WHAT TO DO IN BEAR VALLEY

WINTER IN BEAR VALLEY 

 

Winter is where it’s at. Crisp white mornings. Bluebird days. Incredible sunsets. Incoming clouds leading to the promise of a formidable storm that will bring the next round of powder, gorgeous

sunrise and….Repeat. It can be challenging at times, exhilarating at others – but never boring!

 Home owners, vacationers and day trippers come to take advantage of the epic skiing and to play in one of the most beautiful and unique winter environments in California.  We are known as the friendliest mountain in the west. Making friends with your neighbors is one of the unsung delights of owning a property in Bear Valley and the surrounding communities.

Downhill Skiing

Bear Valley Mountain Resort offers a total of ten lifts (including 2 high speed lifts) and 75+ trails across 1680 ski-able acres with a 1900′ vertical drop!  25% of trails are beginner difficulty, 40% are intermediate and 35% are advanced or higher. Breath taking scenery 360 degrees! Bear Valley has invested heavily in snow guns, ensuring long snow seasons, even if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.

It is a family resort, with an excellent children’s learning center (The Cub Club) and an ever growing youth team group, who learn confidence,

It is California’s 7th largest and most centrally located mountain resort, situated on scenic and all-weather Highway 4. The closest major ski resort

to the Bay Area, Bear Valley’s central Sierra location and 8,500 foot summit provide some of the lightest and deepest snow conditions in all of California. (Bear Valley Ski Area is operated under special use permit with the Stanislaus Forest.)skills and friendship. Kids learn all mountain skills or can join the competitive race team. Go Bear Valley!

Bear Valley also offers several terrain parks, sculpted and maintained by dedicated competitors. If you want current, contemporary rails, boxes and huge air jumps, we have them. Combine that with fewer crowds and short lift lines – perfect!

For the more advanced skiers and boarders, Bear Valley’s famed Grizzly Bowl has enough cliffs, chutes and steeps to keep even the best occupied.  This terrain is among some of the best in the world!

Cross-Country Skiing

Bear Valley Cross-Country offers one of the largest groomed trail systems in the country! There is an extensive trail system of over 3,000 acres. Amenities include 38 trails carefully groomed for track and skate skiing and Cross Countrysnowshoeing, the trail side Meadow Cafe, 4 trail side huts, picnic tables, park benches, two kids’ ski trails, a waxing hut, groomed downhill practice area and both a sledding and tubing facility. The elevation of 7,000 to 7,800 feet guarantees first to open (usually mid November) and last to close (usually mid April) status among Sierra cross country centers. Sno-Park permits are also available at the cross-country ski center.

Bear Valley is the site of several annual ski races including the infamous Bjornloppet race which attracts everyone from beginner to expert racers each year. Bear Valley breeds cross country competitors. Olympians and other ranked racers have called Bear Valley home to train on the impeccably groomed trail system.

Extensive back country cross-country and snowmobile trails can also be found three miles above Bear Valley at the Lake Alpine Sno-Park area.

 

Snowmobiling

Bear Valley is a snowbound town in winter, so many locals use snowmobiles to get to and from their homes. Roads get packed 20 feet high some years!

SnowmobileBut the real fun is outside of town… The Bear Valley area boasts some of the most incredible snowmobiling terrain in the entire state. Highway 4 is closed to cars in the winter just past the Bear Valley ski area and the trail is maintained by Bear Valley Snowmobile who routinely snow cat groom for snow mobiles for 26 miles in to the High Country.  There are groomed trails that lead right from the Bear Valley Village to Lake Alpine. Eventually the trail ends at Highland Lakes on the Pacific Crest at elevations approaching 10,000 ft.

The public can rent snowmobiles to use on this highway width snow road system from Bear Valley Snowmobile right in the town. If you have your own machines a Sno-Park permit for your vehicle must be obtained for parking and is available in Bear Valley. The Stanislaus National Forest does not allow ATVs and snowmobiles in specified areas, and there are also wilderness areas which restrict motorized use.

The Bear Valley/Lake Alpine area is the only area in California where you can rent snowmobiles and go on an unguided adventure.

Locals ride snowmobiles into the deep High Country to gain access for back country skiing and snowboarding. Please stop by Bear Valley Snow Mobile for a map. Respect non-motorized Wilderness areas and obey speed limits where posted through town and the Lake Alpine area. Be aware of avalanche dangers when traveling off the groomed snow highway. Snowmobiling is a fun sport for the whole family, but there are risks. No under age drivers, no DUI’s, wear a helmet and know before you go.

 

 

Sledding and Tubing

How brave are you?

Bear Valley ski resort and Bear Valley Cross country both offer supervised sledding in the winter months. There is a fee, but you don’t need to bring any equipment. Then again, if you bring your own (Or get some from the Bear Valley Adventure Company) you can head out into the Stanislaus National Forest (which is your backyard after all!). Pick your hill and hang on! Nothing quite beats sledding in fresh powder.

 

Back Country Adventures

Feeling a little more adventurous? California Ski and Rock Guides (previously Mountain Adventure Seminars) are some of the leading experts on privately led tours. From an Avalanche awareness course on skis, personal guides down back country ski terrain (experts only!!). They also do snowshoeing and ice ax climbing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMER IN BEAR VALLEY

When the heat in the central valley climbs past 100 and becomes oppressive and overwhelming. When the bay area fog lingers for days on end. When the smoke and the smog hang in the sky.

