Destination Showcase: Exploring Vallnord Bike Park, Andorra

Sep 18, 2018
by Ben Winder  


Where to start with describing the mountain bike utopia that is Vallnord Bike Park in Andorra?

Unless you’ve been living in an incredibly deep hole, you’ll probably know Vallnord for its steep-as World Cup downhill track and the many wild moments it brings to each season of Red Bull TV viewing. But a lot more (I mean a hell of a lot) goes on in summertime in this corner of Andorra.

To give an overview of the place, Vallnord is the bike park that sits on a mountaintop above the town of La Massana, which is one of a handful of towns in the principality (and, ahem, tax haven) of Andorra. This micro country of fewer than 80,000 permanent inhabitants (its population swells in winter and summer) is wedged between Spain and France, it is covered in stunning peaks of up to nearly 3,000 meters, and its official language is Catalan (though its residents have varied backgrounds and Spanish, French, Portuguese and English are all spoken here too).


The lift station departs from inside the town itself conveniently next to a caf .
The lift station departs from within the town itself, conveniently next to a cafe.

Among the streets of La Massana on any sunny day (there are plenty of them), mountain bikers can be found in their throngs. The bike park season is mid-May until mid-October, but Andorra’s riders hit the trails as soon as the winter’s snow recedes. Once Vallnord Bike Park’s lifts open, the town is inundated with mountain bikers of every sort. And the place is set up for it: accommodation is cheap and plentiful, bars and restaurants inviting, bike shops are set up for rentals and repairs of all types, and most of all, the park is amazing.

Cruising out of the valley on La Massana’s big gondola lift, you soon arrive at a small plateau at 1900 meters, which is the main hub for Vallnord’s riding (this can also be accessed by car, but it’s nice to finish the day with a blast back down into town). Here, you are greeted by a decent asphalt pump track directly out of the lift, a well-stocked spares, rental and retail shop, restaurant and bike park office. There is also a well set up bike school based here. This infrastructure is reassuring: you can just tell they have it dialled in Vallnord.

The trail maps are well documented and easy to follow.
The trail maps are well documented and easy to follow.

Trails snake down the unique landscape.
Trails snake down the unique landscape.

Looking across to the main mountain, it is pretty apparent that you aren’t going to get bored even after a week of riding. There are tracks everywhere! With two main chairlifts to access trails up here, the possibilities are never-ending. Dozens of difficulty-graded tracks litter the slopes, with everything from short kids’ runs to full-on World Cup DH, and more or less everything in-between.

We visited in October to sample some late-season Andorran sunshine and dusty tracks. Dropping down from the main gondola into the bike park, we rode more-or-less straight into the steep tech and rock rolls of the trails called ‘Wood Park 2’ and ‘Project 1.0’, an eyes-wide-open introduction to Vallnord’s riding. Of course, we could have chosen a blue- or green-graded option to warm up, but we were bloke-ing it so preferred fear and a slew of puncture repairs to limber up.

James playing around on some of the rollers.
James playing around on some of the rollers.


Our guide Javi knows the tracks like the back of his hand.
Our guide Javi knows the tracks like the back of his hand.


We eventually arrived at the foot of the La Serra 2 chairlift, which is where the big fun really starts. From here, the world is your oyster. There are fun runs scattered with berms and jumps, hour-long enduro-style descents that head off the back of the mountain from the peak of the ‘El Cubil’ chairlift (2,350 meters), and even an e-bike circuit has now opened for those riders. Back down the mountain, the descent from the bike park to La Massana is also amazing – a choice of routes offers turns and jumps and steeps in abundance. The perfect way to arrive at the bar full of stoke.

We met up with the guys at Production Privee who s offices are just a stones throw from the lift station.
We met up with the guys at Production Privee, whose offices are just a stone's throw from the lift station.

Plenty of flowy fun jumps throughout the park.
Plenty of flowy fun jumps throughout the park.

The dirt in Vallnord is to die for.
The dirt in Vallnord is to die for.


There s a 4X track here too which is great fun to play around on.
There's a 4X track here, too, which is great fun to play around on.



