Northstar at Tahoe - TRAIL

Northstar at Tahoe - Trail, Truckee, Bikeparks

Plenty of trails from beginner to expert. Popular trails include Meander, which is a smooth, intermediate singletrack, Flameout, which is an advanced, technical singletrack, and Woods, which is also an advanced, technical singletrack. Village run is an easy fireroad the runs alongside of meander, but is very rough. It takes a good downhill rig to go through it comfortably. TFT is a trail that's not on the map, but is marked. It comes off of boondocks, and is an expert run. Very steep, and filled with 6" deep loose pumice and large rocks through the whole thing. You can stay within the ski resort in their condos, or anywhere else in the area. (There are a lot) Best Western is only 3 miles away, and there are numerous other motels along 267 by the lake.

User Reviews (52)

Showing 1-10 of 52  
tpee4cornholio   Weekend Warrior [Aug 13, 2012]

Had a great time, me and two of my friends have been planing for about 2 months to try Northstar out, we read all of the reviews and still were unsure about how this place was going to be. All three of us are casual riders 35-42 yrs of age. as it got closer to the day we went, we were watching a lot of Northstar YouTube vids, there were a lot of people in full pads and a lot of people crashing, it started to scare us off a little (hey we are almost middle aged). when we got there our plan was to hit the green (easy) runs first as it turns out those runs were actually a little harder because they were not groomed very well and quite bump/rocky, they were long, but hard on the body. at the end of 2 easy runs we would cut into some of the Blue runs which were pretty cool single track wooded runs, little more technical. After lunch we decided to give Livewire a try and ended up riding multiple times, this run even though it was a black diamond was actually a more comfortable run to ride, it flowed well and even though there were a lot of jumps they were not bad if you just wanted to roll through them.

we were only equipped with standard mtb helmets but there were quite a few people with full face helmets and full body pads. Next time I attempt this I will probably pick up some shin/knee/elbow protections just to be safe.

all and all we had a great time, and it wasn't too difficult for my abilities I will definitely ride northstar again.

Customer Service

LiveWire

Similar Products Used: kickback, mineshaft, coaster
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
Chase   Downhiller [Jul 02, 2012]

Northstar rocks... I recommend riding on Fridays as they are open 10-7 instead of 10-5. Be weary of Northstar dirt as the 'brown pow' dirty/dust can be deep and make turning interesting. This place is a blast to ride!

Customer Service

Livewire : )

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Moosey   Downhiller [Apr 21, 2012]

Northstar is a downhill park. Keep that in mind if you want to come here. My first time i rode my dads 1997 C'dale super V (3-4inches of travel, XC geo) and it was a blast. I rode the blue trails, and that was it. It was my first time really mountain biking, but seeing some of the jumps on livewire is what made me want to become a real Dher.
Now i ride there once or twice or maybe three times a month in the summer, and love it. I got my 8" travel bike, but have even been there on a slopestyle bike and loved it. Livewire is obviously an amazing trail, but I avoid it in the middle of the day, because it gets massively crowded. I'm not the fastest rider, but i do often catch up to people and they aren't always quick to pull over and let me go by. If i rider is faster than me though, i try to pull over before they reach me.
There are quite a bit of posers there (rich old men with $5000 bikes that are slow, and kids with janky old bikes that claim to be wold cup level riders) but what lift serviced bike park won't you find that at? Just ignore them and have a fun day riding. Show them who's better with riding, not talking and yelling.
Despite the tools, There are even more nice people at northstar. I usually go solo, and I have never had a chairlift ride that I didn't enjoy. One of my favorite rides was with an older fellow who was an XCer by nature who was looking for some adventure. We talked about our styles of riding, gave each other some advice, and just talked and had a good time. Usually when I'm solo a group of people will offer to let me ride with them. Pretty neat.
Trails are mostly gnarly, but that's what i like. I've seen people handle the terrain pretty well with Giant Reigns and such, and I mob my Felt Compulsion on there from time to time, but it's always more fun on a squishy 7-8" bike. The black diamonds are actually pretty easy, just go slow and watch out for faster riders. Flameout, phodogg, livewire, even gypsy can be managed on a AM bike.
Just go and have fun. If you want a true DH experience, Northstar won't disappoint.

Customer Service

Warm-up: Flameout-Phodog

Favorite mid-day run: Boondocks-Upper mineshaft-Liftline-Jump park (medium line right now, working on the big line)

Other mention able runs: Stix and stones, hop off halfway and catch phodogg. If you like it really rocky just finish stix, but the last section is really rough.

