For those of you that don’t know that road, it runs from the Rubicon over to Barker Pass. It was one of the recommended reroutes around the closed staging area last week.
It’s probably twice as far to get to Lake Tahoe than the Rubicon, but it’s twice as smooth. And it just got better.
While the staging area was getting paved, Forest Road 03-04 was getting groomed. The first mile off the Rubicon was always little rough and severely rutted. But the road got progressively better the closer you got to Barker Pass. The last few miles at Barker Pass you could drive a Honda Civic down, it’s that groomed.
Back in 2016, there was water running down the trail causing erosion, allowing sediment to get in to the water system.
Hard to see, but looking back down the trail towards the Rubicon, there is one on many new rolling dips along Forest Road 03-04, so many I lost count.
Just south of the intersection of 03-04-14, looking up the trail, 2016.
Just last week, looking down the same section of trail.
Forest Road 03-04 is classified as a ‘road’ not a ‘trail’, so it is maintained at a different level then say the Buick Lake Trail. The FS got serious with 03-04 this time around. The work done on this trail will allow emergency vehicles to access more of our forests. For the Rubicon, it means we can bring in material with very large trucks much closer to the actual trail.
There are a ton of places to camp along and just off Forest Road 03-04. The most popular is Bear Lake but it’s usually crowded. Some of the other side roads have great views and are always empty of campers. You should check them out.
The old saying is that you get what you pay for, well I got a really nice set of grab handles for my Rubicon.
Here’s the website photo. I went with a black pair so they would blend in and not stand out. You need to cut away the front 2-3 inches of the stock padding of the roll cage at the windshield to mount the grab handle.
I was in too much of a hurry to take pictures during the install.
|Carolina Metal Masters, TJ/LJ Billet Front Grab Handles 1997 – 2006|
I wanted something tucked up tight and not highly visible.
I rotated it in a little so I could move it forward as far as possible.
The photo’s not the best, sorry. I wanted to make sure it fit with the doors.
Pricey but good quality. I’m happy with my purchase.
Fire restrictions start today in the El Dorado and Tahoe National Forests. The Lake Tahoe Basin has year-round fire restrictions in place.
This is the second year of very low snowfall and our forests are very dry. Please be responsible when using portable stoves. Welding is restricted as well.
As always, even for a propane stove, campfire permits are required.
Website for campfire permits: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/permits/campfire-permit/
This morning (June 26th), 8am, the Tahoma Staging Area reopened after being closed for a week for the paving of the staging area and repairs to the access road.
The paved area will not be striped at this time. If the users continue to be able to figure out efficient parking, it will never be paved. The current plan is to post “No Parking” signs along the outside edge of the parking/staging area. This would provide a permanent drive through turn around area for those with trailers and emergency vehicles.
The access road along side the staging area was also paved. And yes, that ever present dip at the end of the pavement was filled in! This is the first entrance to the staging area:
Here is the second entrance and where that dip used to be:
And the last entrance:
The paving went all the way to the first rolling dip and even was placed up to the leading edge of the new kiosk concrete base:
And up to the toilets:
While they were there, the paving company was contracted to do many, many repairs to the access road:
There was always that right turn, coming from the lake, that had a pretty big drop. (looking back towards the lake)
That turn also got fill material to widen the turn and more corrugated pipe to lengthen the drain:
There were many more repairs to the access road.
Thanks go out to El Dorado County, Placer County, the USFS (Basin) and the contractor that did the work. Everyone worked together to fund it (CA State Parks, OHV Division grant), plan it and make it happen. The efforts to educate the public were mostly successful. There were many rigs with trailers parked in Blackwood Canyon, in many places.
There was only on instance of a Jeep driving around the road closed sign and in to the trail to the staging area, thinking he could get through. He was from Minnesota.
With the staging area closure June 21-25, access will be through Blackwood Canyon to the north about four miles.
The paved parking at Highway 89 is for the Kaspian Campground right there and day users. FYI, that is also a winter park area, permit required during the winter. Blackwood Canyon is a popular snow mobile area. There is OHV parking further up the canyon.
So, about two miles up the canyon, stay right onto the dirt road (15E38), before you go over Blackwood Creek:
At the Blackwood Canyon Campground, there is limited parking, pit toilets and maybe a dozen campsites that require reservations.
The drive up 15N38 is not difficult but you have to pay attention. At the top, there is more parking. This parking is accessible by driving the paved Forest Road 03 all the way to Barker Pass summit.
16E79 is marked with good signage. In this photo, you’re looking down Forest Road 03, the pit toilets for the Rim/PCT is off to the right at the white vehicle, 16E79 is off to the left. The Rim/PCT is visible to the lower left by the sign.
If you choose to take the really easy way to the Rubicon, stay straight on Forest Road 03. In two miles, look for the freshly downed tree on the left, that will be the sign for the left turn you need to take to get on to Forest Road 03-04. And that runs all the way to the Rubicon. 16E76 The Hobbit Trail, will be a right turn off 03-04 and is easy to miss.
There will be an effort to get sandwich sign boards out on the trails to mark the turns needed to do the reroute.