Bear Valley Ski Resort Alpine County, California

Calaveras County has long been known for its annual event in which the jumping frogs spring into action the third week in May each year. Gold Rush, then you may be surprised on your next vacation. It's also about beautiful forests, mountain skiing, lakes, dining, wineries, golf and even luxury hotels. It's hard to believe that things have changed much since gold was discovered in this region in the mid-1800's. The old buildings are crumbling and ghost towns are transforming into modern villages, much to the chagrin of some. But California's steam roller moves on, and unless the land is within a state or national park system,  it is subject to the same rules of the road that drove California gold miners in their thirst for riches.

Modern day prospectors are developers, and just plain folks who seek to move away from the city to enjoy a rural environment rich with culture, history and a slower pace. For travelers, the visit to Californiaa's gold country is paved with farms selling produce, wineries, golf courses and miles of forests and trails to explore.

Rolling highways that flow from gently sloped foothills into steeper, narrower mountain roads offer travelers to Califonria gold country an opportunity to explore the Sierra region that is revered, preserved and sometimes feared. Recently designated as a California Scenic Byway,

by American settlers who got caught in winter storms, suffered ills and met their fates from
55 Miles

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway
Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Overview
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Photo: Cape Horn Vista

Cape Horn Vista (CA) [1]

In the heart of the Sierra Nevada and between the recreational havens of Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway meanders through seemingly endless miles of natural wonders. Climbing thousands of feet in elevation through spectacular untouched wilderness, Ebbetts Pass welcomes outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds to enjoy pristine Sierra lakes, massive sequoia redwoods, and stunning panoramic vistas from many different peaks. With two state parks, Stanislaus National Forest, and various designated wilderness areas, the land surrounding Ebbetts Pass is the wildest of any Sierra road.

Glacially carved valleys and canyons flank you on both sides as you travel along miles of intimate communion with the natural world. A glimpse off the side of the pass rewards you with a good look at ancient volcanic peaks and snowcapped granite ridges that extend for hundreds of miles in all directions. Mysterious forests and wilderness hint at a delicate untrammeled microcosm of life flourishing with minimal interference. Encounter a spectacular palette of colors in the bright blue sky, red cedar trunks, bursting wildflowers, earthy granite grays, and deep green conifer forests.
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Photo: Telemark Skiing at Bear Valley

Telemark Skiing at Bear Valley (CA)

Outdoor recreation opportunities abound year-round on Ebbetts Pass. During winter months you can spend the afternoon at Cottage Springs Resort, for example, where families enjoy tubing and skiing. Downhill ski or snowboard enthusiasts discover widely diverse terrain serviced by 11 lifts at Bear Valley Mountain Resort. Bear Valley also offers one of the nation's largest cross country ski areas where you can experience quiet communion with nature and pause to reflect on sweeping views of snow-covered mountain ranges.

Summertime recreation is virtually unlimited in its scale and variety. Carson River invites kayakers of all skill levels to play among white rapids and steep canyons. Fly-fishermen discover deep pools and desire never to leave their banks. While nearby Yosemite draws masses of rock climbers to its valley, the land along Ebbetts Pass offers abundant rock climbing opportunities as well. Finely featured granite cliffs and boulders beckon climbers of all skill levels and disciplines. If your passions lean toward the solitude and adventure of backpacking, your options are equally diverse. Access the world-famous Pacific Crest trail that runs from Mexico to Canada, or spend weeks walking among the humbling giant sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
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Photo: Big Trees North Grove Trail

Big Trees North Grove Trail (CA)

For many, an adventure in the outdoors provides the ultimate form of refuge and relaxation. If your tolerance for the steady drone of civilization and the cacophony of city life reaches its limit, add a journey along Ebbetts Pass to your escape plan.

The byway begins along State Route 4 in Calaveras County at Arnold, California. Travel eastward approximately 56 miles to the end of SR 4 at the junction of SR 89 in Alpine County. Continue north approximately 4 miles on SR 89 to the town of Markleeville.