Gypsy (dont let the start of the trail fool you, its one of the hardest parts)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Swell Guy   Downhiller [Feb 29, 2012]

Purpose of this review is to balance out the negative feedback here. I get a season pass at North* every year, and its the best (almost only) bike park California has to offer, much less the entire West Coast of the US. For lift-assisted riding, besides Whistler, it's the best in the west.

Decent selection of trails that tends to the experienced/expert level. While there are green and blue trails, I would not recommend that you ride those since they tend to not be maintained as well as the other stuff and the other stuff is able to be ridden by a competent cyclist. Trails are dusty because this is California, and you just have to deal with that. Also, as a result of this, there are many rocks which are loose from riding, again, just part of the California DH experience.

Customer Service

Everyone should try to ride on the Zephyr (right side) of the mountain. Livewire is North*'s equivalent to Aline at Whistler (Aline is better), fast, flowy, with many table tops and a few pseudo (not real) doubles. Everything is rollable for those that don't jump, but if you're going slow (yes, this means you) please stay to the right. Once you get Livewire wired, you can step up your game to Gypsy which, while also flowy and tends to be fast, is more technical that Livewire. If you are really on your game, hit Boondocks on the Zephyr side. But, better bring your A game.

Similar Products Used: You can also ride the Vista side (left) side of the mountain for more traditional technical gnar-gnar, as opposed to the bump and jump of the Zephyr lift, however, be careful. While you can easily ride Upper Karpiel, avoid Lower Karpiel and Dog Bone at all costs unless you are truly fond of the white-knuckle gnar and walking your bike. Flameout, Pho Dog, Sinuous, are all fun trails.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
kels0260   Weekend Warrior [Jul 17, 2011]

Northstar mtn bike park is a ton of fun, but does leave you a bit beat and tired at the end of the day. Very rocky, and lots of technical riding with fun obstacles and features. If it's yor first time going, realize this is a rough place that calls for atleast a full suspension bike, more travel the better! My wife and I go to northstar on avg of once a week, it's a blast! One thing that takes getting use to, is the over abundance of 'punk kids' and posers that give the park a somewhat competitive and fear of others running you down feeling. Expect rough/technical terrain, but it's all such great practice for your tech riding skills.

Customer Service

Livewire for jumps/speed, Big trees + mineshaft for moderate tech with low traffic and great singletrack.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
DirtKing   Weekend Warrior [May 11, 2011]

If you are an XC rider N* is not the place to go. If you want to beat the crap out of you and your bike (they are made for this) N* is the place to go. You need to have your sh*t together when you ride here or you'll leave bleading. From an Aerobic aspect, riding downhill will take it out of you, just in a different way then climbing.

Customer Service

Karp, Sticks, everything else

Similar Products Used: All of them
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Ciaran Mauro   Downhiller [Aug 13, 2010]

How to start..
Amazing. As my preffered riding of choice is Downhill, I only hit the famed Livewire 3 times. Though I can definetely understand why that would be an absolutely prime trail for freeriders, but for me, it was too little gnar and too many jumps.

So my trail of choice was Gypsy. It is a technical downhill trail with drops up to 5 feet [depending how flowy and fast you hit them] and super gnarly rock gardens in addition to fast flowy descents. Gypsy sports one big step down, 10 - 28 feet depending how fast and big you hit it, and it has great tile berms and super fast areas but beware of newbies. I got stuck behind them and lost good runs because of it.

Boondocks, on the other hand, is a little slower, yet still a blast. It has repeated awesome rock drops and one 6'+ drop to tile. Later on the trail there are doubles and hucker jumps that are a blast to hit. I wrecked after the big drop to tile where the trail goes calmly and then starts getting techy again, and there is a rockface u ride down into a right hand turn then onto rock gardens. I hucked it going 15mph thinking it was a drop and the front dove to a crash. But I'd still hit it again, Just less speedily and more cautiously.

Even though people hit them with less, I'd say 130mm, or 5" of travel front and rear would be the least possible amount of suspension to hit the trails without having to crawl down them. I rode a 180mm Iron Horse 7Point with a Zocchi 66 down them and had to set everything super soft, and with little compression.

Low aerobic difficulty because of lifts.

Customer Service

Go up the 6 seater lift with random gondola cars on it, and when you get off turn right and right again, and Livewire should be in front of you. To the left of the Livewire trailhead, you can go along the fireroad to get to Gypsy, or farther along, Boondocks. [or other below double diamont trails] Each takes about 7 minutes to get down, without any brakes and holding good speed. Livewire takes 4:30 to 6 minutes depending on how you hold your speed through the pathetically run down berms.

