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Hermitfest West – Annual Ebbetts Pass Scenic Celebration & Music Festival

The Byway Association holds an annual Celebration of the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway on the first Saturday after Labor Day each year.  Known as Hermitfest West, it takes place on the Grizzly Ballfield in Bear Valley. We hope you can join us in 2024.  Feel free to share any ideas on ways we can improve your event experience by emailing us at info@scenic4.org

Those wishing to join us as vendors or volunteers may email us at HermitfestWest@gmail.com or download their vendor application here. Those wishing to support the event financially and help us keep it free to attend may download a sponsorship form here.

We invite you to come “Play on the Pass” with us and enjoy one of the year’s last free, outdoor, live music events. The centerpiece of our celebration will again be our day-long, live music event at the Ball Field in Bear Valley, affectionately known as “Hermitfest West.” Visitors should consider making a weekend of it and check out the entire Scenic Byway from Arnold to Markleeville. This is a family-friendly event, and we welcome your children, but please keep the little ones in your sight.  We will have an expanded children’s activity area with games and toys.  While there will be folks monitoring the area, this is not a place to drop off your kids and expect supervision by others.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be available for sale, but you are also welcome to bring your own.  Don’t forget a chair, blanket, warm clothes for the evening (temperatures change quickly in the mountains), and your dancing shoes.  Please be considerate of others and keep any shade covers or tall chairs further toward the back.  And, of course, we’ll have a little Hermit and Byway swag available for sale including t-shirts and more.

Hermitfest – Grover Anderson with Jimbo Scott

CAMPING: Forest Service dispersed camping is available in the area with limited spaces directly adjacent to the ballfield. You’ll want to get there early to be near all the action. Additional camping is available at Lake Alpine, Big Meadow, Silvertip, Spicer, Pacific Valley, and Hermit Valley. Glamping is available at the Bear Valley Ski Resort, and the Lodge in Bear Valley will offer our attendees a special price. Some vacation rentals may also be available in the area. You may also consider lodging and vacation rentals in the Arnold area. Please respect the guidelines of your hosts whether you are camping or taking advantage of lodging opportunities by leaving the area and the forest cleaner than you found it. Given the dry conditions, we encourage you to skip the campfire this year.  As of this date (a few weeks before the event) campfire permits are available at the Ranger Stations, but that may change as the season progresses. 

Additional information on Forest Service campgrounds and restrictions is available here and here. They’ve asked us to remind you to camp at least 100′ from trails and high water lines of creeks.

PARKING: Generous event parking will be available in the South Lot at Bear Valley (follow the signs).  A trail leads from the parking lot to a highway crossing directly across from the Event Area.  Please be cautious when driving in that area, as pedestrians may be crossing the road.  Limited event parking is available in a small area between the Ballfield and the highway.  Parking closer to the event is reserved for event staff, vendors, and those with accessible parking tags.  Feel free to use that loop to drop off your family, friends, and gear, but please move your car promptly to another parking area so others can get through.

See a MAP of the event area here: Event Area Map-DRAFT.

DOGS: While we welcome your well-socialized dogs, please keep them on a six-foot leash and do not leave them unattended or locked in a vehicle. 

KIDS: We welcome your children and even have activities for them but please don’t leave them unattended!

MUSIC: See the 2024 Performance Schedule, coming soon.  Expect to see old favorites and a new headliner.  We’ve adjusted the schedule so the headliner will play earlier followed by an opportunity for the artists to play together and a late night jam session that you’ll be welcome to join.

THINGS TO DO: If you are approaching the event site from the east, stop by the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Markleeville, where they will have maps, cold drinks, and lots of information about things to do over the weekend.  On the Arnold side, you may want to visit the Logging Museum, hike a portion of the Arnold Rim Trail, or stop at Calaveras Big Trees State Park to admire the Giant Sequoias.  Or stop at the Calaveras Visitor & Wine Center in Murphys on the corner of Main Street & Big Trees Road. The pools at Grover Hot Springs State Park, outside Markleeville, will be closed again this year. 530-694-2248.

There is a nice, very easy, 3 mile trail leaving from the front of the event area and terminating at Lake Alpine.  The trail is easy to follow and appropriate for hiking or biking.  It roughly parallels the highway until it turns down towards the lake.  There is signage, and the trail is in good condition.  It might make a nice Sunday hike before heading out.  We will have a few Sunday morning activities in the ballfield including music and a free yoga session between led by popular local teacher, Alex Mannos.

HOW TO FIND US: Bear Valley is located on Highway 4 in the Stanislaus National Forest at about the 7100-foot elevation, about 25 miles east of Arnold, CA, and about 36 miles west of Markleeville.  If you haven’t driven the pass before, remember that we are a scenic byway for good reason.  If you are approaching from the east, the higher elevation portion of Highway 4 between Silver Creek on the east and Lake Alpine on the west is narrow, twisty, and steep, with many opportunities to get out of your car and take a closer look.  The route over the top is not recommended for large RVs or trailers.  If you are approaching from the west, there are no restrictions.

BACKGROUND: Ebbetts Pass was honored with National Scenic Byway status in 2005. It is one of only eight nationally-designated byways in California.  The Ebbetts Pass Byway Association is a non-profit organization tasked with preserving, enhancing, and promoting the unique resources of the byway. The EPSBA  developed a guidebook for the area, which is available on our website for those who want to know more about the history, geology, wildlife, and recreation available in the area or purchase one along with your event t-shirt during the festival.

This event is made possible by the generous support of our event partners and sponsors, so make sure to visit them and let them know you appreciate their support of this event.

2024 Major Sponsors:

Calaveras Visitors Bureau
The Matuszak Family

Our 2023 partners and sponsors include:

The USFS, County of Alpine, Bear Valley & Arnold Businesses & Communities including our major sponsors:
Cedar Creek Realty, Bear Valley Resort, Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, and the Calaveras Visitors Bureau

We also want to thank Lilyana Bone, who created the poster and artwork for us.

For more information about Hermit Valley, visit:

www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/stanislaus/recarea/
www.ebbettspassadventures.com/lodging/hermit_valley_camping
www.facebook.com/pages/Hermit-Valley
www.sierranevadageotourism.org/content/hermit-valley
www.californiajeeper.com/deerval/review