Backpack Granite Chief (2 Days)

Rate this Adventure Lake Tahoe Granite Chief Trail

Added by The Outbound Collective

  • A 14 mile out-and-back trek to the top of Tinker Knob
  • Ascending to an 8,950ft summit with views of the peaks of the Granite Chief Wilderness
  • Duration: 2 days

Heading out on the Granite Chief Trail, you'll start with a challenging 3.5 mile hike to meet up with the Pacific Crest Trail. During this part of the trek, you'll gain approximately 2,000ft. The good news is that most of this hike is forested, so you'll get a little coverage to protect from the sun. The few openings you'll cross offer up great views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding peaks. Once you meet the Pacific Crest Trail, at an elevation of 8,200ft, head north to Tinker Knob. If you're beat from the first 3.5 miles, the good news is that the next 3.5 aren't as bad. The trail turns into a slight grade along the top of the ridge until the one challenge - a downhill to uphill climb. Finished that? Great! Now you hit the saddle via a series of switchbacks, leaving a 0.25 mile ascent to the top! The summit of Tinker Knob sits at 8,950ft and shows you surrounding peaks, the American River Canyon, Donner Lake, and Lake Tahoe.

You can spend the night in the Granite Chief Wilderness, so you can choose to camp before the hitting the summit or after depending on when you're looking to make it up. To get back to your car, it's the same route as the approach. If you want a shorter version of this trip, you can park a shuttle car at the Coldstream trailhead near Donner Memorial State Park, which makes this more of a full day hike at 11 miles.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water
  • Food for 2 days
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



14 Miles


Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by The Outbound Collective

Your Home For Adventure.

More Adventures Nearby

Descend Into Skull Cave of the Lava Beds National Monument

Lake Tahoe / Skull Cave

Once you reach the Lava Beds National Monument stop by the visitors center to pay your fees, grab a map, and empty your bladder.

John Ditomaso
6 Saves

Hike to Drake Lake

Lake Tahoe / Warner Valley Trailhead

The hike starts at the Warner Valley Trailhead and winds up the mountain until you reach the lake.

Josh Currie
6 Saves

Hike to Boiling Springs Lake

Lake Tahoe / Warner Valley Trailhead

The hike to Boiling Springs Lake starts at the Warner Valley Trailhead and is only a 3 mile roundtrip hike.

Josh Currie
8 Saves