in additional elevation gain to the climb. Trail was steep and technical, but well-marked, with plenty of good views. The first mile or so is more wooded and follows the stream rather closely, with plenty of waterfalls and pools to enjoy. The terrain gets rockier and steeper in the second leg, and becomes more exposed- make sure you have plenty of water and take frequent breaks. The lake is a good spot to stop for a while. The final stretch up to High Camp is unpaved road, which means loose gravel and steep inclines, and it's completely exposed to sun and wind. It's a bit of a bear to get up but is entirely worth the views of lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. There are all manner of activities in High Camp, and the gondola ride back down is indeed free. It deposits you right in the village, so you can go straight from the top of the ridge to enjoying a meal with friends in about ten minutes. Had a fantastic time on this trail, it's tough but rewarding.

Incredible hike through treed areas, along a creek, up a rock face, and past lots of wildflowers. Strenuous because of the scrambling and steepness (at times) but there are lots of kids on the trail including ours that did great. Continued past beautiful Lake Shirley to High Camp, stopping for some snow ball play. Swam at the pool and played then took the tram back down.

Breathtaking! Brilliant wildflowers are still in bloom!

This is a great hike, just please use caution when reading different descriptions about it being easy. The hike is awesome but it is not easy. There is a lot of. climbing,/scrambling over rocks and plenty of times where you put your hands down. It is not long but it is a fairly continuous climb- sometimes steep. My GPS may have been off (no surprise) but it is also longer than 2.2 miles to the lake. I highly recommend continuing up from the lake (on the left side) to High Camp. This is a destination in itself a top Squaw Valley ski resort and where the aerial tram from the bottom comes to. The key here is that the tram is free for the ride down. If you plan to do this and it is not mid summer, make sure the tram is open when you go. I think this route is a lot more fun than hiking down all of the rocks you just climbed up.

14 days ago

Excellent trail. One of the best in the area- hike to the top and take the gondola down!

on Shirley Canyon

17 days ago

Great trail, beautiful views, and gorgeous waterfalls. We had our 3 kids and our dog and all did well. Definitely family friendly.

Beautiful hike with different sceneries from waterfalls, rivers, pond, wild flowers and forest. The trail has some shade on and off. Trail is marked. I would say this hike is moderate to difficult with gradual elevation. We hiked all the way to base camp and took the tram down for free. I would highly recommend this hike!

on Granite Chief Trail

17 days ago

sadly when i used this app to find directions it took me 1.5 miles away from the trail and ended up in a neighborhood. then reset my location again ,4x's then it took me back..... i finally had to ask someone snd they pointed me in the right direction, saw the sign for the trail and then nothing. i kept watching the app and because i found no other signs to keep me on trail and the app already took me wrong, i turned back and found shirley canyon trail....it was great. wish i could have found this trail

This hike is definitely hard but well worth the trip! This trail has everything; beautiful wild flowers, waterfalls, trees, lake and views with a great work out! Make it to the top and enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant and swim in the beautiful pool if you want to then ride the Gondola back down for free.

Beautiful views, crystal clear steams and Shirley Lake is just gorgeous. Hike is manageable and well marked. Last mile was a bit tough. Tram back was a highlight. Would do again!

Amazing hike that surprises you with a new waterfall every 5 minutes. Rated as hard, but I would consider it easy to moderate. One of the best hikes in Tahoe!

So beautiful! We hiked this one yesterday. The weather couldn't have been more perfect at around 82 degrees. Treking poles were really helpful, and the tram down was an amazing end to the day. We would 100% do this one again

Did round trip in steady three hours. Good workout.

Very rewarding hike, lots of views and great water falls. The lake was nothing to special in my opinion. The trek to the lake is not to challenging, I’m not a crazy good hiker and I had plenty of energy to get to high camp. The trail to high camp was closed but we went up anyways, it was a challenge traversing through the snow. Do not attempt to get to high camp if not a confident hiker or experienced with the trail. If you get to high camp the Tram is free to take down.

This is a fantastic hike, challenging, beautiful scenery, well worth the investment. The Hike to the Lake is a moderate to hard level Hike. The Hike from the Lake to the top of the Ridge is steep and difficult as there was snow on the ground. We made it to the top in 3 1/2 hours with a 20 minute stop at the Lake. For Hiking enthusiast this is a must-do and one you will refer to others emphatically. Bring lots of water, you’ll need it.

Amazing! No snow, beautiful, warm, sunny day. So many waterfalls and places to sit on the rock slabs and just take in the warm stone and listen to the water raging. Totally dog friendly, many off lead. The incline over rocks can be a bit tough in places, but not too hard. The tram is shut down for repairs; the sign said it will be operational again October 1, 2018. Will definitely go back!

2 months ago

April 23, 2018: No trail blazes at all. Had to use All Trails app constantly to stay on the trail. Very mixed conditions, some snow coverage, then sand and rock. Unfortunately I had to turn around about halfway up the trail, when I came to a creek that had to be crossed. A snow bank on my side of the creek was so tall (at least 6 feet) that I could get down and to the other side. All footprints in the snow stopped there, none continued at the other side of the creek. I looked for other spots along the creek to cross, but the area is too grown in. I talked to other hikers on the way down, who confirmed that that's as far as one can go at the moment. Wish I had known. It was still a beautiful day and nice elevation gain and great view of the ski resort and tram the whole time.

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.

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