James fixing one of his 945673 punctures in the background whilst Javi rides the rock roll.
James fixing one of his 945673 punctures in the background, whilst Javi rides the rock roll.

Javi is part of the Bike Patrol in Andorra.
Our guide, Javi is in charge of the Bike Park and Bike Patrol here in Andorra.


The trails in Andorra use many different parts of the hill and the terrain varies massively.
The trails in Andorra use many different parts of the hill, and the terrain varies massively.


The Commencal track back to town is a fun flow trail with a few big hucks.
The Commencal track back to town is a fun flow trail with a few big hucks.

A full-time trail crew in Vallnord keep the trails as fresh as possible.
A full-time trail crew in Vallnord keep the trails as fresh as possible.



A tarmac pumptrack at the top of the World Cup track is a great place to spend an evening.
A tarmac pump track at the top of the World Cup track is a great place to spend an evening.


In total, Vallnord’s trail map lists 29 official tracks, of which most are worth riding at least once. Beware that the black-graded tracks are indeed quite steep and tricky, and parents shouldn’t miss the awesome kids’ area (with magic carpet/rolling floor uplift) as a great place to get those future champion shredding turns.

Single-day lift tickets cost €30 for an adult, €20 for under-15s, €10 for beginners (limited lift options), and the price is scaled for longer stays, with 2- to 10-day passes available.


Vallnord Bike Park mountain biking trails

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37 Comments

  • + 4
 A very good place place to be !
The atmospher is great !
Was there yesterday, and there was plenty of upgrades from just one month ago and the tracks were in goods conditions.
You can park for free just at the bottom of the tracks in front of the now famous "Commençal spot".
So good to ride all day long ! some times there's a little group of riders waiting next to the biggests jumps and they cheers you as you make a good fly ! So unique !
I like this place
  • + 1
 Quality venue for a weeks holiday. As good as any in Europe when you factor in riding, culture, food and cost.
  • + 3
 Is it just me or do European tracks seem to have way less brake bumps than American ones? I live in utah and all i ride all day is brake bumps resort and trail...IDK i have never rode anywhere in europe just going by pictures
  • + 15
 We don´t brake. Thats´s it... ;-)
  • + 8
 @FredFurious: The conditions in Leogang tell a different story. Horrible brake bumpy mess that park.
  • + 4
 The grass is always greener... On the much ridden European bike park track you rarely find a patch without bumps.
  • + 3
 When I was there I haven't found many brake bumps, that's a reality. But I also haven't found this bike park to be a very busy one, not many people riding there....
  • + 1
 Don't worry man, they only shot the clean sections. During July / August the trails are totally f*cked up
  • + 3
 Been to Winterberg this Sunday and cannot confirm your observation. Brake bumps galore!
  • + 3
 @fiatpolski: was also there this Sunday, no real brake bumps who concerned me. However park's who have to much easy trails are doomed and will get to much newbie brake bumps.

Look at the nearest Park at France from Winterberg, Lac Blanc and try the red and black trails. No bumps whatsoever...

Also Winterberg doesn't have anything real what I would call black trails.
The black line who is indeed very steep and got good junk of offcamber roots also got no brake bumps. Guess why? Not possible for newbie's..
  • + 1
 @Serpentras: Downhill and Freeride just after the start you don't call brake bumps?

The Black Line was indeed without them, lol.
  • + 1
 @fiatpolski: well nothing what would make my wrists hurt or slow me down.

It was enough room for two tire's at the top of the berms to get the smooth ride :-D
  • + 2
 @SiSandro: same as La Pinilla Bikepark in Spain...
  • + 1
 Well, photos tell a very smoothed story, Vallnord can be massively bumpy too, but that's part of the game. I've been to Les Gets & Morzine (both famous for deadly bumps), Diablo Freeride Park (now Mtn Creek) and Vallnord, and I would say Diablo was the smoothest by far (except for when you got into the red ones, full of rocks, but that is not braking bumps, just rock). La Pinilla is much smoother than Vallnord, much more.

