For a more formal (minimally) camping experience in the Rubicon area, one of my suggestions is the Blackwood Campground. To get there, drive two miles up Blackwood Canyon on the paved forest road 03, then keep right on to forest road (trail) 15N38, the Middle Fork Trail. The first section of the trail to the camp area is a flat dirt road. Okay, it has a few low rollers and too many potholes, but a motorhome could get there.
This is a designated camp area so you are only allowed to put up a tent and stay over night in one of the six designated campsites. It’s a first come, first serve, no reservation area. There are two pit toilets and plenty of parking for large groups. Although the FS only allows six people per campsite per this sign posted at Blackwood but bearing the name of “Luther Pass”:
There is a large day use meeting/cooking area. Please check fire restrictions before using the BBQ. It would be a great place to have a group meet up as an alternative to the Rubicon staging area.
The campground map:
The pit toilets and ample parking.
Photos of the campsites, some are in the trees more than others. Bear boxes, fire pit with grill and a picnic bench are provided in each site.
Now the signs don’t say anything about parking regulations. So here’s a thought, if the Rubicon staging area is full, park here and either drive the highway down to the Rubicon or if you’re in a green sticker vehicle, drive the LONG drive on forest road 03 over to the Rubicon. It’s probably 15 miles.
You could take 15N38 (Middle Fork) to the summit, then 16E79 (Upper Barker Meadow) to 03, then drop down 16E76 (Lower Barker Meadow) to the Rubicon. Lower Barker Meadow OHV Route is a kick in the pants. If you haven’t done it, check it out. You will never hold the steering wheel straight.
The plan was to meet the Tahoe Donner 4wdc at the Rubicon staging area, run up the Rubicon to Forest Road 03-04 and head over to Blackwood canyon and come out the Middle Fork Trail, 15N38.
I had this feeling I needed to check the gate at the bottom of Blackwood Canyon at both Forest Road 03 and the Middle Fork Trail. The 03 road isn’t scheduled to open until June 15th, and they never OPEN roads early. The gate for 03 and the Middle Fork Trail are supposed to open June 1st. Well the main road was open but the Middle Fork Trail is still closed.
At the staging area, we ran in to another group who were planning the same route, Rubicon to 03-04- and out 15N38. I passed along the bad news. They took their six Unimogs and headed up the Richardson Lake Trail and made the summit. Some snow but enough dirt to maintain traction.
The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) posted at the Rubicon staging area has June 1st as the opening date for 15N38. The MVUM on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s (LTBMU) website has June 1st as the opening date as well. Yet the gate isn’t open. I don’t know if the gate is open at the top.
The LTBMU needs to get on top of this and fast. How many other groups are going to head north from the Rubicon expecting to get out Blackwood Canyon and find closed gates?
Maybe some new guy at the LTBMU thinks it should open with the gate on 03 just past the river on June 15th. I’ll be contacting the LTBMU in the morning about this issue. Please feel free to join me in letting them know how you feel about them not opening our OHV trail in a timely fashion.(530) 543-2600
was headed to run around the Rubicon area on the 11th and
This OHV season, the CA State Parks OHV Division made available almost $11 million dollars for OHV issues, projects, maintenance, law enforcement, education, etc.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) failed to obtain a single penny of it. In comparison, the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) received $438k and the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) received $650k.
There is a 30 day grace period for the agency requesting funds to ask that their grant be reviewed and rescored but don’t hold your breath. This is the second straight year the grant writers and administrators at the LTBMU have fallen short. I think it’s safe to say the LTBMU needs a new grant writing staff.
Here’s the problem, even though the LTBMU didn’t receive CA State Parks grant funding, they are still required to manage OHV on their forest. It’s just going to be that much more difficult without specific funding for OHV.
I’m using this lack of funding problem to push the LTBMU to reinstate the Adopt-A-Trail program they dumped two years ago.
If you or your club, group, business or organization would like to adopt an OHV trail within the LTBMU, email them, call them, hound them, do not take no for an answer, Right now I only know of the Twin peaks Trail in South Lake Tahoe, the Buck Lake Trail off the Rubicon and the Middle Fork Trail up Blackwood Canyon (just north of the Rubicon) that historically have been adopted.
That list doesn’t include the pre-Placer County Rubicon when the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s had the entire east side of the trail adopted. For adopting a section of the Placer side of the Rubicon Trail, contact the Rubicon Trail Foundation.
Here is a list of OHV trails within the basin from the LTBMU website. Not all trails are listed. Check the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for more trails.
Lake Tahoe – East Shore
- Genoa Peak Road 14N32
- Kingsbury Stinger 18E39.3
- Logan House 14N33
Lake Tahoe – North Shore
- Kings Beach 18E18
- Mt Watson 73E
Lake Tahoe – South Lake Tahoe
- Corral Trail 18E14
- Hellhouse Road 12N01D
- High Meadows Trail 18E33A
- Power Line Road 12N08
- Sand Pit 12N08
- Sawmill Pond 12N30
- Twin Peaks 12n30
Lake Tahoe – West Shore
- Buck Lake Road – 14N40
- McKinney / Rubicon Trailhead
- Noonchester 14N34A
Please step up, adopt a trail, push the LTBMU to work with the users!
This afternoon, I sat down with Jeff Marsolais, the forest supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, for a half an hour. When I say half an hour, I mean 30 minutes, almost to the second. I got 30 minutes in the seat in his office. I had three typed pages of notes to get through so I talked fast. But that’s easy for me.
Although he didn’t have time to respond to all the issues I brought up, he said he’d get back to me. So, what did I bring up? Here’s a brief outline of topics:
Who is the OHV lead for the LTBMU?
Should be full time and year round but not 100% OHV focused.
Needs to be pro-OHV not just someone doing the job.
We need consistency and quicker responses from the LTBMU.
AAT agreements and paperwork
The Forest Service needs to be quicker and proactive on approaching and supporting clubs willing to adopt
Limbs cut off years ago need to be removed or chipped
The main sign at the staging area
Staging area maintenance
Recreational Opportunity Guide – finish it or drop it
General signage along the trail, paved and dirt sections
Buck Lake Trail
Middle Fork Trail
CA State Parks – start writing next years now, include more people in the process
Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
How did the Corral Trail get a full time, eight person crew to work that trail since the OHV grant fell through?
He did say he might be interested in a ride out on the trail to see first hand what’s going on. That would be a great education for him!
This one meeting won’t end these issues but now we all know the main guy at the Basin has been told how all those underneath him have dropped the ball over the years.
As of July 1, 2015, fire restrictions are in place on the TNF & LTBMU!
I just came across the postings on their websites. The Eldorado won’t be far behind.
Be fire safe even without a fire. Carry water and a shovel at all times.