Calaveras Winter Itineraries

Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Unwind, indulge…or both



Warm your body up with a few downward dogs and some deep stretching at one of Calaveras’ fitness studios such as the Angels Camp Body Shop, Arnold’s Big Trees Fitness, or Murphys’ Intelligent Body Movement Studio, or the Valley Springs Sports and Fitness Center.

After class, take your relaxation to the next level. Stroll over to Infuse Health and Wellness Boutique in Murphys or to Jillian Day Spa for their La Stone Therapy, a restorative massage using heated and cold stones. Heading to Jillian Day Spa? Be sure to have a reservation since their prime weekend slots tend to get scooped up fast. Or, schedule some pampering time at Elements Day Spa in Arnold for a couples massage with champagne spritz and time in their infra-red sauna. You’ll be glad you did.

Afterwards grab a bite at one of our award winning restaurants. Need help deciding where to eat? Explore the Calaveras foodie scene overall or by town with our Where to Eat in Calaveras guide.

Quyle Kilns, Murphys
Small selection of pottery at Quyle Kilns

Before you head up the hill, make a stop at Quyle Kilns. This eclectic pottery studio, featuring the work of several artists is drenched in history. Ask for a tour to hear about Quyle Kilns’ past, take a peek at the working blacksmith area or peruse the showroom for a one-of-a-kind gift.

Don’t leave yet. You can walk across the way to Brice Station Winery, the highest vineyard in the Sierra Nevada at 3,300 feet. Here you’ll find Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet and Merlot more reminiscent of Napa.

Calaveras Arnold Lodging: Arnold Black Bear Inn
Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Arnold Black Bear Inn

Resist the urge to dig into that cheese you likely bought at Lavender Ridge and save your appetite for dinner at Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen. A table at this cozy restaurant with a log-cabin feel can often be the hardest to get in the county, so you know it’s got to be good. On the menu, Sarah’s Favorite should be renamed Everyone’s Favorite as this creamy tomato pasta dish can usually be spotted on many tables throughout the evening.

Area Lodging: Treat yourself to first class service and accommodations at Arnold Black Bear Inn, or go for simple elegance at The Victoria Inn.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Angels 6 Theaters at night Lisa Boulton
Angels 6 Theaters | Lisa Boulton

Date night at the movies. Did you know Angels Camp has one of the last few historic downtown theaters in the country? With gorgeous Art Deco architecture, although this historic movie theater was built during the silent film era it’s fully equipped with modern films and modern technology. You can’t miss Angels Theater’s gorgeous art deco neon sign in downtown Angels Camp . It may look retro, but the local theater offers a state of the art projection system, including the Big-D, 3-D movies. And it’s right in historic downtown. So, arrive early and enjoy wine at Vino Metate, ice cream at Yummy Ha Ha Ice Cream, authentic Mexican food at Cascabel’s or a romantic dinner at Crusco’s Italian Restaurant before the show.

Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Easy exploring: Catch the highlights

Attractions:Mercer Caverns by Dave Bunnell
Mercer Caverns Walk Tour | Dave Bunnell

Do you like a side of humor with your breakfast? Then stop in at Hillbillies on Hwy 4, rumored to have the best pancakes, biscuits and gravy. With condiments playfully served in toolboxes, grab the covered wagon table for a fun start to the day. Looking for something a little different for breakfast? You can prove your hillbilly prowess and impress your friends by ordering frog legs for breakfast. That’s right, Hillbillies Restaurant goes there! For the more traditional breakfast lovers, we can’t rave enough about their pancakes and waffles.

Ready to get outdoors? Rain or shine, head underground to Mercer Caverns. The 45-minute, family-friendly walking tour that provides an easy way to experience the ancient (3 million-year-old), subterranean world below Murphys.

Heading up to the  High Sierra snow? Enjoy snow sports and relaxing fireside treatment at Bear Valley Mountain Resort. Or if you’re looking for a shorter trip, play in the snowline just 20 minutes East of Murphys. Put on your winter boots, grab a few layers and don’t forget your hat before jumping in the car and heading up the hill to a winter wonderland. Enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, or tubing, at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Snowplay among giant sequoias is a picturesque treat you’ll never forget. Afterwards, stop in at the warming hut next to the North Grove parking lot for some yummy hot chocolate or hot cider and cozy up to the roaring fire.

Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Snowshoe at Calaveras big Trees | Dave Bunnell
Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Try a winter day hike on snowshoes or cross country skis at Big Trees State Park. | Photo: Dave Bunnell

Forget to pack hats or gloves for the kids and looking to save a little money? Give My Little Apple in downtown Murphys a call or stop in to see if this charming, family owned children’s consignment shop has what you’re looking for.

Enjoying the High Sierra snow at Alpine Sno-Park and/or Spicer Reservoir Sno-Park, east of Calaveras Big Trees State Park? Be sure to get your sno-park pass from Bear Valley Cross Country, Bear Valley Snowmobile, Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods or Sierra Nevada Adventure Company beforehand.

While there is endless high-country sledding, tubing and flying through tree-lined corridors to be had at the Lake Alpine and Spicer Reservoir SNO-PARK areas, if you’re looking for a more groomed experience, you’ll enjoy renting a tube at Bear Valley Cross Country for a ton of no-hassle fun.

Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Cute kids sledding I Courtesy of Instagrammer @adelineandgreyson

After a day in the High Sierra snow, explore your Calaveras and Bear Valley Mountain restaurant options by town here.

Area Lodging: Soak up some history at the Murphys Historic Hotel, or sleep above the snow line at Meadowmont Lodge.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Attractions: Ironstone Heritage Museum gold nugget
Ironstone Heritage Museum gold nugget | Menka Belgal

See the Gold Nugget. Even if you’re not into wine, Ironstone Vineyards Heritage Museum is worth the trip to the winery. Home to the largest gold leaf specimen ever discovered, weighing in at 44-pounds, the museum’s collection also provides a glimpse into the Gold Rush era. Make an afternoon of it and plan to have lunch at their Gourmet Deli.

Revel in history at the Red Brick Saloon. Located on historic Main Street in San Andreas and dating back to the early 1900’s this intriguing watering hole is a gathering place not to miss. Feeling competitive? Challenge the locals to a game of shuffleboard.

Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Go for it! Active adventures.

Bear Valley Mountain -snowboards
Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Bear Valley Mountain

Power up at Arnold Bistro Espresso located right in the heart of Arnold before a big day of powder.

As breakfast settles, drive just 30 miles for perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions. Snag a half-day pass for High Sierra snow fun at Bear Valley Mountain, a picturesque 1280-acre ski hill at 8,500 feet in the Stanislaus National Forest that offers everything you want from a resort, minus the attitude. Hit the runs in Grizzly Bowl for big challenges and what seems like your own private mountain at times.

Big drops work up big appetites. Head to Bear Valley Village and try to land a table at the Creekside Dining Room in Bear Valley Lodge for lunch. This chic café’s creative menu, which changes daily, highlights fresh ingredients and will have your mouth watering.

Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company | California Through My Lens
Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure Company | California Through My Lens

On your way back down the hill look for the National Forest sign for Big Meadow. In the summer it’s a campground, but in the winter it turns into parking for a prime snowshoeing spot. Explore the rolling snow hills and icy streams that meander through this scenic area. Snowshoes can be rented from SNAC in Arnold or at the Bear Valley Cross Country Center.

For a great dining experience try Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen in Arnold. Here, old world Italy meets contemporary California for pasta, chicken, steak, seafood, and vegetarian options goodness. And their woodsy cabin feel is a perfect setting to relax in at the end of a day in the snow.

Area Lodging: Stay where the snow is at the rustic Bear Valley Lodge, or grab a cozy vacation cabin in Arnold through our direct vacation lodging booking service.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

Bear Valley Snowmobile | Lisa Boulton
Calaveras Winter Itineraries: Bear Valley Snowmobile

Ride the snow highway. There is another way to get to Ebbetts Pass once the road closes for the winter, and it’s much more thrilling. Bring your snowmobile (or rent one from Bear Valley Snowmobile) and zip through 15 miles of groomed trails through a winter wonderland to reach the pass. Keep going and you can reach the secluded Highland Lakes area.

Work up a sweat. One of the most extensive cross country trail systems in the country, Bear Valley Cross Country, offers skiers 35 groomed trails ranging from beginner to advanced on over 3,000 acres of National Forest Land. Bring a few bucks along and treat yourself to lunch at the area’s full service café conveniently located on the trail system. Ski rentals available or bring your own.