Then..come and join us in Bear Valley. Clear days with warm balmy afternoons, cool evenings and crisp mornings. It is crisp mornings. Drinking coffee and watching the ripples on the lake.

It is the beautiful balmy days. Warm, but never too hot. Bright sun and blue skies are the siren call for the outdoors.
It is the lingering afternoon. Seemingly timeless.
It is the sunset, setting on Mokelumne Peak with wispy clouds glowing pink.
The evenings. Filled with laughter and fire and friends.
The nights. Cool, clear. The darkness here seems to make every star in the sky shine bright.

This is summer in Bear Valley.

Kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle boarding)

Take your pick. Bear Lake, Lake Alpine, the Spicer, Utica and Union reservoirs and mosquito lakes are all just a step away! Crystal clear alpine waters offer the perfect retreat on a warm day.

Lake Alpine: Rent paddleboats and kayaks right on the shore!

Bear Valley Adventure Company: Rent kayaks, SUP etc in Bear Valley Village to explore outlying lakes. Delivery is available!

SNAC – The best local store for water sports enthusiasts. Watch for their end of season SUP sale!

 

Mountain Biking

There are 32 miles of trails leading from Bear Valley. There are trails for families and beginners and then there are trails for even the most experienced rider. Maps of trails and bike rentals are available from Bear Valley Adventure Company. (Taking a map before riding is advised – cell service can be spotty up here!). They can also assist with bike repairs!

 

 

 

Road Biking

Alpine County is home to the infamous Death Ride, Tour of the California Alps annual cycling event that traverses 129 miles, 15000 feet and 5 mountain passes.

It is no wonder, then, that our mountain roadways are touted as favorite (and oh-so-challenging) terrain by many road cyclists. Get ready to climb and take in the views!

 

Rock Climbing

California Rock and Ski Guides (formerly Mountain Adventure Seminars) offer world class climbing instruction right here in Bear valley!

Beginners and families are welcomed and more advanced climbers have opportunities for clinics and training to prepare for bigger things! More advanced programs can be found nearby on Calaveras Dome, Ebbetts Pass, or the World Famous Lover’s Leap.

Kids have a chance to learn with the Bear Valley Summer Camp too – a favorite activity each year!

 

 

Hiking Trails

Day Hikes can range from leisurely quarter mile strolls to full day outings to strenuous mountain summits. Among the best places for day hikes on well marked trails are Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Lake Alpine, and Grover Hot Springs State Park. We have them all here – the best day hikes on both sides of Ebbetts Pass. The snow can pose a challenge until well into summer at high elevation, but we are rewarded with an incredible wildflower bloom shortly after!

Nearby Big Trees State park is a must see with Redwood groves. There is an easy, flat loop that takes visitors to the north grove and then more challenging trails too.

The Arnold Rim trail is another popular nearby destination – walk the whole loop, or just a section – some breathtaking views and not as high elevation.

 

Disc Golf Course

Disc Golf really has taken the world by storm and we have a great 18 hole course here!

Bear Valley Adventure Center runs the disc golf course (Rick’s Revenge) in Bear Valley village. Its free to play if you have your own discs, or they can be rented or inexpensively purchased in their store. They also have the maps and score cards if you feel that competitive spirit come on! There is a Bear Valley disc golf group that meet casually each week and play.

 

Swimming

Bear Valley Lodge has a pool with a large entertaining area. Some weekends in summer they have a bar open outside too! There may be a small fee to use the pool – inquiries can be made at the Lodge Front Desk.

The private Bear Lake has an awesome diving platform and does tend to warm up fast with nice sandy beaches. Residents and guests are welcome to make use of this, but please – NO DOGS! This is our drinking water, so we try to keep it clean.

Lake Alpine and the Spicer, Utica and Union Reservoirs are also popular swimming spots – look for the ‘jump rock’ at Utica!

Stanislaus “Riveria”. There are some great spots along the Stanislaus river with swimming holes, natural slides and incredible places to explore.

Safety First!  The water may be beautiful and refreshing, but it is also cold and fast moving and must be respected. Tell people where you are going, make sure children and weak swimmers are in life jackets and pay attention!

Fishing

Grab your license and your poles and come and land that fish of a lifetime! We have many different types of fishing in the area, so whether you want a family friendly experience for first timers in a well stocked lake or a guided tour into the back country for fly fish for the more elusive native species, Ebbetts Pass has it all.

Watch for Lake Alpine Kids fishing days where you can watch the lake get stocked!

For up to date fishing reports and current conditions and catches check out local outfitter Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods!

 

 

 

Summer Camps

(for kids and for adults!)

Camps for Kids

Welcome to the great outdoors! Kids have fun learning crafts and skills such as kayaking, hiking, rock climbing etc.

 

Camp for Adults!

The Outbound Pursuit series is about as much fun an adult can have outdoors! 3 full days of new skills and thrilling adventures – What do you want to try?

Archery, Rock Climbing or guided hikes? SUP, slack lining and map reading? Or are you more the bloody Mary bar followed by Yoga or meditation type? Night photography, survival skills and camping cookery.

They still have the smores camp fire you remember from your youth – but the open bar makes it just a little more ‘grown up’!

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