Error message

Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
Bear Valley BearValley_1280x642

Bear Valley

Bear Valley
Make family memories at a mountain hideaway

This pleasantly off-the-grid winter destination feels and looks like a secret escape in the middle of rugged alpine wilderness. With its laid-back, family-friendly vibe, this low-key mountain town, roughly half way between Lake Tahoe to the north and Yosemite National Park to the south, has a comfortably retro feel, the kind of place that might make you reminisce about your own favourite childhood holidays. As for skiing and boarding, Bear Valley Mountain Resorts features 9 lifts access, 75 trails with nearly 1,700 acres of skiable terrain. Trails range from the easy to the challenges of Grizzly Bowl, so everyone can find places to play. Snow making keeps things skiable in dryer years. 

In snowy winters, Highway 4, also known as Ebbetts Pass and a designated National Scenic Byway, closes just east of Bear Valley. Though vehicles cannot cross the mountains here, the snow-covered highway turns into an easy-to-follow route for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. Hire snow-shoes or cross country skis in town, then follow the road to views of craggy mountains and hushed forests. For more trails, visit Bear Valley Cross Country, with groomed trails for track and skate skiing, four trail side huts and the Meadow Café, plus picnic tables for when the weather is good, all dotting some 3,000 acres  of varied terrain. There is also a gentle slope where you can practice your downhill technique on Nordic skis. But don’t worry, it gets easier with practice. There are also sledging and tubing hills, plus fat-tyre snow bikes for a new twist on winter fun.

Snowmobiles are also popular in the region. Bear Valley Snowmobile offers hires and 15 miles of groomed trails, with the Highland Lakes area a popular destination. 

Insider’s tip: Come back in summer for the annual Bear Valley Music Festival, featuring a full orchestra and other top music under the pines.

Bear Valley VCW_D_HS_Hero_packtrip_Sunset-TS_1280x642_sized
Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the High Sierra

Bear Valley vca_maps_highsierra
1
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
18°
High
-4°
Low
Dec - Feb
3°
High
-7°
Low
Mar - May
12°
High
-5°
Low
June - Aug
22°
High
5°
Low

Snow-covered peaks in winter, gushing waterfalls in spring, wildflower meadows and glistening lakes in summer, vibrant colours in fall—this is a land of dramatic and wild beauty. World-class mountain resorts circling turquoise-blue Lake Tahoe, and at Mammoth Lakes cater to all, with scenic ski trails in winter and trails and vistas in summer.

Yosemite Valley…is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and gold and wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”  - photographer Ansel Adams

Yosemite National Park - a World Heritage Site, is found roughly 3½ hours east of San Francisco. Whether you hike a mountain, ski the steeps, or lounge in a hot tub beneath a canopy of stars, you’ll find your perfect getaway. 

Bear Valley IMG_3821[1]
At 14,505 ft. above sea level, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Family-friendly resorts, snowy escapes

High Sierra peaks, deep drifts on a Mammoth volcano, family friendly resorts, snowy escapes on the edge of Yosemite and more - California has enough alpine destinations to keep any skier or...

Bear Valley MammothMountain_1251_preview_686x885
SPECIAL FEATURE
Relax after a day on the slopes

Kicking back after you kick off your boots is a snow-country tradition, and there’s plenty of post-slopes fun at California’s top alpine resorts. Have a beer or warm up with an Irish coffee, dance...

Bear Valley KTBaseBar_JeffEnegerbretson_SquawValley_preview_686x885
Jeff Enegerbretson
Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.
Ansel Adams
Bear Valley VC_Spotlight_LakeTahoe_Stock_RF_4223000027_1280x640_0
Alex Farnum

Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

Bear Valley vca_maps_highsierra
Majestic Peaks, Bucket-List Essential

Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket list essential. Where else...

Bear Valley VCW_D_MammothLakes_Hero_Horseback_1280x642_0
Rebecca Garrett

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

Bear Valley vca_maps_highsierra
Snowy winters, wildflower summers

Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going. It’s a land of...

As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.
Mark Twain (recalling his first sighting of Lake Tahoe)
Bear Valley VCW_D_HS_T5_Mono Lake_VCL_HS_Mono_Kayakers_KG
Kodiak Greenwood

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Visit bizarre formations, cinder cones and a super-salty lake

There are few places in California—and maybe on the planet—that can make you think you might just be on Mars. This is one of them. At this high-...

Bear Valley VCW_D_HS_T6_Bodie cars_VCL_HS_Bodie_KG-sized
Kodiak Greenwood

Bodie

Tour the eerie remnants of a former boomtown

There's something eerily appropriate about bumping down the dusty desert road that winds the final few miles into Bodie State Historic Park. Round...

Bear Valley VCW_D_HS_T7_Tahoe_MtnBike_Farnum
Alex Farnum

Guided Adventures

Learn to climb, join a pack trip, and more

While there are plenty of ways to play on your own in the High Sierra, there’s a whole host of ways to learn a new activity, like how to catch and...

Bear Valley Bishop_HighSierra_1280x642_downsized

Bishop

Explore an outdoorsy adventure town with an artistic side

Bishop brims with outdoor activities. Situated at the north end of the Owens Valley, with close access to some...

Bear Valley CalaverasBTSP_sized
Lucas Himovitz

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Look up at (and learn about) amazing giant sequoias

Established in 1931 to preserve a stunning stand of giant sequoias, this park offers one of the easiest places to see these towering trees. Head...

SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

Bear Valley McWayFalls_JPB_SP_preview_686x885
Amy Meredith/Flickr
Bear Valley High_Sierra_Trees
The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Gold Rush history, epic high-country landscapes, hidden wine country, and charming country towns

Granite monoliths, waterfalls, alpine meadows—it’s no secret that Yosemite delivery some seriously big wow moments. But what is a secret is the bounty of awesome things you can see and do on your...

Bear Valley VCW_SI_Hero_HS_Yosemite_UpperFalls_KG_preview_686x885
Kodiak Greenwood
Bear Valley Manzanar_sized
Mammoth Chambers of Commerce

Manzanar National Historic Site

Learn about a sobering time in U.S. history

During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans were moved from their homes throughout the West and brought to internment camps like Manzanar...

Bear Valley VCW_SI_T5_GroverHotSprings_JeffMosers_1280x642
Jeff Mosers/ Flickr

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Soak in naturally heated mineral pools

Nestled in a notch of the High Sierra about an hour’s drive south-east of Lake Tahoe, mineral springs bubble up from the earth, a testament to the...

Bear Valley VC_LonePine_ST_RF_722224619_1280x640
Room/Getty Images

Lone Pine

Discover the natural beauty and another side of California in a historic Owens Valley small town

Head to Lone Pine to see a different side of California, one that is less connected...