Hiking Squaw Valley

  • High Alpine Hiking at Squaw Valley
  • Mountain Hiking Holidays
  • Hiking Lake Tahoe
  • Wildflowers overlooking Lake Tahoe
  • Squaw Kids Summer Adventure Camp
Hours of Operation: 
Open

Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp and choose from a number of scenic hiking and walking trails. 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 high alpine environment.

Mountain Hiking Holidays
Featured Hike: Shirley Canyon Trail
  • What you'll see: waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife
  • Distance/Elevation Gain: 3.6 miles / 2,109 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult
  • Trailhead Parking: End of Squaw Peak Road in Olympic Valley, CA

Hikes & Walking Trails from High Camp

Easy to Moderate
  • High Camp Loop (approximately 1.23 miles) This gentle trail begins at High Camp, traverses the ridge to the top of the Mountain Meadow 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 Mountain Meadow chairlift and continue until you reach the Gold Coast lift. This trail offers views of Lake Tahoe, the surrounding mountains and the meadows below. 
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 3.6 miles, 2,109' elevation loss) :: Open from the bottom. 90% dry, snow in higher elevations. 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.

Hikes & Walking Trails from Base Area

Easy to Moderate
  • 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
  • Shirley Canyon Trail (approximately 3.6 miles, 2,109' elevation gain/loss) This is one of Lake Tahoe's best half day hikes. Hike alongside waterfalls and granite boulders and take in breathtaking views of Squaw Valley. To access the trailhead, go to the end of Squaw Peak Road and park on the side of the road. This trail can be difficult to follow, so remember the general rule is to keep the creek on your right and follow it up for about 2.5 miles until you come to giant granite rock slabs. You will cross over this section and continue up to Shirley Lake. There are steep and rocky sections, 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 start their adventure at the bottom of the Exhibition chairlift. 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.  

All hikers who arrive at High Camp can ride the Aerial Tram down during summer operating hours free of charge.

Download Hiking Guide 

2016 Squaw Valley Hiking Map
2016 Squaw Valley Hiking Map

Free Daily Guided Hikes

Closed for Summer 2016

Join one of Squaw Valley's experienced hiking guides for a memorable mountain experience on our scenic 1.5 mile trail around High Camp.

Guided Hike Details
  • Guided hike is 1.5 miles that departs from High Camp
  • Meet at High Camp lobby 11:30am and 2:30pm
  • No reservations necessary
  • All hikes are weather and conditions permitting
  • Guided Hikes Energized by Clif Bar

Call 800-4030-0206 for more information

Hiking Tips 

Here's a few tips to make the most out of your day on the mountain.

  • Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Many of the mountain trails traverse rugged terrain.
  • Squaw’s mountain environment is prone to sudden weather and temperature changes so please carry adequate clothing.
  • Bring plenty of water (never drink directly from a stream) and a snack or energy bar.
  • Always use sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses for protection from the high altitude sun.
  • 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.
  • 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 stay off chairlifts and towers. During our summer maintenance, lifts may be started without warning.
  • Lightning travels at the speed of light. If lightning is in the area, ALL Tram operations will be suspended until lightning clears.
  • No smoking, please. The fire danger in this area is very high during the summer.
We're Dog Friendly

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 AerialTram 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.

Weight: 
80