Biz Beat

What is glamping? Bear Valley Mountain Resort wants to help you find out

You want to pitch a tent. She wants to rent a room. Now you can meet in the luxurious middle at the new Glamp Ground at Bear Valley Mountain Resort.

The trend of “glamping” – short for glamorous camping – offers the amenities of a hotel room with the outdoor access of a tent. While Bear Valley has been long known as a winter sports getaway, the resort is making a concerted effort to become a summer destination. And it all starts with its new glamping site which opened July 1.

“The glamping experience is meant to bring all the comforts of a hotel room or your home to the outdoors and spectacular scenery here at Bear Valley,” said Bear Valley Resort General Manager Andrea Young. “It allows you to experience the magnificent outdoors environment we have here in Bear Valley along with the creature comforts of home.”

Perched at cliff’s edge at the base of the resort’s ski slope, the Glamp Ground features 15 raised semi-permanent cloth tents complete with front porches. Inside each has a queen-sized memory foam bed, wood-burning stove, chairs, tables, carpeting, linens, towels, electrical outlets and even wi-fi access. All that luxury in each 12-foot by 14-foot structure runs on individual and wind power cells, to keep the operation sustainable.

Still it’s the view that really sells it. Every tent opens up to an unobstructed view of the still snow-tinged Mokelumne Peak and green Mokelumne Valley below. New Director of Summer Recreation Tom Hinojosa said when they first posted pictures of the glamping tents on the resort website, people thought they were fake. They were just too perfect.

“But then they come see it and realize it’s legit,” he said. “And then they get really excited.”

Indeed it’s hard to oversell the view, which provides sweeping panoramas of the Mokelumne Wilderness. The site even has a built-in soundtrack of natural waterfalls caused by the snow melt from the skiing area above. The glamping tents are surrounded by the U.S. Forest Service-run Mokelumne Wilderness.

“It’s so peaceful and quiet and then you can pop into the tent and check your email,” said Rosie Sundell, Bear Valley Director of Resort Revenue.

Just some 70 steps away from the tents, glamping guests have 24-hour access to a full comfort lounge in the ski lodge. Inside there are restrooms and shower facilities, vending machines, bear lockers and more. Yes, it’s still camping so there is a chance the big guys might come lumbering through so food must be locked away overnight.

But you won’t even have to pack your own grub, if you don’t want, because the resort provides continental breakfasts Saturday and Sunday mornings and a buffet dinner Saturday evening included in all weekend stays. Guests also receive a welcome gift basket with prosecco and snacks and have access to the lodge’s Monte Wolfe Saloon, a well-known winter watering hole for area skiers, which will have live music on Saturday nights.

Glamping guests can also hop onto the resort’s free shuttle service to the Bear Valley Lodge and Village as well as nearby Lake Alpine. And the surrounding area has abundant hiking, biking and other recreation opportunities. A stargazing deck is situated between the tents and a nightly bonfire has s’mores roasting.

Rooms run $119 a night for weekdays, $139 for weekends (two-night stays are required for advance weekend reservations). You can also bring Fido along for the fun as dogs are allowed with a $25 per stay fee. Tents sleep two, though up to four can fit with an additional fee if extra beds/meals are required. You’re also welcome to bring your own air mattress at no charge.

All of this is just the start of the resort’s summer plans. In coming seasons they hope to expand the fancy camping concept to other sites on the property and possibly even the top of the ski summit. Skyline Investments, which purchased the resort in 2014, has invested $5 million in a new detachable ski lift that can transport folks up the hill in the summer.

“This is just the beginning,” Hinojosa promised.

For more information or to reserve a glamping tent call 209-753-2327 ext. 100 or visit