As the starting point for the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, Arnold might be considered the gateway to the Sierra (and the big trees for that matter), but this rustic mountain town (elevation 4,000-feet) is a vacation destination in and of itself. Sure, Arnold is a great base camp for everything from skiing at Bear Valley to wine tasting in Murphys, but for a true mountain escape away from the crowds, you can stay right in town. We guarantee you won’t be bored. Here are some great things to do while you are visiting the Arnold area…
Wander through some of the biggest trees on the planet. Just 3-miles from the heart of Arnold you’ll find Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where you’re able to see not one, but two groves of the world-famous Giant Sequoias up-close-and-personal. Visitors can hike, picnic, or even camp, among the park’s magnificent sequoias which can be as much as 30-feet wide and tower more than 300-feet above ground. It’s a mind-blowing experience to step foot beneath these giant trees knowing that their canopy holds its own ecosystem.
Snowshoe Brewing Company. This family-friendly brewpub specializes in handcrafted ales and gives a nod to the local area with beers like Snoweizen, Lodgepole IPA and Snowshoe Thompson Pale Ale. Belly up to the bar for a beer sampler, served on what else but a snowshoe-shaped tasting paddle. Hungry? There’s something for everyone on Snowshoe’s extensive, family-friendly menu.
Hinterhaus Distillery. The husband/wife team at Hinterhaus Distilling craft small batch spirits from their space in The Arnold Plaza. They invite guests to step inside their comfortable tasting room with views of their 150-gallon still and production space while exploring their lineup of whiskeys, vodka, liqueurs, and more. Partnering with local vintners, brewers, and malters, each spirit batch results in integrity bottlings that feature the local terrain on the labels. All spirits and branded gear is sold exclusively on-site. Check website for latest hours and information.
Stand on “Top of the World.” There’s only one way to get to the top of the world from Arnold, and that’s via the Arnold Rim Trail (ART), a 17-mile wooded trail system that links the communities of Arnold to Hathaway Pines. Head to the trailhead at the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum and hike approximately 10.8 miles round trip with significant elevation gain and loss through beautiful pine forest to a stunning ridge and overlook known as, Top of the World. Linger as long as you like, or perhaps enjoy a picnic here, as you take in sweeping views of the Sierra in all directions.
Be transported to Italy. The setting at Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen might scream cozy log cabin (that’s part of its charm), but when you sit down for a classic Italian dinner here with good friends or family you’ll be temporarily whisked away to Italy…or at least your taste buds will be. This stellar restaurant is definitely not a secret and tables can be hard to come by, so reservations are a must. Check out other amazing Arnold restaurants here.
Get geared up. Whether it’s the middle of the summer and you’re looking for a boat or paddleboard to take out on White Pines Lake, or there’s a fresh layer of snow and you’d love to strap on some snowshoes and make some fresh tracks along the Arnold Rim Trail, Sierra Nevada Adventure Company (SNAC) should be your first stop. This local outfitter and outdoor store has a variety of rental options and can always point you in the direction of a great adventure. Or, head over to Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods for local insider fishing tips and all kinds of rentals for outdoor activities – no matter the season!
Camp Connell General Store is a gathering place for locals and vacationers, serving as the heart of Camp Connell. It harkens back to an older time when the general store had some of everything you need from espresso to beer to groceries, gifts, camping supplies and home goods. As well as being a bar and grill, here you’ll enjoy live music on Saturdays during the summer behind the store in “The Beer Garden”.
Enjoy hand-crafted coffees, breakfast burritos, freshly-made sandwiches, pizza and a beer garden. Opened in 1929 to cater to high country vacationers enjoying the spectacular, natural environment, this charming store has been operating continuously ever since. And those gas pumps? They’re evidence of one of the oldest Chevron stations in California.
WHERE TO STAY IN ARNOLD
B&B’s, Inns and Lodges