Bear Valley is a four-season destination with views that rival most California ski resorts. Clinging to the side of the Mokelumne River's deep canyon, Bear Valley is a laid-back town located on Highway 4, an easy three-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area. Snowshoeing, sledding, snow tubing, snowboarding and cross and backcountry skiing are the favorite activities in winter, while golfing, fishing, hiking and rock climbing are some of the popular summer pastimes.
There is heavy snowfall during the peak ski season from mid-November through mid-April, making it a snow-lover’s paradise. The expansive resort covers an area of about 1,300 acres and has 11 lifts and nearly 35 miles of cross-country trails. The annual snowfall at Bear Valley averages around 359” (30 feet) and covers approximately 100 acres of beginner and advanced terrain. Cross-country skiing is the favored sport of most winter visitors but there are plenty of other activities. There are several trails for snowshoeing, a separate sledding area just for kids and a newly started snow tubing park. One of the resort’s most challenging descents is the Grizzly Bowl, an area with an almost 1,400-foot vertical drop peppered with steep chutes, trees and cliffs. Adventurous skiers enjoy the backcountry trails that lead out of the resort and into the surrounding valley.
In summer, the long, warm days and cool evenings create the perfect atmosphere for outdoor activities. Golf addicts will enjoy the sprawling golf course at Greenhorn Creek Resort, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The Bear Valley Adventure Company has courses and activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. You can rent equipment at the Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company. In July and August, Bear Valley transforms itself into a blend of nature and melody with the annual Bear Valley Music Festival. Have a picnic under the starry skies and listen to an eclectic mix of classical, rock, jazz and pop music. Tickets start as low as $10 and go up to $500 for the season pass.
Bear Valley is not just an outdoor holiday destination, but also has a number of shops, cabins, and mountain properties. The quaint village has a variety of art galleries, sports, clothing & gift shops, and restaurant options. Equipment, guide services and information for nearly every type of outdoor activity and adventure are available year round for rent or sale in the Bear Valley Village. So pack those bags and remember to carry plenty of film – your visit to Bear Valley promises to be a memorable experience.