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.
Summary: 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.
Recommended Route: LiveWire
Other recommended trails in the same area: kickback, mineshaft, coaster
Review Date July 2, 2012
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 4 of 5
Technical Difficulty 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Reviewed by: Chase
Summary: 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!
Summary: 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.
Recommended Route: 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)
Summary: 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.
Recommended Route: 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.
Other recommended trails in the same area: 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.
Summary: 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.
Recommended Route: Livewire for jumps/speed, Big trees + mineshaft for moderate tech with low traffic and great singletrack.