Clockwise, starting at the north: Granite Chief | Alpine Meadows | Barker Pass | Powderhorn | Grayhorse Valley | Talbot | Tevis Cup | Other Trailheads

For some of these trailheads, waypoints are provided on Motion-X (they were created in the Motion-X GPS HD app on my iPad) and Dropbox. Motion-X says that the links expire after six months, though so far none of mine have expired. Since the Dropbox links depend upon my filing hierarchy, they may become inactive.

Some information was updated 2014-08-11.

Granite Chief Trailhead, Granite Chief Trail (15E23)

The Granite Chief Trailhead has a standard Granite Chief Wilderness trailhead sign, and a Granite Chief Trail sign without destination or mileage. This trailhead is at the right hand side of the main fire station in Squaw Valley.

Alpine Meadows Trailhead, Five Lakes Trail (16E13)

The Alpine Meadows Trailhead has a standard GCW trailhead information sign, and a Five Lakes Trail sign. New trail sign as of 2014.

Motion-X |Dropbox

Barker Pass Trailhead, Pacific Crest Trail (2000) and Tahoe Rim Trail

The TRTA sign at Barker Pass, for the northbound Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail.

Powderhorn Trailhead, Powderhorn Trail (15E15)

Powderhorn Trailhead Sign

The Powderhorn Trailhead has a standard GCW trailhead sign, and a trail sign. This trailhead is on the Barker Pass Road, 1.6 miles west of Barker Pass Trailhead. The road segment between Barker Pass Trailhead and this trailhead is deteriorating, and passenger cars must drive carefully to navigate it. There is parking space at the junction of Road 3-4, which eliminates the roughest 0.3 miles. Note: As of 2014-08-09, both the trailhead sign and the trail sign are missing.

Grayhorse Valley Trailhead, Grayhorse Valley Trail (15E11)

This trailhead on road 48-14 has a trailhead sign that only has the standard wilderness map, and a wilderness boundary sign. It does not have a destination or distance sign.

Talbot Trailhead, Picayune Valley Trail (16E10)

This trailhead is marked by a large number of signs. Coming in on the gravel road, there is first an equestrian trailhead on the left, with one hitching rail and a standard trailhead information sign. Just past this is the main trailhead, which is at the entrance to Talbot Campground. The standard trailhead information sign is in better shape than any I’ve seen for the wilderness.

The trail goes past the green gate, immediately crosses Talbot Creek, and continues along a rocky old logging road. Along this road there are two additional directional signs, standard brown with white border road signs:
followed by an information board which is missing most of the signs, where the road becomes a trail, followed by a Granite Chief Wilderness sign at the boundary.

Motion-X | Dropbox

Tevis Cup Trailhead, to Tevis Cup Trail

From the west, this trail starts at a green gate on Forest Service Road 51. Road 51 is not signed for this trailhead from the south; I don’t know if it is signed from the north. The road is not maintained, has become brushy and rough in spots, and seems to be used only by quad vehicles now. At the green gate there is a carsonite post that says WS Trail (“WS” = western states) and had a “Western States Pioneer Trail” logo that I’ve never seen anywhere else, but there is no indication which direction the trail goes. It goes west by following road 51 to the north to the Middle Fork / North Fork saddle and hence along Foresthill Divide, and goes east through the green gate. The trail starts as old, eroded logging roads across private land. Side logging roads are common but not marked. At the first major road junction, the trail goes left, uphill. At the second major road junction, the trail goes right, and the wilderness boundary is about 1/4 mile beyond. The wilderness boundary is marked by a standard Forest Service wilderness boundary sign, which is rapidly deteriorating. There is no standard trailhead sign. Just past the wilderness boundary the road turns into a trail.

Hell Hole Trailhead, Hell Hole “Trail” (15E18)

There is no indication of this trailhead. The trail starts just before the rough 4WD road (14N09A) takes its last steep descent to Grayhorse Creek, as a vague path to the left. I do not know the condition of this road to the west, but all the vehicles I saw on it were 4WD.

Other Trailheads

  • Tahoe City and Ward Creek: The Tahoe Rim Trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail near Twin Peaks and so can be used to access the wilderness. The 64-Acres Park and TRT trailhead at Tahoe City, and the crossing of the TRT at Ward Creek Road can be used.
  • Buckskin: Some older maps show a trailhead at the end of forest road 14-48, but I have been unable to find either the trailhead or the trail in the welter of logging roads.
  • Pacific Crest Trail: The PCT trailheads, at Donner Pass (old Highway 40) or beyond, can be used to access the wilderness. It is about 13 miles from Donner Pass to the northern wilderness boundary.

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