Olympic Valley, also known as Squaw Valley, is a popular tourist destination located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is situated near Lake Tahoe and is renowned for its world-class ski resorts, beautiful scenery, and outdoor recreation opportunities. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan a memorable trip to Olympic Valley, including how to get there, where to stay, things to do, and more.
Getting to Olympic Valley
The closest major airport to Olympic Valley is the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which is approximately 50 miles away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to get to Olympic Valley. If you are driving from San Francisco, it will take you approximately three and a half hours to get to Olympic Valley via I-80 E.
Where to Stay
Olympic Valley has a variety of lodging options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin or a luxurious ski-in/ski-out resort, you’ll find it in Olympic Valley. Here are some of the best places to stay in Olympic Valley:
The Resort at Squaw Creek: This luxurious resort is located at the base of Squaw Valley Ski Resort and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It features a spa, multiple restaurants, a golf course, and ski-in/ski-out access.
PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn: This charming inn is located in the heart of Olympic Valley and offers easy access to the slopes. It features a cozy lounge with a fireplace, a restaurant, and a spa.
Squaw Valley Lodge: This condo-style hotel is located within walking distance of the slopes and offers spacious accommodations with full kitchens. It also features a pool, hot tubs, and a fitness center.
The Village at Squaw Valley: This pedestrian-friendly village offers a variety of lodging options, including condos, townhomes, and hotels. It also features multiple restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.
Things to Do
Olympic Valley is a year-round destination, offering a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in every season. Here are some of the top things to do in Olympic Valley:
Skiing and Snowboarding: Olympic Valley is home to two world-class ski resorts, Squaw Valley Ski Resort and Alpine Meadows. With over 6,000 skiable acres and 270 trails, there’s something for every level of skier or snowboarder.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, Olympic Valley also offers plenty of opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. There are over 18 miles of groomed trails in Squaw Valley and 25 miles of groomed trails in Tahoe City.
Hiking and Biking: In the summer, Olympic Valley transforms into a hiker’s paradise. There are over 400 miles of trails in the surrounding mountains, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks. You can also rent a bike and explore the many mountain bike trails in the area.
Water Sports: Lake Tahoe is just a short drive from Olympic Valley and offers a variety of water sports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. You can also take a scenic boat tour of the lake or go fishing for trout and salmon.
Golfing: Olympic Valley is home to several world-class golf courses, including the Resort at Squaw Creek Golf Course and the Squaw Valley Golf Course. Both courses offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and challenging holes for golfers of all skill levels.
Spa and Wellness: After a day of skiing or hiking, there’s nothing better than relaxing at a spa. Olympic Valley has several spas that offer a variety of treatments and services, including massages, facials, and yoga classes. The Spa at Squaw Creek and Trilogy Spa are two popular options.
Cultural Activities: Olympic Valley also offers several cultural activities for visitors to enjoy. The Squaw Valley Institute hosts a variety of lectures, performances, and events throughout the year, while the Squaw Valley Museum showcases the history of the area.
Ice Skating: In the winter, you can lace up your skates and hit the ice at the Olympic Ice Pavilion. This outdoor rink offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is open to the public.
Horseback Riding: You can explore the beauty of Olympic Valley on horseback with one of the local horseback riding companies. They offer guided trail rides that take you through the mountains and forests.
Hot Air Ballooning: For a truly unforgettable experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is a great way to see the beauty of the area from a unique perspective.
Where to Eat
Olympic Valley offers a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Here are some of the best places to eat in Olympic Valley:
PlumpJack Cafe: This upscale restaurant offers a seasonal menu of locally-sourced ingredients and an extensive wine list. It is located in the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn.
Fireside Pizza Company: This casual pizza restaurant offers delicious wood-fired pizzas and a variety of appetizers and salads. It is located in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Graham’s at Squaw Valley: This cozy restaurant offers a menu of American and European cuisine, as well as an extensive wine list. It is located in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar: This modern bistro offers a menu of creative dishes made with local ingredients. It also features a full bar with craft cocktails and local beers. It is located in the Olympic House Lodge.
The Auld Dubliner Irish Pub: This popular pub offers a variety of Irish and American pub fare, as well as live music and a wide selection of beers. It is located in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Soupa: This casual eatery offers a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients. It is located in the Olympic House Lodge.
Mamasake Sushi: This sushi restaurant offers a variety of creative sushi rolls, as well as a full bar with sake and cocktails. It is located in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Tips for Visiting
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit to Olympic Valley:
Dress in layers: The weather in Olympic Valley can be unpredictable, especially in the winter. Make sure to dress in layers so you can adjust your clothing as needed.
Rent a car: While it is possible to get around Olympic Valley without a car, having a car will give you more flexibility to explore the surrounding areas.
Purchase lift tickets in advance: If you plan on skiing or snowboarding at Squaw Valley Ski Resort or Alpine Meadows, it’s a good idea to purchase your lift tickets in advance to save time and money.
Book accommodations early: Olympic Valley is a popular destination, especially during the winter months. Book your accommodations early to ensure availability and get the best rates.
Check the weather forecast: Before you head out for the day, check the weather forecast so you can dress appropriately and plan your activities accordingly.
Olympic Valley is a stunning destination that offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in every season. Whether you’re a skier, hiker, golfer, or just looking for a relaxing getaway, there’s something for everyone in Olympic Valley. With its world-class ski resorts, beautiful hiking trails, and delicious dining options, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to visit this mountain paradise.
If you’re planning a trip to Olympic Valley, make sure to take advantage of all the amazing activities and experiences that this destination has to offer. From skiing and snowboarding to hiking and hot air ballooning, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all that Olympic Valley has to offer!