Sledding and Tubing

Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company

Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company

Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company209-753-2834
1 Bear Valley Road
Bear Valley, CA

65 Km. of scenic groomed track, skating and snowshoeing trails, four trailside huts, trailside cafe.  Sledding hill.  Complete cross country ski rental and lesson programs.

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, 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.

Related links: Bear Valley Adventure Company

Blogs featuring Bear Valley Cross Country:   Top Family-friendly Picks for Winter Activities | Winter in Calaveras: Catch the Highlights | Winter in Calaveras: Active adventures | Winter

Videos fearing Bear Valley Cross Country: Paul’s Pointers: Getting Started | Paul’s Pointers: Clothing and Gear

Best Places to Sled in Calaveras

Best Places to Sled in Calaveras

With winter upon us and more snow in the forecast, many of you will be heading to the mountains looking for a fun day in the outdoors and a good place to sled. It’s not unusual to see highway turn-outs packed with cars while families play on the nearby hillsides. It can be a little scary with such proximity to a principal highway, so we thought a little guide to Calaveras’ better places to sled was in order for this month.

Wherever you choose to sled, please remember that the Stanislaus National Forest and surrounding areas are home to many species of wild birds and animals that can be seriously harmed by any trash you leave behind. The popularity of sledding has created a need to address the impact of plastic refuse on the surrounding environment. Please be sure to dispose of broken sleds and other trash properly. And of course, dress warmly, be safe and have a wonderful time!

Bear Valley XC sledding

Sledding at Bear Valley Cross Country

Big Trees State Park. While its smaller slopes are more suited to smaller sledders, playing in the snow among the giant sequoias is a unique experience for the whole family. And with a little creativity, even the adults will find some fun to be had. The park entrance fee of $10 per vehicle will get you into the North Grove and you are free to explore. The newly renovated Visitor Center has restrooms and a fabulous selection of interpretive displays and cool Calaveras County gifts as well. Be sure to stop by the warming hut for hot chocolate and spiced cider.

Camp Connell. At the east end of Camp Connell is a forestry station and directly across the highway from the entrance is a large turn out and parking area which becomes one of the largest sledding areas when the snow is abundant.   You’ll find many gentle slopes to explore, but watch out for trees, and be sure to park against the banks, leaving enough room in the turnout for oncoming highway traffic.

S Turns. About 8.5 miles east of Camp Connell and after the long passing lanes you’ll enter a series of S curves and find a small parking area on the left which is also popular with sledders.   It maxes out at five or six cars and is basically a forest access road covered in snow. It’s also a fun area to go for a snowshoe hike and can be a decent option for those who just want to get into the snow and have driven far enough to get there already! Note: we don’t recommend this location on heavy storm days, as the build up of cars can present hazards for snowplows and highway traffic.


sledding at Tamarack Lodge Bed & Breakfast

Sledding at Tamarack Lodge

Tamarack Lodge. A new offering this season from Tamarack Lodge at Bear Valley provides not only a safe and roomy parking lot, but also use of the lodge’s restrooms, common area with fireplace and hot drinks. For $20, you and your carload can use their sledding hill as well as the aforementioned amenities between 11:00am and 4:00pm.   They have a limited number of sleds to borrow, but you’re advised to bring your favorite snow speeder.

Snowman at White Pines Lake

Snowman at White Pines Lake

Bear Valley Cross Country. Head to Bear Valley Cross Country in Bear Valley village for a choice of sleds or inner tubes for rent on their groomed and maintained sledding hills.   For $12 per sledder or $16 per tuber, you’ll get to enjoy their facilities, including multiple sledding runs, picnic tables and seating areas.   Note that personal sleds and tubes are not allowed, but they have a good selection of rentals on hand.

