Trail maintenance on or around the Tahoe side of the Rubicon Trail

So, I’m changing up this page of the website to more of a “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Where” and “Why” of trail maintenance on the Rubicon Trail.

The “Who”

The Rubicon crosses two counties, El Dorado and Placer. Both counties have been active in maintaining the Rubicon Trail. They apply for grants from the CA State Parks, OHV Division and work with local clubs, organizations and individuals to help keep the trial safe and open.

El Dorado County: Rubicon Oversight Committee (ROC)

-El Dorado County manages the trail from the entrances at Loon Lake and Airport Flats all the way to the county line with Placer County near “Back Door” and the “Dirty Dozen” camp. The Rubicon Oversight Committee typically meets the second Thursday of each month. It’s an open public meeting. There is no membership list. As a group, they discuss issues facing the Rubicon and El Dorado County moves forward after input from the group.

El Dorado County – Rubicon Page

Meetings: 2nd Thursday, County building in Placerville, off Forni Road

Contacts: Vickie Sanders –

Placer County

-Placer County manages the trail from the entrance in Tahoma down to the county line past “The Graves” and Miller Creek.

Placer County – Rubicon Page

Meetings: no regular meetings

Contacts: Kansas McGahan –

Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR)

-FOTR has been around since forever, well, 2000. They were formed by Del Albright in order to bring all the 4wd clubs together to fight the closure of the Rubicon Trail by the Lahontan Water Authority. More than 200 volunteers, from more than 20 clubs, moved 180 tons of crushed rock to build 28 rolling dips on the Rubicon within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Friends of the Rubicon – info page

Meetings: the annual meeting is usually held in April

Contacts: Shannon Chard –

Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF)

RTF was founded to bring a more formal volunteer organization to the fight for keeping the Rubicon Trail open. RTF has a board of directors, bank accounts and can enter in to agreements with state and local governments.



Adopt-A-Trail clubs

Within El Dorado County, there is an Adopt-A-Trail program for sections of the Rubicon Trail. Vickie Sanders is in charge of the program. At this time, all sections of the Rubicon have been adopted.

Placer County has yet to implement an adoption program for their section of the trail. We hope their will soon be an adopt-a-trail program. Stay tuned.

Local clubs and individuals that have stepped up on the Tahoe side:

Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s

Tahoe Donner Wheelers

Hills Angels

The Other Rubicon

John & Jan Briggs

The “What”

Trail Maintenance, working on the trail to keep it safe and environmentally friendly. These efforts could include: getting water off the trail, trash removal, signage, clearing trails of debris after storms/winter, rock lining water crossings, rebuilding rolling dips, ETC.

Past projects…


More carsonite markers

No link but I got out on the trail with Placer County and the engineering crew hired to GPS the trail and document and offer solutions for each water crossing.


Moving rock part I

Moving Rock part II


Placing carsonite trail markers


Blocking a Single Track Bypass

Range Fence Repair


Culvert removal

Cadillac Hill – blocking a bypass

Cadillac Hill – Hairpin Turn WB


New trailhead sign/map/info


Range Fence


Filling in the low spots


Boulders placed by TNF



Rock & Roll Party


Draining the water hole


Logs along the trail

To be added…

Blocking bypasses at Miller Lake

Water bar maintenance


Cadillac Hill – hardening with concrete

Filling and draining the water/mud hole

2001 Water Bar building project

The “When”

Trail maintenance has been going on for a very long time. Back in the day, when the Forest Service (FS) still claimed the trail as one of theirs, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s had adopted the entire length of trail from Tahoma down to Rubicon Springs. That agreement ended when the FS dropped the trail and the counties claimed the trail.

Since then, the Hi-Lo’s continue to work with FOTR, RTF and the counties to help maintain the trail.

Most side trails are adopted by local clubs and are checked for maintenance needs at least twice a year.

The “Where”

Basically, anywhere where water hits the trail. Yes, the biggest issue facing the trail is water. Water erodes and releases sediment that can get in to the water system. This leads to closures. So, anywhere there is water on the trail, including from rain and snow melt, we need to maintain it.

The “Why”

As mentioned under the FOTR description, maintenance got a boost from volunteers when the trail was closed (not just a threat). The Lahontan Water Authority actually issued a “Cease and Desist” order to close the Rubicon Trail. FOTR was born and worked with the government agencies and prevented the ‘actual’ closure of the trail.

Since then, some anti-OHV people pushed the Central Valley Water Authority to file a “Clean Up & Abatement” order on the El Dorado side of the trail. RTF kicked some ass and turned it in to a good thing by getting the county and FS to work together to get grants and compete the needed repairs.

Along with the Rubicon, some of our side trails have been threatened. The Richardson Lake Trail along with 41 ot5her trails were closed for years after ONE anti-OHV person claimed the trails were threatening meadows. More than half the trails were not an issue but it took years to get the trails reopened. Once closed, some other trails that were not a problem, required other work to meet newer standards. Read as years more of delay before reopening.

As users, we need to keep the trail maintained in order to prevent future threats of closure and actual closures. The anti-OHV people are still out there working to get the trail closed.

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