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... 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 paddle-boats and kayaks right on the shore!
SNAC: The best local store for water sports enthusiasts. Watch for their end of season SUP sale!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
And, they still have the s'mores campfire you'll remember from your youth – but the open bar makes it just a little more ‘grown up’!