Hiking Squaw Valley

  • Mountain Hiking Holidays

Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp and choose from a variety of trails (maps available from Guest Services). Climb to the weathered buttresses atop Squaw Peak, visit the historic Watson Monument at Emigrant Peak, or meander through the meadows covered with wildflowers, and enjoy the panoramic views from Squaw Valley's spacious upper mountain.

Hiking Trails

Easy To Moderate
  • Free Guided Hikes (approximately 1.5 miles)
    Squaw Valley's free guided hikes on the 1.5 mile High Camp Interpretive Trail leaves daily from High Camp. Hikes depart High Camp at 11:30am and 2:30pm from June 20-August 30 & May 23-24, 30-31; June 6-7, 13-14. All hikes are weather and conditions permitting. Call 800-4030-0206 for more information.
  • High Camp Loop (approximately 1.23 miles)
    This gentle trail begins at High Camp, traverses the ridge to the top of the Links Chairlift. Hikers then loop down through the upper mountain’s spacious open bowls to High Camp. During the winter this area serves as Squaw Valley’s beginner ski and snowboard slopes. 
  • High Camp to the top of the Gold Coast Chairlift (approximately .92 mile)
    Follow the High Camp Loop trail past the Links chairlift and continue until you reach the Gold Coast lift. This trail offers views of Lake Tahoe, the surrounding mountains and the meadows below. 
  • Trollstigen (approximately .6 mile)
    This gentle trail traverses the base of Olympic Valley from the Resort at Squaw Creek to the Village at Squaw Valley. The trail meanders in and out of the trees just above the valley floor. Enjoy spectacular views of the meadow and surrounding peaks.  
Moderate to Difficult
  • High Camp to the top of the Emigrant Chairlift (approximately 1.38 miles, 680’ elevation gain)
    This trail offers a stunning 360 degree view of Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountains from the top. The historic Watson Monument is located near the top of the chairlift.
  • High Camp to the top of Squaw Peak (approximately 2 miles, 844’ elevation gain)
    Follow the trail from High Camp, past the Gold Coast lift and continue up to the top of the Palisades for a view of the Granite Chief Wilderness and Squaw Valley below.
  • High Camp to Shirley Lake & down Shirley Canyon (approximately 4 miles, 2000' elevation loss)
    This is a great half day hike through a mountain canyon that passes by waterfalls and spectacular granite boulders. Hikers begin on either the Shirley Lake trail (a dirt road) or the Solitude trail (a narrower single track trail). Once the trails meet and you reach Shirley Lake, hikers can either hike back up to High Camp and ride the Aerial Tram down for free or hike down the canyon. Please Note: This trail may sometimes be hard to follow, so remember the general rule is to keep the creek on your left side and follow it down until you arrive at the base of the mountain. There are also some steep sections to negotiate through the granite so hiking boots are strongly recommended.
  • Thunder Mountain Trail (approximately 3.2 miles, 2000' elevation gain/loss)
    The Thunder Mountain Trail is the perfect hike to explore Squaw Valley from the base to High Camp. Hikers can start their adventure at the bottom of the KT-22 lift. From here you will walk towards the very wide bridge, which is where the route begins. The trail is clearly indicated by blue markings. Continue on the trail winding up the mountain. Your final destination will be just below the paintball fields at High Camp. PLEASE NOTE that the Thunder Mountain Trail passes over the summer construction access road. Please be aware of vehicle and heavy machinery traffic. Do not continue on the summer construction access road as it is closed for hiking.  
  • World Cup Trail (approximately .75 miles, 600' elevation gain)
    Use this trail to access the national historic and scenic designated Western States Trail, which stretches from Salt Lake City, Utah to Sacramento, California.  

We invite hikers to explore the posted trails at Squaw Valley. All hikers who arrive at High Camp el. 8200' can ride the Aerial Tram down during summer operating hours free of charge.

