The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s have adopted the Long Lake Trail (16E12) since it was officially recognized by the USFS in 2014. Since 2011, we have been working with the USFS by bringing FS personnel out there and doing trail maintenance to the point they would accept it, including removing an outhouse and hardening a seasonal creek crossing.
There is a campsite off the trail about halfway down the trail. It is a sharp U-turn to the left and brings you right down along the Rubicon River. This campsite is great for larger groups and offers a quiet change of pace from Rubicon Springs.
Here is the hard left U-turn:
Looking down the campsite, the Rubicon River on the right:
Unfortunately, some people have tried to make this a drive through site by driving off trail, down a granite slab and through a marsh (in spring time). The Forest Service will not allow this ‘through route’.
This was one of three turns off the Long Lake Trail in to the back of the campsite:
This is the ‘backdoor’ in the campsite that in the spring time is a wet muddy marsh:
The Hi-Lo’s have now blocked the ‘through route’ several times. This time we added 4×4 posts with signage explaining the campsite boundary and the possible consequences if the off trail driving continues.
There is now no mistaking this as a possible route to the campsite:
Within the campsite, we added some educational materials to the 4×4 posts:
Having the campsite as a one way in/out is much nicer than a through route. I wouldn’t want anyone driving through my camp at 1am trying to figure out where the actual trail runs.
Also, please note that the trail is only 0.91 miles long. It ends before a 90 degree right turn, an extremely steep climb up a granite slab and another 90 degree left turn; which leads to a boulders strewn seasonal waterfall.
Driving past the recognized end of the trail could result in fines.
Although I do not promote or support driving off trail, the Long Lake Trail is not well defined past the campsite. There are easy routes and extreme routes to get to the end of the trail.
When driving the Long Lake Trail at night, please be extremely cautious. There are steep drops all along the trail. It’s best to have someone walk the trail in front of your rig in order to prevent accidents.
Link to a Photo Journal of the Long Lake Trail.
All I ask is that you always Tread Lightly!
- Don’t drive over bushes
- Don’t leave oil spills on the granite
- Use a WAG bag when camping on granite slabs
- Don’t spin your tires so much you leave marks on the granite
- Leave a clean camp
- Make sure your fire is out cold (Have fires only when restrictions lifted)
- Keep the music down after 10pm
- Pack-it-in, pack-it-out
- Respect other campers
This trail has something for everyone. As long as we respect the trail and each other, we will all be able to enjoy it.
The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) has the Long Lake Trail opening on Saturday the 24th. Last weekend, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s got permission to run the trail early to make sure it was open and safe for the general public.
We drove down Saturday morning without a major issue. One guy heard a rattle and after borrowing a 1/2″ coarse thread nut from a fellow traveler, we were on our way.The run in was a very casual pace. It was nice not to be rushing to get somewhere for a specific time.
The Long Lake Trail only had one tree down but it was rather large:
The nice part was that it was rotten and cut very easily. It actually broke apart as we tried to winch it out of the trail.
We made camp at the campsite along the trail. Other than the two geese that woke everyone up at 6:30am, it was an uneventful stay at the camp. Rain clouds threatened over night. but it never rained.
The drive out was slow and steady. No break downs but some challenging spots going up Cadillac Hill. It seems the rocks continue to “grow” out of the mountain. Future maintenance will be needed to prevent further erosion along Cadillac Hill.
So, the Long Lake Trail is open for business. Please stay on the trail and remember that it ends 0.91 miles in. Also, the campsite is one way in and one way out. Please do not attempt to make it a drive through. Any off trail driving/riding could get the trail closed.
If you come across any issues with the trail or have any questions about the Long Lake Trail, please email me or the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s at LakeTahoeHiLos@Gmail.com.
Last week I checked out the Rubicon for the first time this season. There was evidence of trees that had fallen across the trail but had been cleared, but no snow to speak of.
That was a little different on the Richardson Lake Trail, 14N39. This trail opened on April 1st. That is earlier than most side trails along the Rubicon. My plan was to drive the trail up to the gate at the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and clear any trees across the trail.
Along the way, I came across a few snow drifts on the trail, mostly on the northern aspect of the hill. Some had tracks of previous travelers but the last few did not. It’s a cool feeling knowing you are the first person of the season to run the trail. As long as I was breaking trail going uphill, I felt I was okay. Although alone, I had a winch, gravity and all my other recovery tools if I didn’t make the climb.
When I crested the climb and came across another snow drift in front of me going downhill. It was time to turn around.
This drift was no larger than any of the others I had already driven through that day but it was downhill. If I got stuck, I’d have to winch against gravity or further down the hill. If I had another vehicle with me, I would have driven it for sure. Maybe next time.
The snow is melting fast. I suspect most of the snow in that picture is now gone.
The Hi-Lo’s drove down to the Long Lake Trail on Saturday to open the trail for next weekend. There was one HUGE tree across the trail but it’s been moved. That trail opens to the public on April 24th. I’ll post a detailed report when I get some pictures from my fellow Hi-Lo’s. Enjoy!