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The Coldstream Trail is a difficult 6 mile trail at an elevation of 6,200 feet. This trail offers two options for a hike. One could either climb Tinker Knob and return on the same trail, or hike 11 miles to the Granite Chief Trailhead in Squaw Valley (transportation would have to be arranged if planning a one way trip.)

The first 1.5 miles of the trail is a four-wheel drive road which follows the South Fork of Cold Creek. The road ends at the Forest Service boundary. From here the trail begins to climb, crossing the South Fork of Cold Creek and several other creeks. After a steady climb for about 2 miles, the trail again becomes a four-wheel drive road for about 0.5 miles until it reaches an open ridge. At this point the road veers off to the left (east) and the actual trail heads south for 0.25 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) junction. Tinker Knob is a short easy 0.25 mile hike from the junction and offers an impressive 360-degree, panoramic view from an elevation of 8,950 feet.

Hikers taking the trek to Squaw Valley will turn south at the PCT junction and follow the trail along the ridge for 2.5 miles to the Granite Chief Trail junction. (Along the way the trail will pass the Painted Rock Trail.) From the junction, the Granite Chief Trail descends into Squaw Valley.

The parking area and the first 3 miles of the trail are over private property. Hikers are requested to stay on the designated roads or trail and observe the property rights of the landowners.

Directions: From Truckee, Travel west on Hwy. #80 and take the Truckee/Donner State Park Exit. Drive to the 76 Gas Station and follow the paved road for 0.4 miles to where the pavement ends and the road forks. Take the left fork (the gate should be unlocked) and drive 0.1 miles to another fork in the road, take the right fork. There is another gate to drive through 0.4 miles down the road. 3 miles past the gate is a 180 degree bend of the Southern Pacific Railroad. This is the end of the access road and no attempt should be mad to cross the railroad tracks with a vehicle.

Elevation: 6,200 feet

Ending Elevation: 8,600 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Tahoe National Forest, California

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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