I have grown to like braking bumps as part of the game, and challenge myself to get stronger and faster to ride them.
  • + 2
 Loved it! I took my family too. I have two girls ages five and seven and they quickly mastered the pump track. There is also a kids park there which you can buy a day pass for and there are plenty of rides and stuff to keep them occupied. They were stoked all day Smile and BTW the restaurants are great in Andorra and affordable too.
  • + 1
 I'm planning a trip next year with my 5 year and 4-year-old is there any of the green trails that would be suitable for kids beyond the pump track?
  • + 1
 @mde911: yes, indeed, theres a " kids bike park" With short lines to learn from the very beginning. Also there are bike patrols giving lessons to them.
  • + 2
 Been here a few times and love the place , I’d recommend getting the AND bus from Barcelona airport as parking in Andorra can get bloody expensive if your staying for a week , it may have super cheap beer but parking costs ain’t one of them , the bike park is awesome trails are perfect and Not overcrowded like others, no waiting at the lifts straight on and ride , oh and very reasonably priced as well ????
  • + 1
 Parking struggle is real in Andorra but if you guys are staying in la massana ( the small village where the lift is) you can park the car all the way up to erts. At some point the blue area ( Area where you have to pay to park) finishes and you can get back easily to la massana.
  • + 6
 Were is Cerdric?
  • + 1
 I liked it as a bike park. Been there in 2016. Some things I didn't like were that to get a good value accommodation you need to go out of la Massana which means driving to the bike park every day. We usually drove uphill because at the village we needed to pay parking everywhere. So lot's of time wasted every morning and afternoon driving with bikes on the car. Another thing I didn't like was that once you get a top to bottom run you end up in very busy streets, very urban, lots of traffic. I prefer to spend a just bit more and fly to the Alps in France which are cheaper for accommodation, less stressed, bigger and in a whole week I don't need to even think about driving a car.
  • + 1
 It is true that the best place to stay is around La Massana so that you don't have to drive. We stayed in Ordino which is a quite town with great restaurants and plenty of parking but I didn't find the drive up to the bike park bad at all it only took us 15 minutes.
  • + 5
 +1 for the trails in Vallnord. Best value for money in Europe.
  • + 1
 I rode the park after world masters, it was fun, flowy and fast, the views are incredible. As the Dh track had already been done, the bike park was great for a couple of days, you can do so many runs its insane. 1 week would be good there at a chilled pace, but if you push up to ride, you aint gonna be chilled with such good chairs to the top Smile
  • + 1
 Had an amazing time the two years I managed to get out to Andorra. Needs to be on your riding bucket list. There are plenty of sights to see off the bike should you need time to recover with a beer! Would love to go back!
  • + 3
 If you’re in Andora the Soldeu Bike Park is also well worth a visit, super quiet with some trully amazing tracks.
  • + 1
 It’s closed now. I heard the reason is everyone goes to vallnord so I think it was not financially possible to keep It open
  • + 1
 Haha yea Soldeu, went there 2 yrs ago and really enjoyed it we stayed in La Massana this year loaded up the van and drove up to Soldeu only to find the bike park has closed there! They were doing some serious construction work right where the lift station is so there was really no way to bike there, gutted????
  • + 1
 It’s closed while they get it ready for Snowsport world champs (building a massive bridge to raise the valley floor, to get to the gondola) be a couple years and hopefully reopen
  • + 2
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEPcxeHWR6Y my trip there this year Smile

and the famous commencal track with 12.5kms!!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Px7crzL4Cs
  • + 2
 "A full-time trail crew in Vallnord keep the trails as fresh as possible" ... Seriously ????
  • + 1
 I need to go there. Is there good riding outside the bikepark?
  • + 3
 I went on a guided holiday there a few years ago. we spent a few days in the park, but there was some great natural riding too. We rode lift assisted by minibus and trailer. Some big big days, 30km singletrack descents. Smiles for miles, Bikes were abused and destroyed. Fun was had. Would love to go back.
  • + 1
 这个厉害了
  • + 1
 Yes it is.
  • + 1
 Needs rain.
  • + 1
 Got any snow yet?

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