Can My Rig Make It?

I get this question quite often and recently ran in to it on another website. Let me do my best to answer that question. The problem is there is no easy answer. Driver skill is a huge factor in whether or not you can make it, or more specifically, make it without damage.

Here it is, the last piece of pavement before hitting the trail.

Just a very short drive up the trail, 0.3 miles to be specific, there is what some refer to as a “gatekeeper”. But it’s not. It is a very easy example of what your rig should be able to drive over if you want to run the Rubicon Trail. In the picture below, I stayed on the trail but went around the ‘gatekeeper’.

Further up the trail, here is an example of what a lot of the first four miles look like on the Tahoe side. Most of these rocks are more of an inconvenience than a challenge to any high clearance vehicle.

The trail is off and on rocky. After the gatekeeper, this is one of the trickier sections on the way to Miller Lake.

Typically, there are just enough rocks in the trail to prevent users from driving too fast.

Currently, there are many wet sections within the Tahoe National Forest. There is often standing water in this area. Some of the puddles are deep but most of them rocky bottom.

Just over four miles from the staging area is the turn at the “Y”. At the “Y” is mile marker 11.5, that marks 11.5 miles to Loon Lake. Going straight will take you to Barker Pass on Forest Road 03-04. Turning left keeps you on the Rubicon Trail (16E75). (FYI, it wasn’t placer until 2018). The temperament of the trail changes once you make this turn, to harder.

It’s not until you get to what I call the “Potato Patch” at the 5.4-mile mark, that things get serious. This section changes almost weekly. One trip the best line is left and two weeks later the better line is right.

The trail retains this difficulty, on and off, mostly off, until you get on Cadillac Hill and to “The Steps” or “Morris Rock” at mile 8.2, again from the staging area. The next half mile is the most exciting section on your way to Rubicon Springs! At this point, if you have to ask if your rig can make it, don’t try it.

For those wanting to get out in this area, but aren’t sure if they can make it, try it! If you think you can’t make it or just don’t want to try it, turn around. Remember, Turn Around, Don’t Go Around.

A very nice drive in the area is the loop from the Rubicon Trail staging area up and around to Barker Pass. The trail gets easier as you get further away from the Rubicon Trail. I have yet to run that road this season, so I can’t be 100% sure of that.

The Hobbit Trail (16E76) has the difficulty of the Potato Patch. The trick to that trail is to do it without using reverse. It turns left, right, left, through the whole trail, a lot of fun. The (old) Red Cabin Trail (16E79), is more of a dirt road and takes you to Barker Pass proper. From Barker Pass, the Middle Fork Trail (15N38) is on the mild side but pay attention. There is also a paved road down to Highway 89 from Barker Pass.

For the record, my odometer reads high, almost 10%. So, take the measurements as a guide.

Happy Trails!

.

Rubicon Ronin


Turn Around, Don’t Go Around!

This is the theme of this website but I need to promote it more often.

If you come across an obstacle you can not get over while staying on the trail, turn around and go home, do not drive off the trail to go around the obstacle. It could be a tree, a huge snow drift, a rock garden, whatever. Turn Around, Don’t Go Around!

This past Father’s Day weekend, I was out on our trails and found many, many trees down across our trails. More than a few of these trees had been driven by many vehicles.

I had my electric chainsaw with me, not to do trail work and clear trees but just in case something fell while I was in and had to get out. Well, I did as much tree clearing as the one battery I had with me would allow. I did go back the next day with a freshly charged battery and did what I could.

Here is a tree down across the Hobbit Trail (16E76). A few rigs had already driven around this tree.

This one required a snatch block to get the right angle to get the tree off the trail once cut.

I figured that would be it as at this point of the season many rigs should have driven this trail. But not too far down the same trail was another. This one was also driven around.

It could be dragged a little further to the right but it is clear of the trail.

There were more trees but I didn’t get pictures of all of them. I also left many trees across the trail that were easily driven over and not causing vehicles to go around. The tree below was on the Middle Fork Trail in Blackwood Canyon. The blue & pink tags were for an 200 mile endurance run taking place.

Again, I didn’t get all the photos, before and after, for each and every tree.

Before only…

No saw required, just grab and drag. With the rig, not by hand!

I’ll contact the Forest Service to get someone out to block off the side trail created here.

Before only, this on is dangerous, so I dragged it down.

Most of that was Saturday the 18th. Long story but I had to go back in on Sunday the 19th. On the way out, I did some work on the Rubicon that I passed on doing on Saturday. This is just after the turn at Forest Road 03-04.

My Kobalt 80-volt electric saw worked wonders. Especially after putting a fresh chain on it. I was working the two smaller trees and then the bigger one, going back and forth. After cutting trees on the Hobbit Trail, I wasn’t sure how many cuts I had left. I was about two and a half cuts short of what I wanted to accomplish. From now on, if I bring the saw, I’ll bring both batteries!

If you’re headed in to the Springs, please cut this one back a few more feet. Thanks. Below is what my saw took off those three trees above before the battery was drained.

It ended up being a very productive weekend out on our trails.

.

Rubicon Ronin