Winter Ski and Snowboard Rentals
Whether you're getting your friends together for a snowshoe hike, seeking the adrenaline backcountry touring, or cutting through the fresh powder, Sierra Nevada Adventure Company offers a complete line of downhill and cross country ski, snowboard, and snowshoe rentals to meet your needs. They are conveniently location on Hwy 4 in Arnold, just 30 minutes from Bear Valley Mountain Resort. And don't forget, they offer fast waxing and tuning services as well!
Bear Valley Mountain Resort offers alpine skiing. This spectacular snow sports destination, located at the 8,500 foot elevation, averages over 30 feet of snow annually. Offering downhill alpine, cross country, and back country skiing, this rivals many other Sierra destinations for winter fun. Bear Valley Mountain Resort is some of the most scenic and affordable alpine skiing in the state with 67 runs, 1,900 vertical feet, 10 lifts, and beginer carpet lift. Lift tickets, rentals, and ski/snow board packages available (209.753.2301).
Cross Country Skiing
Bear Valley Cross Country offers 65 km of scenic groomed track trails. in the heart of the Central Sierra between the Mokelumne and Carson Iceberg Wilderness Areas. At Bear Valley Cross Country you will enjoy an extensive trail system of over 3,000 acres. Amenities include 35 trails carefully groomed for track and skate skiing and snowshoeing, the Meadow Cafe, a complete rental, demo and retail facility, 4 Trailside Huts including the new Osborne Ridge Hut, picnic tables, park benches, two kids' trails, a new waxing hut, groomed downhill practice area and a sledding/tubing facility. Trails are open from 9am to 4:30pm daily. The elevation of 7,000 feet to 7,800 feet guarantees first to open (usually mid November) and last to close (usually mid April) status among Sierra cross country centers (209.753.2834).
The sport of snowshoeing has gained tremendous popularity in the last few years. Lightweight snowshoes and the discovery of cross country ski trails for snowshoers have contributed to this fun winter adventure. Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company carries snowshoe rentals in a variety of lightweight and sport sizes. No special shoes are necessary and this is definitely fun for everyone! Snowshoes are available for sale in our store as well. A trail pass is required to use the Bear Valley Cross Country Trail system (209.753.2834).
Sledding and Tubing
Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company offers sledding and tubing for the whole family (children 3 years and up), featuring a fun variety of gentle to moderate hills. The area is a short walk from the Trailhead via a packed trail. Kids and adults alike enjoy this adventure area. The sledding hill is open daily from 9am to 4pm (Sleds $10 per person). The tubing hills will be open weekends and holidays from 9am to 4pm (tubes $15 per person). Non-sledders: $2 Access Fee per person. You must use Bear Valley Cross Country rental sleds and tubes, as personal sledding/tubing devices are not allowed. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Open daily 9am-4:00pm. Sled Rental: $10.00 / Tube Rental (weekends/holidays): $15.00 (209.795.9310).
The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates two Sno-Park sites along Highway 4. For more information also go to California Sno-Parks.
- Spicer - South side of Highway 4 at Spicer Road in Calaveras County, about 45 miles east of Angels Camp. Snowmobile trails, cross-country ski trails and snow play areas. Call USFS (209) 795-1381.
- Lake Alpine - Winter closure gate on Highway 4, just past turnoff to Mt. Reba Ski Area in Alpine County. Sno-Park site is about 55 miles east of Angels Camp. Extensive cross-county skiing. Snowmobiling trails and snow play areas. Call USFS (209) 795-1381.
Only three miles above Bear Valley is one of California’s premier snowmobile recreation areas. Highway 4 from Lake Alpine to Highland Lakes turnoff and beyond is snow covered and groomed during the winter months for snowmobiling, and brings you past picturesque lakes and serene meadows. Sno-Park permits are available in Bear valley and are required for vehicle parking. Snowmobile rentals, service and sales are available in Bear Valley (209.753.2323). Check with the Stanislaus National Forest on trail and area restrictions for ATVs and snowmobiles (209.795.1381). Trail information:
- Bear Valley Area - Highway 4 (east of closure gate) is groomed for snowmobile use from the SNOPARK just east of Bear Valley to the top of Ebbetts Pass (approximately 15 miles) and to Highland Lakes. This trail has numerous segments, appropriate for different skill levels from novice to expert. As the trail climbs towards the pass, the views are spectacular. Opportunities exist for expert riders to continue riding on the un-groomed portion of the Highway on the east side of Ebbetts Pass. (Note: The groomed portion of Highway 4 is a multi-user trail, and is heavily used by nordic skiers as well as snowmobilers, particularly in the Lake Alpine region.)
