At Bear Valley Y Camp, we believe every child should have the opportunity to experience the wonder of a High Sierra Adventure in a safe place. Located near Emigrant Gap in a part of the Sierra with rich gold mining history, Bear Valley has been providing kids with rewarding and life changing experience for more than 80 years.

At camp, safety is our number one priority. In addition to our camp health care staff, all camp leaders are certified with CPR/First Aid. Camp staff encourage children to develop confidence by challenging them to try new things and aim for their highest potential. 

Bear Valley offers youth an exciting and safe community to explore the outdoors, learn gold mining skills of early California settlers, build self-esteem, make lasting friendships and most importantly, have FUN! At camp, youth experience an outdoor group living experience with social, educational and recreational programs that are guaranteed to provide a great summer with memories that will last a lifetime.

Mia Cheeseman
Bear Valley Camp Director



Traditional Camp at Bear Valley is provided in week long sessions, packed full of excitement. Activities include everything from swimming in the river, wilderness arts, hiking, archery, panning for gold, mountain bike ride, dutch oven cooking, games and much more. Evenings are spent playing camp-wide games, night hikes, camp fires, and of course s'mores! At Bear Valley, we believe every child should have the opportunity to splash in the water, camp under the stars, explore nature, follow a trail, and have fun in a safe place

Every day at camp is a new experience filled with lots of activities and fun.

This is what a typical day at camp looks like:
• Morning: Breakfast, Morning Inspiration, Activity Session

• Afternoon: Lunch, Activity Session, All Camp Activity, Cabin Time

• Evening: Dinner, Evening Activity (camp fires, night hikes, s'mores, etc..)

Campers participate in activities and are placed in cabins with other campers of similar age in order to create friendships, and inspire creativity and growth.


AGES 12 - 17

The Counselor in Training program is a two week long leadership development experience for teens who desire to be future leaders at Bear Valley Y Camp. CITs help run evening activities, lead a camp service project, develop leadership skills, engage in team building, and learn all areas of being a camp staff member. CITs are placed in cabins to assist cabin counselors and they participate in a full evaluation at the end of the summer. 


Where parents can be kids again, kids can be friends and friends can be family. so put away your cell phone, turn off the TV and enjoy a weekend in the High Sierra at Bear Valley.

Family camp provides:

• Family friendly activities such as hiking, gold panning, bike rides and campfires
• Delicious healthy meals from Friday's cracker barrel through Sunday's brunch
• Priceless quality time

Stay in one of camps eight rustic old miner's cabins or pitch your family tent in the meadow. All meal included.


Relax, rejuvenate and escape from it all in the wonders of the High Sierra. This weekend retreat focuses on strengthening one's spirit, mind and body.

Women's retreat will include:

• Wellness activities including yoga, meditation and outdoor activities
• Life balance coaching
• Healthy and delicious menu prepared in consultation with a registered dietitian

Perfect for girlfriends weekend or special mother-daughter time.

Cost: $TBD. All meal included.


The Bear Valley staff is the heart of the summer camp experience. Our caring and well trained leaders are positive role models for campers. Staff members are safety conscious, enthusiastic, service minded, caring and respectful of all campers and the camp environment at all times.

Our counselors reside in the cabins, participate in all activities along with their cabin's campers, and guide and mentor the kids through out the week. All staff are required to complete a child abuse prevention program and have undergone criminal background checks.

In addition, all camp staff are required to have current First Aid and CPR certifications. All aquatic related activity will be supervised by a certified lifeguard. The staff to camper ration is never more than 1:8, ensuring personal attention for all campers


All camp meals are served in the historic camp social hall. Meals are balanced, kid friendly and healthy. The camp menu is developed in consultation with a registered dietitian, prepared by the camp's cook and served family style. Sample meals include: High Sierra Chicken, Miners Stew, and Gold Pan Spaghetti. Every meal includes the Bear Valley Y Salad.

We strive to meet any special dietary needs of campers. Please let us know in advance in your camper has special requirements.


Each camper has an opportunity to purchase healthy snacks, drinks and camp apparel at the Bear Valley General Store. The general store is open during campers arrival and departure times. Campers are allowed to visit the store once a day while at camp.


Bear Valley Y Camp is located in the High Sierra, 90 minutes east of Sacramento. Camp is on Bowman Lake Road, off Highway 20, between Nevada City and Interstate 80.

Click on the map for detailed directions.



There are four options to return your completed packet and reserve your week at Bear Valley Y Camp, as well as choosing your camp session.

Mail: Send the completed packet to Bear Valley Y Camp Registration, 1926 V Street, Sacramento, CA 95818

Email: Send the compete packet to

Fax: Include a cover letter and fax completed packet to (916) 456-8155

Walk-In: Completed packets can be dropped off at the front desk of any of the YMCA Service Area offices in Sacramento, Oroville, Marysville or Woodland. For locations, click here.

Registration for each session will close two weeks prior to the start date. A non-refundable $75 per-week deposit is required to reserve your child's spot. A fully completed healthy history form must be provided prior to camp. All campers receive a health screening on the first day of camp. Campers are required to obtain a physical exam by a licensed physician within two years of the dates the campers will attend camp. All campers and families must also read and sign the YMCA Camper Code of Conduct form. Final payment are due three weeks prior to your camper's departure.