Rubicon Trail – CLOSED!

El Dorado County has officially closed the Rubiocn Trail due to wet trail conditions. This is a temporary closure and will be lifted when the trail dries out.

From an email I received at 10:39am:


All three conditions of the monitoring protocol have been met and the Rubicon Trail is closed until further notice.  Transportation crews will monitor and open the trail as soon as conditions allow. 

This notice will also be posted to the County website.

Vickie Sanders
Parks Manager
County of El Dorado
Chief Administrative Office

The three conditions are:
1) The soil is saturated to the point where water can no longer soak in
2) The depth of water greater than 8 inches (capable of rinsing contaminants from the bottom of a vehicle)
3) The water is flowing so that it can transport sediment.

New RTF Trailer for the Tahoe side

Christmas came late!

John Briggs, the Placer County liaison for FOTR, just received a brand new trailer for maintenance efforts on the Tahoe side. It belongs to RTF (Trailer RTF-06), obtained through OHMVR grant funding, and is on a “permanent loan” to the Tahoe side. If it is needed on the Eldorado side, we’ll bring it over.


I got a chance to check it out today. It was made by Varozza 4×4 Outfitters ( out of Diamond Springs, CA, just south of Placerville. The basics: 2/3 of a yard capacity with a built in dump feature (air/hydraulic); 360 degree “Lock N Roll” rotating hitch (all you need is a 2” receiver); two piece swing out tailgate all on 35” BFG Mud Terrain tires. Another feature is the offset axle. It is offset up about 4” between the leaf springs in order to gain more clearance.

IMG_0605 IMG_0610

IMG_0612 IMG_0613

There is a standard air chuck intake like you would find on an air tool. There is a valve on the trailer to control the lifting of the trailer. Supply air and the bed tilts up, in order to lower the bed, you need to use the orange handle to turn the release on the hydraulic jack under the trailer. There is a latch to hold down the bed. In case you are out of air, there is a manual override by using the orange handle on the side of the trailer to pump the hydraulic jack under the trailer; quite awkward.

The trailer weight is low enough that it does not require fenders, nice! And the trailer paperwork is in a holder on the front of the trailer to prove that to any officer that tries to ticket you.


  • Hitch height – 24″
  • Bed dimensions – 60″ long, 40″ wide, 12″ deep (16 cu. ft./0.62 yards)
  • Overall width – 70″
  • Wheel pattern – Toyota 6 lug (I think)
  • Weight – 1100 pounds (empty)
  • Electric brakes – (needs 7 prong RV connector)

The trailer now has a mounted 7 to 4 adaptor. So, you can use the 7 prong connector (if you have one) to get the benefit of trailer brakes or plug the 7 prong in to the adaptor and use the flat four connector to get lights only.

7 to 4 adaptor



Before tilting the bed, open the dual tailgate doors and secure them with the small chains on the sides of the trailer.  The trailer has a small square tube on each side to hold the chain to prevent it swinging and being noisy and chipping the paint.

To dump the trailer, you need to supply it with compressed air. Before opening the valve to supply air the trailer with air, unlatch the tilt bed from the trailer frame at the front of the trailer, if you don’t the bed won’t go up. (Trust me on this one.) The air to hydraulic pump surges, it sounds and feels like it’s giving the jack small bursts of air.  Empty, the bed bounces and jerks a little bit. This operation uses quite a bit of air to operate.

There is a support brace under the trailer if you need to have the bed up for an extended period of time. Jack up the bed, reach under the bed and hold up the brace while you lower the bed on to the brace. This will provide a safer means of working on the trailer.

Speaking of working on the trailer, along with adding the electrical adaptor, I purchased and swapped out the air line from the valve to the pump. The original hose was not on all the way, so I reattached it.  Then it blew, three times! I went and bought a steal braided reinforced 4000psi hydraulic line with threaded connectors on both ends. The hose will not leak or blow.

An example of how this will be used on the Tahoe side would be to finish the culvert removal project John Briggs headed up last summer. We still need to rock line the seasonal crossing to prevent any erosion and this will save some backaches, at least during unloading.

The trailer will be stored in a central location with a combination lock so arrangements can be made to let groups doing maintenance access it as needed. I’ve purchased a combination lock and John Briggs donated some chain. We’ll lock the trailer and provide the combination when someone needs it.  The combination lock has a changeable combination so we’ll change the combination with each use.

This will be a huge help toward keeping the Rubicon Trail maintained and thus open for year ‘round motorized public use.

Thank you RTF for getting the grant and sending a trailer to the ‘Other’ Rubicon.

The “Who’s Who” of the Rubicon

Who’s Who?  A look at the government agencies, clubs, organizations, forests, property owners, representatives, counties and water districts that affect or govern the world famous Rubicon Trail

Alright, this article grew to be longer than I thought as there are far more interested parties regarding the Rubicon than originally thought. That and I  tend to go overboard. In no particular order:



The Rubicon Trail spans two counties, Placer County (PCo) in the east and Eldorado County (ElDoCo) in the west. The dividing line on the Rubicon Trail is the north border of the “Rubicon Springs” property. Both counties are involved with managing the Rubicon Trail. Below are links to the Rubicon Trail pages for each county.

