Northstar California Resort

#6 in Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
Northstar California Resort picture
Northstar California Resort
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Courtesy Vail Resorts

Key Info

5001 Northstar Dr.

Details

Recreation, Skiing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Although it's significantly smaller than Squaw Valley or Heavenly Resort – boasting a mere 3,170 acres and almost 100 runs – Northstar California Resort is often rated among the top ski resorts in the West. In fact, Northstar had to construct an "express gondola" to accommodate the number of people who couldn't wait to hit the slopes. 

Aside from skiing and snowboarding, other Northstar activities include swimming, ice skating (roller skating in summer) and snowshoeing. Also, youngsters can have the time of their lives on the kid-friendly slopes and the rides found at the Kids Adventure Zones. After a long day on the slopes (or the trails or the rink or the pool), catch up on your rest and relaxation with some time at the spa. There is also a movie theater on the property, as well as several shops and eateries. Recent visitors extolled the resort's awesome trails and family-friendly activities, but admit it is quite expensive.

The resort sits on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe just about 6 miles southeast of Truckee. There are several shuttles servicing the resort, including one operated by Northstar as well as TART. The ski season runs from mid-November to mid-April. Lift operation times vary depending on the day and season. For more information, including lift ticket prices, specials and trail maps, check out Northstar's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park
Squaw Valley
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Emerald Bay State Park

Carved millions of years ago by passing glaciers, this state park is a must-see for anyone looking to experience Lake Tahoe's beauty. Sheltered by towering trees, this inlet along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is known for its colorful granite cliffs and stunning panoramas. Follow Highway 89 south from Tahoe City (about 20 miles) or north from South Lake Tahoe (about 10 miles) and you'll come across the Emerald Bay Lookout, the park's crown jewel. And you should make sure you have a camera on hand – the scenery is breathtaking and travelers say there are photo opportunities everywhere you turn.

But staring off into the sunset isn't the only thing to do here. Emerald Bay State Park is also home to several attractions. Budding geologists can hop a boat out to Fannette Island (the only island on Lake Tahoe) where evidence of glacial activity abounds. If you're into history, a stop at Vikingsholm is a must: Built in the 1920s, this former summer home is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the country. Plus, many of the materials used to construct Vikingsholm came from the Lake Tahoe area, making this mansion an authentic part of the landscape. Adults can tour the home for $10 (children ages 7 to 17 and college student pay $8). Getting to the house takes a bit of doing. After parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay, visitors must hike via a steep 1-mile trail that drops 500 feet in elevation. Those with medical conditions or mobility issues are advised not to attempt this hike. 

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