At Northstar-at-Tahoe, just $10 buys a day's worth of scenic lift rides that Fido and family members 12 and younger can enjoy for free. The experience starts on the Village Gondola, whose enclosed cabins run to the mid-mountain Lodge at Big Springs. From there, DogTrekkers can hop aboard a gondola on the Zephyr lift for a ride to the upper ridge lines and sweeping views of Lake Tahoe and the snow-crusted Sierra.
Northstar's lifts operate in summer primarily to service the resort's thriving mountain bike park, which boasts more than 100 miles of trails. Because cyclists and dogs don't mix, foot travelers should be sure to keep their charges securely leashed in the vicinity of the bike park. A popular six-mile loop, mostly on fire roads, leads safely away from the two-wheel crowd to connect with the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail and a pretty alpine lake perfect for a dip and a picnic.
Northstar's scenic lift rides are available weekends from mid-June to mid-October daily in July and August, weather permitting. Buy tickets at the Tickets and Season Pass Office or Plaza Bike Rental Shop in the base-area village. A bonus: novice hikers and their four-legged companions can enjoy free guided hikes along the easy Sunset Trail at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on days when lifts are operating.
Photo:"Gabe on the Lift at Northstar" - Janet Fullwood