Fun Things to Do Outside in Squaw Valley: Hiking Trails
Posted by: Palisades Tahoe Lodge
Fun Things to Do Outside in Squaw Valley: Epic Hiking Trails
Immerse yourself in the magic of the wilderness on scenic hiking trails through the Squaw Valley region. From easy strolls to half-day hikes and longer expeditions, this pristine mountain landscape is an inspiring destination to go for a stroll outdoors. Follow creeks to sparkling alpine lakes and stumble upon meadows full of wildflowers. Hike to jaw-dropping viewpoints where it seems like you can see forever. If you're looking for fun things to do outside in Squaw Valley, the region's best hiking trails are a fantastic place to start.
Be Prepared for Your Hike in Squaw Valley: Top 10 Essentials
Before you set off into the wilderness, be sure that you're prepared. Always check the weather forecast and let someone know where you're going, even for a short afternoon hike. And don't leave home without these top 10 essentials for summer hiking in Squaw Valley:
1. Sturdy hiking boots or hiking shoes
2. Day pack
3. Plenty of water
4. Healthy snacks
5. Smartphone (with a full charge)
8. Brimmed hat
9. First-aid kit (just in case)
10. Fleece (for chilly evenings)
Waterfalls & Breathtaking Views of Squaw Valley on Shirley Canyon Trail
With beautiful waterfalls, granite boulders, and inspiring views of Squaw Valley, this half-day hike is one of the best you'll find in the region. The 3.6-mile trail can be challenging, steep, and rocky, so wear proper hiking boots. You'll need to be in good shape to hike up the trail. From the trailhead at Squaw Peak Road, the trail leads up to Shirley Lake and High Camp. You'll follow a creek and pass flowing waterfalls and massive granite boulders – and if you time it right, you'll also see meadows blooming with wildflowers. About 2.5 miles up from the trailhead, you'll reach a giant granite slab that you'll shuffle up to reach Shirley Lake. Go for a dip – it's the perfect way to cool off after the hike! Or simply relax in the shade. Keep going up to High Camp for killer views – along with refreshments at Granite Bistro Café. Ride down the Aerial Tram for free! Note: You can also ride UP the Aerial Tram and do this trail in reverse by heading down to Shirley Lake and the trailhead.
Ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp for Alpine Scenery
With wildflower-covered meadows and lush greenery at every turn, Squaw Valley's high alpine region is a beautiful environment to explore in the summer. In the winter, this area is a skier's and snowboarder's paradise – but in the summer, it's a playground for leisurely mountain strolls and challenging hikes. Hop on Squaw Alpine's Aerial Tram to ride up to High Camp, where you can access several scenic trails for hiking and walking. You'll find easy walks along with more strenuous trails so that you can choose the right one for your fitness and skill level – and then you can ride the Aerial Tram back down to Squaw Village. Our favorite trails at High Camp include:
High Camp Loop (1.23 miles; easy to moderate) – Follow the ridge to the top of Mountain Meadow Chairlift, and then walk down through the open bowls (which are the bunny slopes in the winter)
High Camp to Gold Coast (.92 miles, easy to moderate) – Hike up past the Mountain Meadow Chairlift to the Gold Coast Chairlift, where you'll enjoy spectacular views of Lake Tahoe, alpine meadows, and the mountain landscape.
High Camp to Squaw Peak (2 miles, moderate to difficult) – Discover sweeping views of the Granite Chief Wilderness and Squaw Valley from the top of this trail, which runs from High Camp past the Gold Coast Chairlift and up to the Palisades.
Explore Alpine Lakes in a Pine Forest on the Five Lakes Trail
This fantastic trail leads you to five wilderness lakes that are nestled in a dense pine forest and surrounded by granite. In just about an hour, you can reach the five lakes on the five-mile round-trip trail, which climbs 1,000 feet into the Granite Chief Wilderness. It's not just one of the best trails in the Squaw Valley region – it's one of the best trails in California. It's very popular too, so arrive to the trailhead early, especially in the summer months. You'll find the trailhead near Alpine Meadows Ski Area, which is well-marked with signage and a map. It tops out at 7,400 feet at five unspoiled lakes. You'll find plenty of granite slabs to sit on and enjoy the sunshine, plus stunning scenery – make sure that your camera's battery is fully charged!
Choose Your Own Adventure at Squaw Valley Lodge
Chart your own course through an epic mountain landscape at Squaw Valley Lodge, the perfect basecamp for your summertime adventures. Enjoy easy access to all of the trails, parks, and fun things to do outside in Squaw Valley from our hike-in/hike-out hotel. Relax in a condo-style suite that's fully outfitted with everything you need for the ultimate mountain vacation, including a full kitchen or kitchenette, microwave, refrigerator, Wi-Fi, and HDTVs. Suites with fireplaces and balconies are also available – and our location is steps away from the restaurants and shops of Squaw Valley. Where will your path lead to this summer? Choose your own adventure and find your ideal hiking trail when you plan a getaway to Squaw Valley Lodge.