- Spicer Reservoir Area - This are contains approximately 20 miles of groomed trail appropriate for novice to intermediate riders. The trail begins 1/4 mile from Highway 4 at the Spicer Reservoir Road parking area. The trail descends gradually approximately 2.5 miles to the Stanislaus River, where it crosses a bridge then ascends quickly out of the canyon. From this point, the trail offers a gentle, level ride to a 3-way intersection, 8 miles from the parking lot. Riders may continue on to Union and Utica Reservoirs, Summit and Elephant Rock Lakes, or the Spicer Reservoir Power House. Very experienced riders may continue on the un-groomed route along Slick Rock Road to Lake Alpine.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park - Winter
Home to two groves of giant sequoia trees thought to be over 2,000 years old. The area has been a popular tourist attraction since its discovery in 1852. Open all year but with limited access in the winter. The road to North Grove is closed seasonally in the winter. Main park access for day use varies. The area offers excellent opportunities for back country cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Call for access information (209.795.2334).
- Black Chasm Caverns – Located in Volcano this National Natural Landmark cave offers a 50-minute guided walking tours. See sparkling flowstones, stalactites and huge clusters of rare, crystalline helicite formations. Open all year (866.762.2837).
- California Caverns – Located in Mountain Ranch. Featuring guided walk tours and 2-5 hour wild cave adventure tours. Open all year (866.762.2837).
- Mercer Caverns – Located just outside of Murphys provides guided tours on well-lighted walkways. The caverns feature beautiful calcite formations. Open all year. Call for winter hours (209.728.2101).
- Moaning Cavern – Located in Vallecito. Featuring California’s deepest chamber, access via the historic 100-foot spiral staircase or by a 165 foot rope rappel. Open all year (866.762.2837).
Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway - Winter
Consider one of the most scenic drives across the Sierra Nevada Mountain, the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway runs along Highway 4 from Calaveras Big Trees State Park Scenic (on the West) to Grover Hot Springs State park (on the East). Ebbetts Pass is one of the last remaining wild trans-Sierra passes. The summit elevation is 8,732 feet. Winter is a great time to enjoy this scenic drive but the road closes periodically when conditions are not safe for travel. Always check ahead and carry chains when traveling in the high country. Be sure to check the latest CalTrans Road Report online for Highway 4 before you travel.
- Gold Cliff Mine – Step back in time and explore this historic gold mine on a 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hour adventure trip combining challenging exploration with history and folklore. Available year round by reservation (866.762.2837).
- Sutter Gold Mine – Located north on Highway 49 , just outside the town of Sutter Creek, this tour replicates what it feels like to be a miner. Journey deep underground on a 1-hour tour in this modern hard rock gold mine. Call for winter hours (866.762.2837).
Located just outside Murphys on the Ironstone Vineyards, this comfortable outdoor amphitheatre offers an eclectic mix of top popular, rock, jazz and country acts.
Sierra Nevada Logging Museum
The museum is located in White Pines on the site of the historic site of the Blagen Sawmill’s workers homes. This is a high-quality, regional facility devoted to displaying and interpreting the history of logging and lumbering throughout the Sierra Nevada range (209.795.6782).
Stanislaus National Forest - Winter
The Calaveras ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest includes 250,000 acres of public land, with prime access to the forest along Highway 4, east of Arnold. There are excellent opportunities for back country cross country skiing and snowshoeing. For information on weather, road, and access/parking information contact the District Ranger Office (209.795.1381).
There are approximately 25 foothill wineries and vineyards in the surrounding area offering wine tasting and purchase. See the Office for a local map and listings.
At Moaning Cavern experience the thrill of racing on twin zip lines, at up to 40 miles per hour, across the beautiful Gold Country foothills. Open all year (866.762.2837).