Section K4 of the Pacific Crest Trail, from Squaw Valley (via the Granite Chief Trail) to Donner Pass on old US Hwy 40. M. and I had wanted to do this section of the PCT for a while, and we recruited S. & V. to go along and help with the car shuttle, which was very nice of them. They had done the Granite Chief Trail before, so could serve as expert guides on that part of the trail. 😉 S. planned to do the whole hike, but she started having foot pains on the way up the ridge, so she and V. ended up doing a loop back down to Squaw Valley. M. and I plugged along the PCT, which loses a lot of elevation before a long climb to Tinker Knob and then traverses the ridges past and around Anderson Peak and then Mt. Lincoln. It crosses over to Roller Pass before descending to Donner Pass on old US Hwy 40. The views along the crest trail in this area are wonderful.

Note to self: A nice walking pole is awaiting retrieval at a certain bend in the track far away from the official Granite Chief Trail. 🙁 That may have to wait until the snow melts next spring.

Photo Album

Track and Profile


15.49 mi (7.09 mi uphill, 6.83 mi downhill, 1.47 mi flat)
3460 ft total ascent (2550 ft descent) – 15.7 % uphill grade, 35.6 % downhill grade
8:56 total time (7:35:12 moving)
0:29:12 pace (2.1 mph average speed, 6.5 mph max speed)
34.2 difficulty, 62.1 effort

Trailhead Directions: The Granite Chief Trail starts from behind the old fire station near the junction of Squaw Valley Road and Chamonix Place (go around the east side of the building). Summertime parking is readily available across the street.