Free Guided Hikes

Closed for summer 2015

Join one of Squaw Valley's experienced hiking guides for a memorable mountain experience. You will start from the top of Squaw Valley's Aerial Tram at High Camp (elevation 8,200') to begin your adventure. In addition to spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains, take in the beauty of the meadow wildflowers. Hiking trails abound for all ability levels.

Meeting Time & Location

  • Meet at the top of the Aerial Tram
  • No reservations necessary
  • All hikes are free with purchase of Aerial Tram ticket
Free Guided Hikes with a Naturalist
  • July 12: Hike with a Naturalist - this nature ramble will focus primarily on wildflowers but may also include birds, geology, insects and other natural history elements.
  • August 23: Geology Hike - this easy hike will focus on geologic phenomena visible around High Camp. Hike is co-led by Jim Howle of the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Meeting Time & Location

  • Meet in Tram lobby to catch 10:40am Tram
  • For reservations call or email Will Richardson at 530-587-6895
  • All hikes are free with purchase of Aerial Tram ticket. TINS members receive $10 off Tram tickets on hike dates. 
  • All hikes are easy to moderate and about 1 mile long. Dress appropriately for high alpine hiking and bring binoculars, water, snacks and sunscreen. 

Guided Hikes Energized by Clif Bar

Hike With Care

Squaw Valley offers guests many excellent hiking options for a fun day on the mountain. Following are some tips and a few rules to ensure that you have an enjoyable mountain experience.

  • Hiking not permitted on the summer construction ride. Please be mindful of all posted signage.
  • Please respect Squaw Valley’s beautiful natural environment by observing all signs and staying on designated trails and roads. Do not cut switchbacks. Stay out of any construction or roped off areas.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Many of the mountain trails traverse rugged terrain.
  • Carry along plenty of water (never drink directly from a stream) and a snack or energy bar.
  • Squaw’s mountain environment is prone to sudden weather and temperature changes so please carry adequate clothing.
  • To prevent sunburn always use sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses for protection from the high altitude rays.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 0 from a phone at the base of our lifts or have a Squaw Valley team member contact an EMT.
  • Please do not hike alone. Outdoor adventures are fun for the family, but hiking is only a group activity.
  • While hiking please keep an eye out for Squaw Valley maintenance vehicles and mountain equipment working on resort lifts and facilities.
  • Please stay off chairlifts and towers. During our summer maintenance, lifts may be started without warning.
  • Seek shelter during thunderstorms. Stay off ridge tops and away from tall trees, lift towers, and large rock outcroppings, as they can attract lightning strikes.
  • Lightning travels at the speed of light. If lightning is in the area, ALL Tram operations will be suspended until lightning clears. See our lightning safety guide.
  • No smoking, please. The fire danger in this area is very high during the summer.

You are welcome to bring your dog with you on your hike at Squaw Valley. Please be sure to bring a leash as all dogs must be leashed while riding in the Aerial Tram and inside any buildings or facilities. There is no charge for dogs on the Aerial Tram. Once at High Camp, your dog is welcome on the hiking trails, however, dogs are not permitted at the roller skating rink and pool, nor in any restaurants. We ask that you use your best judgment in leashing them on the trails.

Keeping Things Green

Squaw Valley is devoted to improving erosion control, revegetation (incorporating the use of natural grasses and wildflowers) and the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) for construction projects.

We recognize the importance of stewardship in managing the forest and vegetation that support ecosystems and allow for public recreation opportunities. As you explore the far reaches of Squaw Valley's mountains and valleys you might notice areas that are roped off or that appear to have been freshly seeded or planted. These are examples of efforts to improve the mountain’s natural vegetation, riparian areas and wetlands, all of which contribute positively to water quality. The Valley's forested and revegetated land absorbs rain, refills underground aquifers, cleanses water, slows winter runoff, reduces flooding, and overall, sustains watershed stability and resilience.

Please respect our natural environment and avoid disturbing these areas. Have a great day on the mountain!

Hours of Operation: 
Closed for summer 2015