Sno-Parks. Sno-Parks are designated parking areas for winter recreation, maintained by the State and Forest Service and require a $5 day pass or $25 season pass for parking. There are three within four miles of Bear Valley: Spicer Reservoir, Round Valley (on Highway 207 to the ski resort) and Lake Alpine, at the closure of Highway 4 just beyond the ski resort turn off. Lake Alpine Sno-Park is a sure bet for long, fast sledding runs that will appeal to those in your group who are seeking adrenaline fueled thrills. All Sno-Parks have non-flush toilets but no other facilities or concession stands so pack a cooler and hot chocolate thermos for your group. Sno-Park permits can be picked up in Bear Valley at Bear Valley Snowmobile and Bear Valley Cross Country, and in Arnold at Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods and Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, or online at the Sno-Park page.

White Pines Lake near Arnold has some nice slopes far from the highway. Just be sure you don’t sled too close to the lake even if it looks completely frozen. Lots of snow in this pretty park means plenty of opportunities for building snowmen and getting your snowball arsenal together for an epic fight.

For you downhill skiers and snowboarders, this is the season for Bear Valley Mountain resort, with over 1,600 acres of terrain and 1,900 vertical feet.   If you fancy a motorized tour of the gorgeous Ebbetts Pass area in winter, head to Bear Valley Snowmobile, where you can rent snowmobiles for the day and explore the alpine world beyond Bear Valley!

Snow at Calaveras Big Trees State Park by Dave Bunnell

Giant sequoia trees at Calaveras Big Trees State Park | Photo: Dave Bunnell



December is a Winter Wonderland in Calaveras

December is a Winter Wonderland in Calaveras

Perhaps it’s the fact that the fall colors seem a little more vibrant than previous years, or that we’ve already had a few chilly storms come through our region, but winter feels like it’s in the air.   With another round of snow on the way this week and El Nino predictions abounding, you can feel the excitement here in Calaveras for a fun and wintry holiday season.

The view from Bear Valley Mountain

The view from Bear Valley Mountain

The 2015-16 season has just launched at Bear Valley Mountain resort for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The recent storms have provided an ideal snow base to begin operations, and cold temperatures have allowed for additional snow making on 100 acres of their terrain. “We’ve been out packing snow throughout the mountain to ensure great coverage and a solid base,” says Mattly Trent, Director of Guest Safety, “winter has been shaping up nicely here in Bear Valley.” They’ll be running lifts on weekends from 9:00am-4:00pm until December 19, then seven days a week for the rest of the ski season.

Last weekend was also the season opener for Bear Valley Cross Country, where you’ll find 38 trails groomed for track and skate skiing and snowshoeing on over 3,000 acres. They offer a full service sport shop for equipment rentals and sales, as well as options for sledding and tubing.

It’s shaping up to be a white Christmas – and New Year – and what better way to spend the holidays than in a cozy cabin at 7,000 feet in the Sierras? Be sure to check out Bear Valley Lodge for their current packages and availability. Bear Valley Real Estate will set you and your family up in a rental cabin or condo located near the ski shuttle.

Bear Valley Snowmobile

See the forest from the seat of a Bear Valley Snowmobile

Perhaps you need a little more speed for your glide over the snow.  Consider renting a snowmobile for the day from Bear Valley Snowmobile.  If you’ve never driven a snowmobile through the mountains, you’re in for a huge treat. With breathtaking views and beautifully groomed trails, you’re sure to enjoy the outdoors in a whole new way.  They have options for the whole family, including kids as young as two. Besides renting snowmobiles, owners Greg and Sandy offer VIP homeowner valet service to Bear Valley residents, SKI DOO servicing for those who own their own snowmobiles, and SKI DOO sales.

Regardless of when you come up, the trip to Bear Valley is a great winter adventure, as you travel along Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, through towering trees with views of the snow-capped Sierras.   Check in with Sierra Nevada Adventure Company and Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods in Arnold for gear rentals and updates on snow and weather conditions. They also sell Sno-Park parking permits, which you’ll need if you want to venture out on snowshoes or backcountry gear in the high country. Bear Valley Cross Country is also a good resource for outdoor gear and snow safety information.

For a fun small town winter tradition, head to Murphys on December 4 for the Holiday Open House and Parade. Shops stay open late, offering holiday treats and the streets are filled with locals and visitors celebrating the season. Also kicking off this evening is the Holiday Festival of Wines, with many of the town’s wineries offering music, small bites and big sales!   The festival will continue through the weekend at participating wineries.

