Back to index Granite Chief/Squaw Valley Hike
Trip Date:  11/16/2013

: 10.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2400'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating: Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Castle Peak Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Granite Chief Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 11.929  W 120 14.093     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 89 south from Truckee.   Turn right on Squaw Valley Road.  The parking area is just before the actual Olympic Village area.  Pull into the turnout on the right at the coordinates listed in this section under Start Coordinates.  Trailhead begins here and runs behind a building at the start.  Update:  As of 2016 this pullout is marked as Private Property, so it is better to park across the road in the main parking area.
Hazards of Note:   Finding a parking space at the trailhead if you don't arrive early enough on a weekend.
If you don't head to the right early on the trail, you will find yourself headed to Shirley Lake.
Crowd Factor:   Few other people on this trail out of the valley.  Some people will take this trail and veer left to Shirley Lake, but continuing on to the Pacific Crest Trail to then head up to Granite Chief will leave most of them behind.  
You will most likely run into some through hikers on the PCT, depending upon the time of the year.
General Notes:
The trail out of Squaw Valley up to the Pacific Crest Trail intersection is a lot of uphill, and you will have to look carefully for the trail in certain sections.   There is a rocky section about 2/3 of the way to the PCT that had some spots where the trail seemed to disappear, but a few moments and rock cairns could be spotted indicating where the trail was headed.
The climb to the top of Granite Chief is a rocky scramble with no defined pathway to the summit.
During much of the summer you can hike from Granite Chief down to the tram station at the upper section of Squaw Valley and ride the tram down for no charge.

Alpenglow off the mountain early in the morning. Alpenglow on peak
Emigrant Peak and Granite Chief Peak getting closer along the way. Granite Chief getting closer
Looking back at Olympic Village now far below. Olympic Village below
View of the Upper Camp Tram station from along the Granite Chief trail. Upper camp Tram station
Trail sign along the PCT at the junction with Granite Chief trail. PCT Junction
Trail sign along the PCT at the junction with Granite Chief trail. View toward Mardis Peak
Enjoying the tremendous views of Lake Tahoe and area from near Granite Chief Peak. View toward Tahoe from Peak
Looking down the slope from the top of the Granite Chief lift. View down slope from Peak
A look back at Granite Chief Peak from the base of Emigrant Peak. Granite Chief Peak from near Emigrant
Taking in the Olympic Village sights at the end of the hike. Olympic Village at the end of hike
GPS track of the hike, going counter-clockwise from the Olympic Village. GPS Track of hike