The town of Bear Valley, located in Alpine County, is a hidden gem known for world-class recreation and leisure year round, although adventure seekers will find much to do in the Summer! Bear Valley is located South of Lake Tahoe and North of Yosemite National Park, and hosts one of California's most amazing mountain glamping getaways! In this Summer Adventure Guide to Bear Valley you will find tips on where to stay and what to do in this unique mountain town for the ultimate escape.
Bear Valley has a special place in our hearts because my husband's family owned a cabin there when he was growing up, and it was a family gathering spot for them over the years. For one of our first "out of town" dates, Brian took me down memory lane and showed me all of his favorite spots to adventure.
Although Winter is a popular season for skiers and snowboarders, Summer is just as enjoyable for splashing around in the lake and exploring the mountains. When Bear Valley Resort launched their glamping tents a few years ago, we couldn't wait to go experience it for ourselves!
Where is Bear Valley?
Bear Valley is in Alpine County, which is the smallest county in California. It is most widely known for its ski resort, Bear Valley Resort, which attracts a large number of visitors throughout the winter months.
2 Hours from Stockton
4 Hours from San Francisco
2.5 Hours from Sacramento
7 Hours from Los Angeles
Where to Stay in Bear Valley?
Although there are limited lodging options in the small mountain town of Bear Valley, you can have a one-of-a-kind glamping experience overlooking the expansive Stanislaus National Forest at Bear Valley Resort!
Bear Valley Resort's glamping tents, which are located at an elevation of 7,750 feet, face the beautiful Mokelumne Peak and Wilderness. Each glamping unit has a comfortable Queen bed (with bedding), heating, and electricity, all of which are powered by renewable solar energy.
We had the best time glamping in Bear Valley and could not get over the breathtaking mountain views. Prepare for lots of "Ooohs and Ahhhhs" during your stay! What makes this spot unique is that the tents are perched on the cliffside, so the views are never-ending and and there is very little light pollution, making it ideal for stargazing!
The nearest town with additional lodging options would be in Murphy's, California just 45 minutes from Bear Valley.
What Amenities are Provided Glamping?
Inside the Glamping Tent:
Queen Size Bed with Bedding + Pillows
Face + Body Towels
Shampoo, Conditioner + Body Soap
Two Chairs on Private Deck
Electrical Charging Outlet
Small Chair Inside Tent
Wood Fired Stove + Chopped Wood
Safe Place to Store Cooler
Womens + Mens Restrooms
Creekside Restaurant on Site at Resort (Closed during Wedding Ceremonies)
What should I bring Glamping?
It takes a lot less effort to pack for a glamping trip than it would for a traditional camping trip, but I still recommend bringing these items with you. Bear Valley Resort does not allow any hot cooking on site (BBQs, Grills, etc, so keep that in mind while packing your cooler!)
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Jugs of Water
Bug Spray (This is my favorite all-natural spray!)
Liquid IV Hydration Packs (Lifesaver if you get dehydrated easily -25% OFF already applied!)
Sunscreen (Always Use Reef Safe!)
Wine Opener (We keep one just for camping!)
Micellar Water (My favorite Make-Up Removal item for camping!)
A Good Book (I kept saying wish I brought a book!)
Extra Blankets if needed
Altitude Medicine if needed
Dog Water Bowl if needed (We LOVE our Yeti one!)
For a summer camping outfit packing list check out my guide here.
Summer Activities in Bear Valley
If you want to get away from the crowds in Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Bear Valley is a great place to come adventure in the summer. It has all the mountain activities you could want and more!
Enjoy a Lake Day
Lake Alpine is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day and is just down the hill from Bear Valley Resort. Utica and Union Reservoir are two other fantastic lakes to visit if you don't mind driving just a bit further.
Your first stop to finding adventure in Bear Valley should be seeing what water toys and activities Bear Valley Adventure Co. has available. They're a local business situated next to Bear Valley Resort, and they provide everything you'll need to enjoy your Bear Valley weekend.
We rented canoes to explore Lake Alpine and had a great time paddling around, we even spotted a few bald eagles! Bear Valley Adventure Company was a pleasure to work with, and they were able to transport the canoe to the lake while also providing useful information about the area. They have paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and more available for rent here.
Take a Hike
There are plenty of opportunities to get out of the home and into nature, whether you're searching for a challenging day hike or a family-friendly stroll. We enjoyed being able to walk right outside our glamping tents to explore the ski trails right at the resort. See all available hiking trails in Bear Valley here.
Hit the Biking Trails
Alpine County hosts the famous Death Ride, Tour of the California Alps, an annual cycling event that spans 129 miles, 15000 feet, and five mountain passes. Many road cyclists, on the other hand, regard mountain trails as their favorite (and most difficult) terrain. Prepare to climb and take in the views!
Local insights, route information, and bike rentals are available from Bear Valley Adventure Co.
Where to Eat in Bear Valley?
There are limited restaurants in Bear Valley and I highly recommend packing enough food and beverages in your cooler for breakfast, lunch and dinner just in case some restaurants are not open quite yet.
Lake Alpine Lodge
We ate at this restaurant for dinner and were pleasantly impressed by the food! They have a simple menu with mostly burgers and salads, but they also have a complete bar with local beer on draught. We enjoyed relaxing on the patio and taking in the view of the lake! Open from Hours 11am-7pm.
Creekside Bistro is located in Bear Valley Resort and offers finer dining options. Although do note that they close during wedding receptions so you will want to check before going.
Sky High Pizza + Pub
Sky High Pizza and Pub is also located in Bear Valley Resort and offers a wide selection of Italian dishes. They are currently closed until further notice.
We brought some of our own wine and beer provisions and loved this Bourbon Barrel Aged Cab Sauv we found on the Vivino App! USE CODE: VIN-BRITTSBELLAVITA for 15% off your first order.