Olympic Valley


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"Olympic" isn't just a name for this quiet resort town on the northwest edge of the lake — it's a legacy.

Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Olympic Valley (or Squaw Valley, as it's also commonly known) is a major draw for advanced skiers seeking rugged terrain. The valley boasts dozens of renowned lifts and some of the deepest snow levels on the globe. It's also home to a handful of athlete-friendly resorts, the 3,600-acre Squaw Valley USA being the most popular among them. A recent push for a new mega-resort has garnered its share of supporters and detractors, but whatever its future holds, Olympic Valley remains the skier's capital of Tahoe.

Shirley Canyon Hike

The four-mile hiking trail though Shirley Canyon boasts a colorful display of wildflowers in spring, as well as several waterfalls. A cable car from Squaw Valley USA provides easy access for visitors who prefer to hike one-way instead of round-trip.

Wanderlust Festival

Like Coachella for the chakra, the multi-day Wanderlust Festival stops in Olympic Valley each July, combining world-class yoga, music, food, and wine. Headliners for Wanderlust, now in its fifth year in California, have included Deepak Chopra, Ziggy Marley, and Moby.

Treetop Adventure Park

A kid's paradise at Granlibakken Resort, the Treetop Adventure Park includes an obstacle course of zip lines and bridges ranging from heights of 15 to 50 feet. The "Aerial Adventure Course" is open through Thanksgiving.

Backcountry Skiing

Olympic Valley's major resorts — particularly Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, situated about a mile apart from one another — are gaining buzz for their increased backcountry access, allowing for a more rugged, high-octane ride between the two sets of trails. The route is part of an initiative through the U.S. Forest Service, expanding what's known as "off-piste" skiing and snowboarding.