A day hike in the majestic Squaw Valley affords some of the best hiking I have experienced. The mountains that ring Olympic Village, elevation 6,200’, offer something for hikers of all skill levels. You can climb all the way to High Camp, elevation 8,200’, or take the cable car up to High Camp and walk amid fields of wildflowers. You can scramble along through granite boulders, dense forests and soft paths all the way to the Pacific Crest Trail, or just meander through the village itself.
Moderate to difficult trails can be found throughout Squaw ski resort to various chair lifts, or on the north side of Olympic Village, you can hike through Shirley Canyon up to Shirley Lake. You can also get to Shirley Lake from High Camp. The High Camp to Shirley Lake option (four miles) includes spectacular waterfalls, as does walking up the main ski road, about half way to High Camp (about 1.6 miles).
Hiking at that altitude in Squaw Valley’s rugged terrain requires serious consideration. Weather and water are very important to take into account: always carry plenty of water, and be mindful of changing weather conditions. I use a water belt and/or a camelback for short mountain hikes. Squaw Valley gets quite hot—yesterday’s temperature was 87 degrees at noon. I use lots of sunscreen, and wear hiking boots and a white baseball hat (dark colors absorb heat). Dehydration and heat stroke are serious conditions so always be prepared. Hiking alone is not a good idea. The mountain trails intersect at many points and it is very easy to get lost, even for seasoned hikers. That said, Squaw is my all-time favorite hiking spot and you will be treated to phenomenal views of Lake Tahoe, snowy peaks, granite formations, waterfalls and streams, abundant wildlife and wildflower displays in a rainbow of colors.
Please note these tips from Squaw Valley USA:
PLEASE HIKE WITH CARE!
Squaw Valley USA offers friends and families 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.
• Please respect Squaw Valley USA’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.
• Squaw Valley USA welcomes dogs in the Cable Car and on the hiking trails. Leashes required.
• 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.
• No smoking, please. The fire danger in this area is very high during the summer.