Similar Products Used: Boondocks
Gypsy
Livewire
Liftline
Karpiel
ect.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
mrcerebral   Cross Country Rider [Jul 26, 2010]

I feel compelled to write a review of Northstar immediately following a full day (10:00 to 5:00) of riding two days ago.

First, I am a cross-country rider with over 15 years experience. I am fairly fit and just returned from a two-day trip with one day at Northstar and the following day riding Hole in the Ground Trail. Two weeks ago, I rode Mammoth Mountain and Lower Rock Creek Trail.

This review is for those of you who are cross-country riders curious about the lift-fed trail experience and those who want to know how Northstar compares.

First, my partner and I were nearly an anomaly. We only saw a couple of other non-DH rigs (my partner rode a hardtail - I rode a Blur). Virtually everyone had a full-face helmet and some sort of pads. Half (more?) of the riders were poser “gnarly dudes” and half were friendly and stoked on the riding.

We rode Black Diamonds - Gypsy, Livewire, Flameout, Playground and WT. Blue Squares - Coaster, Booster, Big Trees, Woods, Tahoe Trail, Mountain View, Tahoe Rim, Knick-Knack, Paddy-Wack and Frolick. This includes climbing over Mt. Pluto and catching the Tahoe Rim trail for about 5 miles on the backside and then climbing back to Sawmill Lake.

The Black Diamonds were hard on our bikes. They tended to be loose and chewed-up from big, heavy bikes sliding a lot. It looked similar to horse or motorcycle damage. Without a fully-plush suspension, they didn’t flow well. It was more like a battle crashing through the loose rocks and dust. It did really help us to hone-in on skills for long descents like Thunder Mountain/Horse Canyon that get chewed up by motorcycles. We enjoyed Livewire with its watered trail, fast tabletops and burms. Unfortunately, it’s the trail everyone prefers and we risked getting run down every time we dropped in. We ended up doing Big Trees to Flameout to Woods, connecting it from the top to the bottom (Gondola). The Blue trails had more flow and were less beat. They also had some cool features (walkway drops), but they didn’t require the hard braking of the Black Diamonds.

If you are a cross-country rider, the Blue trails resemble most of the technical trails we ride. Don’t forget to check out the climb over to snag the section of Rim Trail (flow and scenery). The Blacks are rideable, but beat you up. The Double Blacks are difficult to onsight due to many blind features (walk over them), are chewed-up and lack flow. At the end of the day we were beat up. My fork blew and both brakes needed to be bled.

Overall, we had a blast. But despite the good time, we agreed that we probably won’t return. The trails were fun and challenging enough, but the scene wasn’t for us. Too many “warrior” dudes and tattoos. I’ll treat it like many of the trails I’ve ridden over the years – I had to do it once, but once is enough.

Customer Service

Livewire, Big Trees, Flameout, Woods.

Similar Products Used: Thunder Mountain
Hole in the Ground
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Nobby T   Downhiller [Jan 22, 2010]

Most of the trails at Northstar are Rough and Rocky, often people don't carry enough speed and complain about the rocks. This is not a place to ride with less than six inches of travel front and rear. I would recommend full pads too, at least Knee pads and a Full face helmet. I Went for the First time last summer and had an absolute blast. Again This is not a place for hardtails of 4X bikes unless you are a similar skill level to Brian Lopes or Dan Atherton, or are only going to ride livewire. I will definetly be returning next summer.

Customer Service

Boondocks for the Technical Descent, Livewire for the Jumps and flatout speed. Gypsy for a warmup.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Need to go freeriding again   Cross Country Rider [Oct 07, 2009]

Northstar is amazing. Rental bikes are okay. Livewire, Gypsy,Boondocks, and Karpiel are the best trials i have ever rode.This was my first time downhilling and to my surprise blacks are beginner trials and double blacks take some skill. They are all full of jumps(livewire), drops(boondocks), and highly technical terain(boondocks). This place is amazing but too expense for me to go again for a while (only if you rent pads, a bike, and full face helmet. Its totally worth the money though. Dont go to the blues first. Flameoout has a little of everything. make flameout your first run.

Customer Service

Gypsy and Boondocks.

Similar Products Used: Livewire, Dogbone, Phodog, and Sticks and Stones. aLL AMAZING
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 52  

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