Hermitfest 2017

The Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association (EPSBA) will be hosting our 11th Annual Scenic Celebration on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 from 11am until 7pm.  We invite you to “Come Play on the Pass” with us and enjoy one of the last free, outdoor, live music events of the year.  Our annual celebration takes place in Hermit Valley and is affectionately referred to as “Hermitfest” by locals and long time attendees.

This year we’ll be enjoying the music of long time Hermitfest favorites Bill Welles & the Distractions and the Grover Anderson Band, who have been with us from the very beginning.  Ten Dollar Pony, who were the heroes of the Butte Fire version of Hermifest, providing day long music for those who escaped the smoke and fire, will be back again this year too.  And, we’ll be welcoming the Magnolia Rhythm Trio, Jimbo Scott and Risky Biscuits (just back from playing the Main Stage at the Strawberry Music Festival).

The music begins around 11am this year and will officially end at 7 pm but those of you who have attended before know that the music may continue around the campfire long into the evening. There will be food and beverages available for purchase.  Tonja and Jana will be back with their locally roasted coffee, specialty teas, cold drinks and who knows what else! The work of a few local artisans will also be available for purchase.  Weather permitting, we will have opportunities for star gazing with telescopes & experts available at around 9pm to help us enjoy the stars, constellations and stories of the night sky.

Hermit Valley has plenty of opportunity for hiking and playing in the river.  Fall weather is generally warm and sunny but a quick afternoon rain shower is always a possibility in the mountains and you’ll want to make sure you bring warm clothing as the mornings and evenings can be quite chilly.  Primitive campsites are available on a first come basis for those wishing to spend the night.  There are sites in the immediate vicinity of the event as well as a few more on the river side of the road.  Additional camping is available nearby in the beautiful Pacific Valley campgrounds.  While we welcome your well-socialized dogs, please keep them on a six-foot leash and do not leave them unattended.  For those of you planning to spend the night, there may be late night treats and coffee and goodies on Sunday morning.

On your way to the celebration in Hermit Valley, 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 Rim Trail or stop in at Big Trees State Park to admire the giant redwoods.   It looks like the pools at Grover Hot Springs State Park, outside Markleeville, will be closed for maintenance this year.

Hermit Valley is located on Highway 4 in the Stanislaus National Forest about 38 miles east of Arnold and 23 miles west of Markleeville on the North Fork of the Mokelumne River at about the 7000 foot elevation.  If you haven’t driven the pass before, remember that we are a scenic byway for good reason.  The higher elevation portion of Highway 4 between Lake Alpine on the west and Silver Creek on the east is narrow, twisty, steep and so worth the drive with beautiful mountain views and 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.

Ebbetts Pass was honored with National Scenic Byway status in 2005.  It is one of only seven nationally-designated byways in California.  The Ebbetts Pass Byway Association is the non-profit organization tasked with preserving, enhancing and promoting the unique resources of the byway.  The EPSBA had 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.

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.  Our 2017 event sponsor is Cal Waste with additional support from the Mary Trotter, Tom’s Automotive, Mark Twain Hospital/Dignity Health, Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, Bear Valley Business Association, Better Altitude Properties, Calaveras Big Trees Association, Little Trees Wellness, Cedar Creek Realty, Merita Callaway, Fox Security, Mary Jane Genochio, Arnold Black Bear Inn, Arnold Meadowmont Lodge, Pioneer Electric, Greg Castleberry, Bob Doten & John Ehret of Barry Ward Realty, Ebbetts Pass Ace Hardware & Lumber Yard, Sierra Photo & Framing and the US Forest Service.

Century 21 Realty, Barry Ward Realty, Ebbetts Pass Lumber& Ace Hardware,

We also want to thank Pioneer Electric, our local media and the many other organizations who all help to promote this event.  We especially want to thank Ron Schaner who coordinates and schedules the musicians every year and is a tireless supporter of live music in the Ebbetts Pass area.

For more information about the Ebbetts Pass area, this event and what’s happening along the byway all year long, visit or or e-mail us at

For other events in the area and lodging information, contact the Calaveras Visitors Bureau at 209-736-0049 ( or the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce at 530-694-2475 (  On the west side, you can also visit, and

For those heading up on Thursday or Friday from the west side, you can expect traffic delays of about 10 minutes from 6am to 6pm around Big Trees State Park where road and drainage upgrades are under construction.

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