Placer County High Point Trip Report

Granite Chief (9,006 ft)

Date: September 29, 2001
Author: Peter Maurer

A gorgeous autumn day, just perfect for a hike! Crisp air, warm sun, and a slight breeze blowing. We had some difficulty finding the trail head, as it is hidden behind the fire station. But if you stand in front of the station, walk around to the right (east) side and you'll find a sign. From there the directions in Gary Suttle's guidebook are accurate, except that some of the mileage signs are gone.

It's a steady climb up out of Squaw Valley, through Jeffery and White Pine, on up into fir and some of the biggest Western Hemlock I've ever seen. The trail passes through large patches of thimbleberries (unfortunately the season was past) and open fields of mules ear. The trail takes you away from all of the development of Squaw Valley (and a lot of it is going on!) so with the exception of the view of the gondola and big terminal at the top, it's still a great hike through a natural setting.

Several miles into the hike the trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail, which rolls along in front of the face of Granite Chief. At the saddle, a use trail skirts a ski area fence and then a steep, sandy trudge up to the summit.

Clear and breezy at the top, with great views of Lake Tahoe and the mountains surrounding it, including County highpoints Mt Rose (Washoe), Freel Peak (El Dorado), and East Peak (Douglas). To the north the northern Sierra Nevada rolls away with the Sierra Buttes marking the skyline. Way off to the west, barely visible through the haze were the Sutter Buttes (Sutter County) and Snow Mountain in the Coast Range.