Campers planning to visit the Tahoe National Forest this summer should be aware that due to extreme fire danger, campfires are forbidden, even in campgrounds where they have traditionally been allowed. Charcoal fires are also banned. Some campgrounds have okayed the use of camp stoves if a permit is obtained. For those of us who enjoy solitude and are admittedly a bit selfish, the campfire ban is advantageous in that the flocks of folks which typically fill the forest during these peak weeks of summer, seem to have opted out this camping season. My husband and I recently spent three nights at Bear Valley Campground as the sole campers there, the first time in five years that we’ve experienced such a quiet stretch, including stays in the spring and fall. On the fourth night, a young man, Vlad, arrived with his dog in a VW bus. Vlad had just graduated San Jose State and, to celebrate, was taking a leave of absence from his job as a mechanic to travel to Yosemite. We invited Vlad to join us out on the bend at sunset where we had become accustomed to warming ourselves by the radiant vista. The bend–nothing more in mid-afternoon than a rough stretch of road with an unremarkable view–revealed in the slanted evening light, canyons extending to Sierraville. On that night it became a sanctuary, a place to fellowship over God’s masterful artistry in the absence of campfires and s’mores.
Location: Bear Valley Campground is located 17 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89, then 6 empty miles east on Cottonwood Creek, an unpaved road. The campground features 10 free campsites with one source of non-potable water (boil for at least 10 minutes) and 2 vault toilets. This year there is no host at the campground but rangers do make daily rounds.
Where to Buy Supplies: It is possible from Bear Valley Campground to access both Sierraville and Loyalton via scenic TNF unpaved roads. My husband and I, wanting to avoid the crowds that are Truckee at this time of year, decided to check them out. We needed to purchase a Tahoe National Forest Map so we traveled first to Sierraville where the Ranger Station is open M-F, 7:00-4:00. We were expecting to discover a selection of maps but instead found one, a small offering of brochures, and a somewhat indifferent staff. A short distance away at the gas station, however, we were greeted cheerily by a shopkeeper who answered all of our questions about the area, even providing (accurately) the location of a nearby spot where we could find cell reception for our AT&T phones (a mile up the road, at the corner of the first cow pasture.) We purchased very few items at the gas station which has a monopoly on groceries and sundries in town but makes up for its high prices with superior customer service.
Also pricey is Leonard’s grocery in Loyalton. Loyalton is a peaceful, picturesque town and I’m tempted to say that the shopping experience is worth the high prices but the frugal traveler in me balks; so for now, back to Truckee it is. If you do opt for the experience, Leonard’s is a well-stocked grocery–whereas the gas station in Sierraville, while conveniently located near the ranger station, has a very limited selection.
21 thoughts on “Bear Valley Campground: Sunset”
We were blessed to see it. 🙂
We are currently enjoying sunsets similarly colored in McCall, ID, due to many fires in the area. No campfires here either. You’re right – the quiet is lovely.
A sign of the times in the West, these colors. Yesterday I was checking the weather forecast in Imlay, NV and it said “SMOKE.”
Thank you! 🙂
Sunset over the mountains…heavenly.
I love the view of sunset over the mountains. breath-taking ! Thanks a lot for sharing your beautiful shot with us. 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind and generous thoughts. I am delighted that you enjoyed this photo and I so very much appreciate your support. — Viv 🙂
You are most welcome and I realy like it very much, Vivian.
Beautiful sunset! Thanks for sharing!
I just popped over to your site and admired many of your photographs. Thank you for visiting and for leaving me such a nice note! 🙂
This is beautiful !
Very grand, very beautiful! One awesome place! Thanks for sharing this with us, dear Vivian.
Dear Vivian, you’re blog is so nice … that’s why I’ve nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. 🙂 Congratulations for everything! 🙂
Warm hugs from Romania
Thank you kindly, Cristina, I am honored! All my best to you, Vivian
Dear Vivian I am glad to send you this award because you deserve it :), wish you the best and enjoy a lovely winter!
Best wishes, Cristina
We were blessed with such beautiful sunsets there. Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year!