Murphys Holiday Open House and Parade
Murphys Main Street
December 4, 5:00-8:00pm

Festival of Wines – featuring Calaveras Winegrape Alliance member wineries.
Various Locations throughout Calaveras County
December 4, 5:00-8:00pm
December 5-6, 11:00am-5:00pm

Mountain Ranch Christmas Parade
Main Street, Mountain Ranch, CA 95246
December 12, 2:00pm

Mokelumne Hill Open House

Horse-Drawn Hay Rides at Mokelumne Hill Open House

December 13 Mokelumne Hill hosts their annual Holiday Open House and Artful Celebration in conjunction with Petroglyphe Gallery.  The gallery will be offering 20% off most of their regular priced jewelry lines—specifically for this event. Find those unique & special gifts from the gallery’s selection of fine art & jewelry with free signature gift wrapping.  Have a photo taken with Santa at the Historic Hotel Leger and take a Horse-Drawn Hay Ride down Main Street. Merchants will be offering special activities such as face painting by Leslie Vasquez at Petroglyphe Gallery and Reindeer Games at McHale’s Revival.  Mokelumne Hill comes to life with a special day for the whole family.

Mokelumne Hill Open House and Petroglyphe Reception
Main Street, Moke Hill, CA 95245
December 13, 2:00-7:00pm

Winter Wonderland at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Winter Wonderland at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

How about a snowy carriage ride among the giant sequoias? Mark your calendars for the annual Winter Wonderland celebration at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Enjoy games, prizes, music, hot beverages and treats – but grab your tickets early because this one sells out every year!

Winter Wonderland at Big Trees State Park
December 29, 11:00am-4:00pm
Tickets: $12.50 adults / $8.50 children under 12
Order online at or call 209-795-1196 for more info.

Don’t forget to download our 2015 Holiday Shopping Guide to help you navigate all the great small businesses and gift shops here in Calaveras County.  You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list!



Lake Alpine Sno Park

Lake Alpine Sno Park

Highway 4, 2miles past Bear Valley
(Where Hwy 4 is closed in the wintertime.)
Lake Alpine Sno Park

Lake Alpine Sno Park is a great place to go for family friendly snow play.  Great for cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snow play, and snowmobiling.  To park at the Sno Park, you must purchase a pass.  Sno Park passes can be purchased online at  Pases are $5.00 a day or $25.00 for a season pass plus a service fee of $1.95

Passes can also be purchased at the following locations:

Bear Valley Cross Country, 1 Bear Valley Road, Bear Valley
Bear Valley Snowmobile, 3 Bear Valley Road (Inside Village Lodge), Bear Valley
Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods, 925 Hwy 4, Arnold
Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, 2293 Hwy 4, Arnold


Spicer Sno Park

Spicer Sno Park

209- 795-1381
South side of Highway 4 at Spicer Road
(4 Miles before Bear Valley Village)

Spicer Sno Park is a great place to go for family friendly snow play.  Great for cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snow play, and snowmobiling.  To park at the Sno Park, you must purchase a pass.  Sno Park passes can be purchased online at  Passes are $5.00 a day or $25.00 for a season pass plus a service fee of $1.95. There are no parking fees–only the Sno Park pass fee. You can find a map of the trail system here.

Passes can also be purchased at the following locations:

Bear Valley Cross Country, 1 Bear Valley Road, Bear Valley
Bear Valley Snowmobile, 3 Bear Valley Road (Inside Village Lodge), Bear Valley
Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods, 925 Hwy 4, Arnold
Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, 2293 Hwy 4, Arnold


Tamarack Lodge at Bear Valley

Tamarack Lodge209-753-2310
18278 Highway 4
Tamarack, CA

Tamarack Lodge, situated at 7000 ft. on Highway 4, is a family-friendly Bed and Breakfast facility for both Winter and Summer recreational activities.  Comprises 13 rooms, common areas, and guest cooking facilities.  Snowshoeing trails and sledding hill area available for a day-use fee without staying at the lodge. See our website for further details.