Hermitfest – Annual Ebbetts Pass Scenic Celebration & Music Festival

Unfortunately, the continuing covid threat and, more importantly, the wildfire risk this summer have lead to our cancelling our beloved event for 2021.  We will miss you all and hope to be back in 2022.  Please watch our homepage and FB page for updates on everything happening on the Pass.  As of September 1st, the Forest Service has closed all Forest in California due to wildfires so it appears that we made the right choice…please keep our forests and our firefighters in your thoughts as they work to get a handle on these fires.

It is with great regret that we have canceled Hermitfest for 2020 due to COVID-19 constraints and concerns for the wellbeing of our community and our visitors.  We know many of you look forward to spending some time in the mountains with us each year and we plan to be back in 2021 with some of your favorite past performers and a few new faces. 

In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy the mountains when you can, and help us keep our communities safe and our roads, forests, lakes, & streams clean and beautiful.  Remember that services are limited at this time.  Toilets and dumpsters may be unavailable.  Plan accordingly and leave the forest the way you found it so that everybody may enjoy it now and into the future.  Wildfire season is here so be especially careful while visiting and wear your mask when shopping, dining, or visiting our local businesses.

Watch our FB page for opportunities to hear some of our past performers online while in-person performances are on hold. We know it’s not a replacement for Hermitfest but it’s a chance to support local musicians and maybe even purchase a CD or download from some of your favorites.

Mark you calendar now for Hermitfest 2021 – September 11th, 2021.  Vendors interested in exhibiting at the event should contact us at

The Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association (EPSBA) will be hosting our 13th Annual Scenic Celebration on Saturday, September 7th, 2019.

We invite all you music and mountain fans to “Come Party on the Pass” with us and enjoy one of the last free, outdoor, live music events of the year. The centerpiece of our celebration will again be our day long, live music event in Hermit Valley which we affectionately refer to as “Hermitfest” but visitors should definitely make a weekend of it and spend some time checking out the entire Scenic Byway from Arnold to Markleevile.

This year we’ll be enjoying the music of longtime Hermitfest favorites Bill Welles and Grover Anderson who have been with us from the very beginning.  We’ll also be welcoming Bodie 601, Beans Souza, and the Hermt AllStars featuring members of bands who have played Hermitfest in the past.

The music begins around 11 am this year and will officially end at 8 pm but those of you who have attended before know that the music may continue around the campfires long into the evening.  There will be food by local chef, Melanie Klann, 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.

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 will be late night treats and coffee and goodies on Sunday morning.

Join the Bear Valley Trails Stewardship folks in the morning for a Trail Work Event, combined with a hike (almost all downhill), that

starts at the top of the Ski Area.  They will carpool to this drop-off point which has some fantastic views, so if you have a pack, bring your camera!  We will hike with light-work for 1 mile down the Corral Hollow ridge to the trailhead.

(click on map for a larger view).

TRAIL WORK: The Elusive Trail is 1.5 miles long and needs some logs removed, a few minor re-routes and some drainage and tread repairs.  At the end of this trail, there is a 1 mile hike down the Corral Hollow OHV Route to Highway 4 and BV.  All together, this combined work/walk is 3.5 miles, (again downhill), from the top of the Ski Area (drop off point), to BV at Highway 4.

MEET at the Bear Valley Adventure Company at 8:30 am where we will have a quick tool safety briefing, then car pool to the top-of-the-world.

BRING water, snacks, gloves wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and don’t forget a hat.  Tools will be provided to all those who do not have their own, but if you have a favorite, please bring it along. 

For more details, see: BearValleyTrails.Org for the latest information and more or email Mike@bearValleyTrails.Org

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 Calaveras Big Trees State Park to admire the Giant Sequoias.  It looks like the pools at Grover Hot Springs State Park, outside Markleeville, will be open this year but it never hurts to double check at 530-694-2248.

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 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 2019 partners and sponsors include:

Alpine County Chamber of Commerce

Cal Waste
Cedar Creek Realty
Caldwell Banker – Action Realty – Mary Trotter
Bear Valley Business Association / Trail Stewardship
Mark Twain Hospital / Dignity Health
Little Trees Wellness
Tom’s Automotive
Fox Security
John Ehret and Barry Ward of Barry Ward Realty
Ebbetts Pass Lumber & Ebbetts Pass Ace Hardware
Sierra Photo & Framing
Bill Senger
Calaveras Chronicle
Calaveras Enterprise
The Pine Tree
US Forest Service

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

We also want to thank the Calaveras Chronicle, other local media, Travis Branco (our poster designer), Sierra Photo & Farming (our poster printer) 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 for this event every year and is a tireless supporter of the byway.

For other events in the area that weekend 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 more information about Hermit Valley visit:

This event takes place on National Forest Service land, and operates under a special use permit in the Stanislaus National Forest.