For the first time, I hiked up the Granite Chief Trail which links Squaw Valley with the Pacific Crest Trail just north of the wilderness. I went on to the top of Granite Chief at 9006 feet, with a clear view in all directions.
The trail starts literally at the right side of the main fire station in Squaw Valley, which is just north of where the main road turns left towards The Village. There is a traditional Granite Chief Wilderness information sign, and a Granite Chief Trail sign, but no destination or mileage sign. The trail climbs past a ropes course and then steeply through private property below houses to a dirt road leading left to a large water tank, then becomes a trail again. The trail alternates steep rocky eroded sections with gentle smooth grades, all the way to the crest. I few seeps and creeklets are still flowing in the lower half of the trail. There are two major side trails, unsigned, that take off the trail in the lower half, not that noticeable going up but quite noticeable and confusing coming down. At the first split coming down, the right fork connects to the Squaw Creek – Shirley Lake trail, so take the left to stay on the main trail. At the second split coming down, I didn’t follow out the left fork, but the right is the main trail. When coming down past the water tank, the trail is not marked but leaves the road to the right not far down.