WHERE TO STAY: Tucked quietly just outside of downtown Truckee, Cedar House Sport Hotel is the perfect blend of European-inspired alpine charm and rugged elegance, with gorgeous architecture and a Zen, modern interior (also dog-friendly). Those looking for something on the river should check out River Ranch Lodge. Located right on the bank of the Truckee River, the historic lodge has 19 rooms and a dining room cantilevered over the river. Want to be right on Lake Tahoe? Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino makes a great destination. The 4-diamond resort has an amazing lakeside setting and even a private boat for guests.
Take the Squaw Valley Aerial Tram to High Camp ($39) and pick up a Hiking Guide trail map. Start on the High Camp Loop trail going toward Big Blue Express. Follow the signs toward the Pacific Crest Trail, Emigrant Peak Road, and Granite Chief Trail. Wind up to the Shirley Lake Express and then Gold Coast Express. From Gold Coast, it’s a steep climb up to the ridge, marked by the stone monument. Descend the back of the ridge. Follow the wooden signs to Granite Chief, going through some thick brush. When you reach the last wooden sign (which is a bit dilapidated) marked “Granite Chief” and “Squaw Valley,” turn right and then immediately left, and left again going past the “Closed Area” sign and wooden fence (Don’t go past the High Voltage ski run sign). This is the final sandy ascent to the peak. The first tram up is at 10:40 a.m. and the last one down is at 5:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays). Dog-friendly!