Placer County Rubicon page:

El Dorado County Rubicon page:


Rubicon Oversight Committee

El Dorado County has a long established committee that deals with nothing but Rubicon Trail issues called the Rubicon Oversight Committee (ROC). This has been a huge help to getting things accomplished by both the county and the users. The county run meetings are monthly meetings are attended by county officials, FOTR, RTF, users, anti-OHV people, sometimes state officials and other interested parties. The meetings are open to the public and held on the second Thursday of each month at the ElDoCo facilities in Placerville.

The county supervisors for each county are:

Jennifer Montgomery

Placer County

175 Fulweiler Avenue

Auburn, CA 95603

Norma Santiago

El Dorado County

330 Fair Lane

Placerville, CA 95667


Key county workers:

Placer County – Kansas McGahan, Senior Civil Engineer, works out of the Kings Beach office at Lake Tahoe.

El Dorado County – Vickie sanders, CAO Administrative Analyst at the County of El Dorado, I think is now in charge of ALL parks/trails within  ElDoCo. A Donna Mullens is now the one sending out the minutes and agendas for the ROC meetings.



The Rubicon Trail crosses three ‘forests’: the Eldorado National Forest (ENF), the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU, technically not a forest). The Rubicon crosses the border between the ENF and the TNF at Miller Creek at the bottom of Cadillac Hill. The Trail crosses from the TNF to the LTBMU east of Miller Lake. (When you see an Arizona crossing with rocks imbedded in it, from there east is the TNF). The TNF is working to replace the sign that was once there.

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU)



Nancy J. Gibson  is the Forest Supervisor

(Still working on who should be THE contact for Rubicon issues)


Tahoe National Forest (TNF) – Truckee District



Tom Quinn is the TNF Forest Supervisor

Joanne Robique is the Truckee District Ranger

Susanne Jensen is the seasonal OHV Recreation Specialist for the Truckee District


Eldorado national Forest (ENF) – Pacific Ranger District


Rubicon – The ENF does not have a Rubicon page

Lawrence Crabtree is the Forest Supervisor

Richard Thornburg is the Pacific District Ranger

Debbie Gaynor is the Recreation Specialist for the Pacific District


Water Districts

This is where things really got started back in 2000. A complaint was filed and the Lahontan Water Board stepped in to make sure the Rubicon Trail was not harming the water entering Lake Tahoe. Years later, a similar complaint was filed with the Central Valley Water Board for that watershed. Both efforts failed to close the trail but instead brought funding to maintain the Rubicon Trail.

The Lahontan Water Board manages the Lake Tahoe Basin watershed and thus covers the LTBMU. The Central Valley Water Board covers both the TNF and the ENF sections of the Rubicon Trail.

Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board


State (wide) agencies

CA State Parks – Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR)

State Parks are involved in the Rubicon Trail by providing grant funding to the national forests, and non-profit groups and by providing law enforcement as needed for the Rubicon Trail and all other OHV trails in the state.

Grant contact – George MacDougall

LEO Contact – Brian Robertson


CA Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4)

Cal4 has been around for a VERY long time, if you’re not a member, sign-up now. They are THE agency that allows scores of clubs to stand together to fight for OHV access on public lands.


Nevada 4 Wheel Drive Association (N4WDA)

These guys are new to the scene. There have been Nevada state organizations around before but they didn’t last. With the new OHV registration requirements in Nevada, there was a need to have a formal group to work with those collecting the money to make sure it goes to OHV needs and not in to the general fund. There are also access fights to be fought, like the grouse issue, in Nevada.


Government (elected) Representatives


Jerry Brown


Barbra Boxer

Dianne Feinstein

State Representative for the Rubicon area

Ted Gaines – State Senator

Brian Dahle – State Assembly

Frank Bigelow – State Assembly

US Representative

Tom McClintock


Volunteer Organizations

Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR)

Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF)


Country wide agencies

Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC)

Tread Lightly!

United Four Wheel Drive Association


Private Property owners

Rubicon Soda Spring Incorporated (RSSI)

(Sixteen or seventeen owners in this group)

The half section that is the “Rubicon Springs”


Rubicon Trail Partnership (RTP)

(I think there are only six people in this group)

East half of the Spider Lake area


Auburn Jeep Club – private parcel

Five acres between Ellis Creek and Walker Hill


Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) – not yet open to vehicle traffic, working on an easement

The half section between the Spider section and the Rubicon Springs section

There are many other privately owned parcels along the Rubicon but these are the groups I had information on and that are known to support OHV use.


Disclaimer:  I know this is NOT a complete list of everyone out there that is helping or at least interested in the Rubicon Trail. If you feel your organization should be on this list, send me the details and I’ll add you.