“A ski-resort run with sensational Lake Tahoe views and prevalent vistas.”
— Dylan Taylor
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
- The trail is typically clear from June until October/November.
- Be alert for traffic and machinery when crossing the summer access road and don't continue running along the road.
Although better known for its winter activities, Squaw Valley Ski Resort is home to some beautiful running trails that can be accessed in the warmer months. The Thunder Mountain Trail is a great option that leads from the base of the lifts and ends near High Camp and top of the Aerial Tram. If the tram is operating when you get there, it's possible to ride back down (contact the resort for schedules and fees in advance).
Need to Know
The WildFlower Café makes a nice spot to grab a meal while at High Camp. If the Aerial Tram is closed when you reach the top, either retrace your way or descend on one of the other nearby trails.
Trail runners should be prepared for an 800 ft/mi elevation gain. Keep to the established trails for a rough but fun running experience. Be prepared for occasional snow starting late September. Eat and replenish at the Wildflower Café, then either ride the Tram down or carefully jog your way down Squaw Valley.
The Thunder Mountain Trail begins off of the World Cup Trail just above the Exhibition Chairlift. Start heading up and soon take the singletrack on the right that leads to a creek zone. On the other side of the creek, the grade steepens some and there are a few switchbacks past a small reservoir and scattered shrubs.
After the next road crossing, the trail exits the drainage and keeps paralleling it from above the creek. From there, the Thunder Mountain Trail keeps switchbacking up to the base of a southern bowl where it turns north en route to the Broken Arrow Lift. Be sure to snap photographs as you go, as the trail is jam packed with varieties of views!
Once you reach the lift, head down for a short distance and look for the singletrack to start again as the route turns left at the foot of a large grooved rockface. The Trail Run Project mobile app
may be helpful here to make sure you get pointed the right direction. The rest of the trail leads through rocks, shrubs, and two back-to-back road crossings before ending below the paintball fields at High Camp.
Take some time to enjoy the amenities and remarkable views of Lake Tahoe, KT-22, and Squaw Peak before figuring out your return route from High Camp.
History & Background
You'll start your short trek in historic Olympic Valley, which obtains its name from the memorable 1960 Winter Olympics. As you rise above the trailhead, you'll get an amazing view of the entirety of Olympic Valley.