Take a Hike
— Shirley Canyon Trail
— Starting Elevation: 6,280 feet
— Ending Elevation: 6,280 feet
— Total Elevation Gain: 1,920 Feet
— Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
— Distance – one way: 5 miles, can vary depending upon route
— Directions from Truckee: Head south on Hwy. 89 towards Squaw Valley USA. Make a right into the valley and follow Squaw Valley Road to the Cable Car Building. Make a right on to Squaw Creek Road and follow through housing area to end of road where Squaw Creek Way picks up. The trail head begins here.
The path remains narrow and considerably rocky throughout the hike and is easy to lose if you forget to look down. There are several river bed paths that cut through the bushes and these can be misleading and take you away from the trail. Begin heading through Shirley Canyon with the tram on your left hand side, to the sound of water in the distance.
This is one of the most beautiful aspects of this hike as you approach a series of falls and pools that provide ideal swimming and picknicking spots. The short hike up to the creek also makes it a key location for a full-moon getaway. The water is still somewhat icy, but refreshing on a warm day.
Continue to follow the trail as it ascends up the mountain and moves away from the creek. You can view Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe as you gain elevation.
Three miles up the trail, the Pacific Crest Trail can be accessed which winds northward towards Tinker’s Knob or Twin Peaks on the southernly route.
The climb and looseness of the trail makes this a difficult task for the novice hiker, and my three-legged dog accompaniment had a difficult time at sections.
On a hot day, it is an ideal shady hike largely surrounded by pines and white firs. Indian Paintbrush and a variety of other wildflowers can also be observed as you climb up the trail.
Over all it’s great for a day’s adventure, not so ideal for a family trip in the great outdoors.
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