A Sierra gem that keeps you coming back

By Kristin Conard

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Between Tahoe and Yosemite on California State Route 4 is Bear Valley, a small and scenic destination with a rich history and year-round fun.

Bear Valley is set in the midst of the central Sierra mountains, along the 61-mile Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway. This steep and winding road runs through the mountains along a trail that was once used by Miwok and Washoe Native Americans. California pioneer John Ebbetts used this passage in 1851 and thought it would be a good route for the transcontinental railroad. While that idea didn’t work out, it did become a well traveled wagon trail and the pass now bears Ebbetts’ name.

At 7,000 feet, this high alpine sector was first named Grizzly Bear Valley, and it was developed as a ski resort in the 1960s. Bruce Orvis Sr. envisioned a sports complex …