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.
Okay, I did that on purpose. They are only paving the Tahoma staging area and extending the access road.
June 21st through June 25th, the Rubicon Trail will be closed, at the Tahoe entrance. There will be reroutes available through Blackwood Canyon. See map below. Please plan accordingly.
Please do not try and sneak in the morning of the 21st or the evening of the 25th, wait until Saturday morning.
Coming out of the Rubicon, the easy reroute is Forest Road 03-04 over to Barker Pass and then down the paved Forest Road 03 to the lake. The more fun reroute is the Hobbit Trail (16E76) to Red Cabin (16E79) to Barker Pass and then down the Middle Fork Trail (15N38) to the lake.
This has been planned for many years now and is actually going to happen. The reasoning is to eliminate erosion and thus improve water quality (Keep Tahoe Blue) and to reduce dust in the basin. The reason for the solid closure is for the safety of the crew working and to speed up the process by not having to deal with outside vehicles.
Grant funding for this was obtained probably six years ago but by the time the actual plan to do it was in place the cost of paving was above the amount of the original grant and the project got put on hold.
It is my understanding that El Dorado County, namely Vickie Sanders, stepped in to help out with covering the extra cost through other grants. Thank you, Vickie. Here is a link to the El Dorado County press release:
The road in will be extended to the first rolling dip, about equal to furthest western edge of the staging area. That will eliminate that annoying dip right at the edge of the pavement. Hopefully, they will harden the first few feet of the dirt trail to prevent a similar development. That should be right about to the point I stood to take this picture. I do sometimes miss my old XJ, pictured.
The trees were removed last year and were available for firewood at the ATV rental parking area. I grabbed quite a few rounds. It will sort of be sad to burn them. There were still logs to be cut at the old ATV parking turn out. Bring a LONG saw as they are thick.
The new kiosk was built last year, the old one was removed and will be reused at another OHV trailhead. The paving should run right up to the concrete base of the kiosk.
There is a new 4’x8′ map posted on the kiosk. It’s a rough draft to check size and material. See below:
To start with, there will be no parking lines painted on the asphalt. The idea is to, one, save money by not painting, and two, allow the users to figure out how to property an efficiently park in the space allowed.
Some of the pot holes and the hard edges of the paved road in from the residential area will be also be addressed.
Here is a copy of the front page of the five page outline for the project. My chicken scratch notes as well.
Please be patient with this temporary closure. It will bring a much better staging area experience for both those going onto the trail and those coming off the trail.
There was meeting yesterday with El Dorado County, Placer County Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and CA State Parks. Also in attendance were representatives from the Rubicon Trail Foundation and of course me.
The plan was to meet at the Placer County building in Tahoe City and talk about the winter snow berm, possible winter parking and work to be done at the staging area. Well, the invite list got so large that the meeting was moved to the Tahoma staging area. Outside and Covid-19 safe.
I was surprised to see that work had started in the area. Let’s start with the new kiosk. It will be going in just to the left of the current kiosk. The new kiosk will be twice as large as the current sign with the new FS map 4’x8′! You can barely make out the four steel stakes that will outline the concrete footprint of the kiosk base.
Paving the staging area has been in the works for more than five years but until now, always as a plan. Yesterday, it was clear that the FS is going forward with the paving. The trees within the staging area have been cut down and will be available for firewood some time soon.
The trees along the road, between the staging area and the road will remain. The removal of the trees will allow for more parking and make parking and paving a whole lot easier. At this time, there are no plans to paint any parking stripes. The plan is to let the users figure it out.
Right now, the dates for actual paving will be as early as possible next summer (2021). This will depend on the winter snowfall and air temperatures. Access to the Rubicon through the Tahoma staging area will be closed for a few days due to paving. Access to the Rubicon will be available through Blackwood Canyon.
The parking area might expand a small bit as a result of this work. The Rubicon itself will be paved all the way up to where the current kiosk stands. So that ever present hole at the end of the pavement will be gone. Other improvements will include picnic tables in the grassy area behind the bathrooms. El Dorado County and their grant work is also a part of the funding for the paving.
Winter parking was briefly discussed as a future project with no current plans to move it forward. The idea floated was to pave the quad rental parking area and to plow the trail in to that point. Again, there are no plans to make this happen, it was just talked about.
The real reason for the meeting was to discuss the snow berm that builds up at the entrance due to plowing the residential neighborhood. I have personally been at this fight for more than five years, closer to six.
Here is a map of the intersection in question. I left several of these with Peter Kraatz of Placer County.
This is how the intersection typically looks in the winter. The “Rubicon” is the fourth leg of the intersection not really show here as most people find it this way in winter.
Explaining my markings: the yellow curves show the ditch to the north of the Rubicon trail, the red arrow shows how users accessed the trail last winter as Placer plow crews pushed snow from the intersection to the southwest corner of Evergreen and the Rubicon, the red triangles represents the snow in the intersection, the green arrows are where I’m suggesting Placer puts that snow.
The next image actually shows the Rubicon. The orange dots are suggested snow stakes so the users know the best direction to access the Rubicon to stay on the pavement and out of the ditch.
We are not asking Placer to plow the Rubicon Trail nor are we asking for parking along Evergreen. We just don’t want Placer piling snow on the west side that blocks access to the Rubicon Trail.
No firm dates for the next step. Placer County is working on a public meeting to discuss the issue. Hopefully in November.
Okay, that probably got your attention.
Well there will be paving, but only the staging area. This is being done to prevent erosion.
The plan is not finalized but it looks like we might lose one or more of the trees in the center of the staging area. The strip between the Rubicon and the staging area will be thinned, hopefully giving us another parking spot or two.
Here’s an overview of the staging area. The three structures in the lower left of the staging area are the two pit toilet and the oil spill depository. The depository will probably move and the NEW kiosk will be placed in that area.
The area below the structures is a seasonal pond. And in case you’re wondering, it would be very difficult and expensive to expand the parking area.
There was talk of putting down stripes in order to bring some order to the way people park in the staging area. But by putting down stripes, the number of parking spots would probably be reduced. I think the final agreement was to not put down stripes this year and see how it goes.
There will be a handicap area painted in front of the pit toilets. And there will be a few no parking areas in front of the NEW kiosk and in other places to maintain flow through the area.
Speaking of flow, there is talk and some agreement about making the first entrance to the staging area (coming from 89) a one-way exit only, again to improve flow through the area and to encourage better parking.
Here’s a set of photos to remind you of the area. Yes, they are old photos but the area hasn’t changed much.
Wow, as I posted those pictures I realized how old they are…2009!
The old Hi-Lo’s sign is gone. The two FS kiosks have been reconstructed in to one. I sold that Cherokee years ago.
And I don’t care what day you visit the trail, you never pull in and find only one vehicle parked there.