The Rubicon Trail is one of the most famous Jeep Trail and Off-Road Adventure of the western United States. Crossing through the El Dorado National Forest up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this extreme 4x4 path is 22-mile-long.
If you dare to take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. The route has been used by 4-wheel drive vehicles since the early 1950s and has become one of the most famed, 4-wheel drive trails in the world. The trail reaches elevations above 7,000 feet and is partially snow covered in the winter.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Thunder and lightning storms may occur in the Spring and Summer months. The daily temperatures are changeable. Be prepared for snow and ice storms in the Fall and Winter months.
Conditions can change quickly and be harsh in this California's legendary trail. Road closures can be frequent, so check conditions before traveling to this area. Some of the Rubicon Trail’s more famous obstacles include the likes of Post Pile, Walker Hill, Little Sluice, Spider Lake, Old Sluice Box, Chappie Rock, Buck Island Dam and Big Sluice. Other places of note include Loon Lake, Ellis Creek, Soup Bowl, Thousand Dollar Hill, Miller Lake, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Granite Bowl, Rubicon Springs, Syd’s Grave and Cadillac Hill. Cadillac Hill is very steep, tippy and potentially dangerous. During wet periods, one water crossing can be very deep and muddy.
This trail passes through remote areas, so you need to be prepared. It’s a rare combination of difficulty, beauty, length and pure rock-crawling pleasure. 4 wheeling is an inherently dangerous activity and shouldn’t be attempted without the appropriate training and equipment. The surface of the trail is a mix of granite slabs, soft dirt, sharp rocks and large boulders that require precise maneuvering to avoid body damage. Several extreme sections can be bypassed but many very rough sections cannot.
It’s a real challenging road and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns. When traveling in the mountains prepare for sudden changes in the weather. Always carry a roadside emergency kit and chains. The trail is only physically 8 to 10 feet wide.
After rain, sections of road can become decidedly hazardous when fast-flowing creek crossings and slippery mud can cause road closures. As always, check road conditions before departing. The Rubicon Trail travels through the El dorado and Tahoe National Forests, and is often under fire restrictions, even if the trail and it's surroundings seem wet.
Pic: Neil Tocher