ABOUT BEAR VALLEY

7200 feet. Pop. 150

Resting high and majestically on Ebbetts Pass in the heart of the Stanislaus National Forest, one of America’s most pristine, sits Bear Valley California.

This high Sierra community is a four season destination for world-class recreation and rarefied scenic beauty.
Residing in California’s least populated county, Alpine, and ideally situated between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite!

As a master planned community, the charm of today’s Bear Valley is protected for future generations.
There are infinite possibilities for adventure.

….and bears!

Bear Valley is the place for people who deeply value the beauty of untouched pristine surroundings, the power of nature in all its glory and the awe it inspires.

gwins
snow guns
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lake house

Who else is talking about Bear Valley?

Getting to Bear Valley

Bear Valley is situated in Alpine County off Highway 4. 

 In summer Highway 4 winds over the scenic Ebbetts Pass taking visitors to Markleeville and towards Nevada. In winter, however, Ebbetts pass is closed just passed Bear Valley at Lake Alpine.

2 Hours from Stockton
3 Hours from the South Bay
2.5 Hours from Sacramento

You will pass through some beautiful areas on your way. Angels Camp with its’ green rolling hills dotted with live oak, is the gateway to the Sierra. Wine tasting and boutique stores are part of the draw in the historic town of Murphys. Further East and a little higher in altitude, Arnold offers the last chance for a large grocery store, recreational equipment and 24 hour gas. The one time toll station of Dorrington has the locals favorite the Lube Room and the nearby Camp Connell Beer Gardens.

Road conditions are generally very good, although chains are required to be carried in winter. Keep an eye on the CalTrans website for current conditions.

Once you arrive in Bear Valley we have plenty of parking! Keep an eye on the signs in Winter as each parking lot gets plowed on specific days. 

Dining in Bear Valley Village

Open Thursday – Monday.

Skyhigh pizza is a local staple! Low key surroundings, beer on tap, fresh made pizza and live music on busy weekends.
Open from 4:30pm till late.

Kitchen closes at 8pm.

  

Elevated Dining
open Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm.

Reservations recommended. They get busy on holiday weekends and also close for private events so always check!

Chef selected, seasonal and sumptuous food in beautiful creek side surroundings.

  

Open Tuesday – Saturday 4:30pm to 9pm.

Located just off the Cathedral lounge in the village lodge, the Grizzly lounge offers pub food and beer on tap. Enjoy next to the open fire in the Cathedral lounge or in the coziness of the bar itself.

  

Smokin’ Barrel is back!

Open from 6am for specialty coffee, breakfast sandwiches and smoked tri tip sandwiches and chilies for lunch. Keep an eye out for specials and fresh baked cornbread!

  

Open 8am – 5pm weekdays and 6pm weekends.

A one stop shop for basic supplies. They have a good selection of personal and health items, plus staples, beer and wine, and swag. The Deli kitchen serves fresh made hot sandwiches, soups and specials – usually open for lunch and busy breakfasts.

  

Open daily in the winter season from 11am – 4pm.

The warming hut in the meadow at the Bear Valley Cross Country Center is a unique place to spend an afternoon, Ski, snowshoe or walk half a mile and have a freshly bbq’d burger and a glass of wine and watch the passing skiers. Always a small but great group of people!

  

A little history

Image of Bear Valley History
Reba Blood, daughter of Harvey Blood and Elizabeth Gardner, for whom Mt. Reba and the ski area are named.

Bear Valley was first named Grizzly Bear Valley for the abundance of grizzlies in the vicinity.  In the early 1860s Harvey S. Blood of Angels Camp patented the land as a summer stock range.  A prominent citizen of Calaveras and Alpine counties, he served as an Assemblyman to the State Legislature in the 1890s, and was a long-time owner of the historic Murphys Hotel.

In 1862, after Blood and Jonathan C. Curtis took over the Big Tree-Carson Valley Turnpike, they completed the section from Grizzly Bear Valley to Hermit Valley, maintaining the road and establishing tollgates at Cottage Springs, Hermit Valley, Ebbetts Pass, and Silver Mountain City.

A tollgate was also established at Bear Valley, and Blood’s Station became a well-known way station and landmark.  Mt. Reba and the Mt. Reba Ski Area (now Bear Valley Mountain Resort) were named for Reba, the daughter of Harvey Blood and Elizabeth Gardner.  The toll road became a public thoroughfare in 1910 and was incorporated into the State Highway System.

In 1952, the Orvis family purchased Blood’s Meadow, bringing their cattle up from the San Joaquin Valley to graze in the summer. Their son Bruce Orvis later acquired 400 additional acres of land to the north. He was instrumental in the initial development of the downhill ski area and Bear Valley Village, as well as a new highway from Camp Connell to Bear Valley.  The downhill ski area opened in the winter of 1967/68 where it quickly became the place to be!

 

 

Surrounding areas

Bear  Valley is just the high point in a region known for its natural beauty, rich gold rush history, premier outdoor recreation and an active passionate creative community.

Gold country starts in Angels Camp – where highways 4 and 49 converge. Home of Mark Twain’s famous jumping frogs, Angels camp is now a bustling community with a cute downtown area. Golf resorts, restaurants and easy access to the valley make Angels Camp an easy destination. Just an hour drive from Bear Valley! (Where else can you make first chair and catch some powder turns in the morning and spend the afternoon golfing and wine tasting?)

In between Angels Camp and Murphys, just a short detour off Parrotts Ferry Road is the unique calcium caves hollowed through by Coyote Creek. A big favorite of locals, a short hike takes you down to cool waters.

Driving a little farther down Parrotts Ferry takes you over the bridge crossing New Melones Reservoir. Great fishing and boating here – or rent a houseboat for a fun family weekend. Carry on until you reach Columbia State Park – a living gold rush town complete with stage coaches and gold panning activities.

Vineyards overlook New Melones in Vallecito

As you head back up East on highway 4, you will reach the town of Murphys. One of the main wine centers in the Sierra Foothills appellation, it was once a well known mining camp, now famous for its adorable old Main street and over 25 walkable tasting rooms. Rolling hills are speckled with vines and visitors to the area enjoy annual events such as Murphys Irish Days for St Patricks, Grape Stomp and Dia De Meurtos. (what better place to celebrate the Day of the Dead than in Calaveras – skull county!). Summer evenings are filled with music in the creek lined park, Shakespeare in the vines at Brice Station and farmers markets.

A ‘must see’ is Big Trees state park – home of the giant sequoia. With hikes for the adventurer as well as an accessible trail leading to one of the larger groves, this is a place for the whole family to enjoy.

The first town in the ‘snowline’ is Arnold. At 4000 feet, this is a great place to stop and eat or acclimatize to elevation if needed. Surprisingly, this unassuming mountain town has a number of excellent eating places – Serafinas Italian kitchen and Dogwood restaurant are on the higher end, with several very popular breakfast diners, coffee hangouts and the family favorite after a long day skiing – Giant burger! (the long lines are totally worth it!)

Dorrington/ Camp Connell are tiny towns but each offers a great place to stop. The Lube Room, once a car repair place, now a hot spot for live music, good food and great vibes is in Dorrington and Camp Connell General store has a summer beer garden and local bands.