In short, the trail is still very wet. Lots of snow along the Tahoe National Forest from Miller Lake out to what I call Potato Patch.
Six rigs went in from the Tahoe side Friday morning at 10:30. It was a late start but we are all retired so who cares about time. At the bottom of Cadillac Hill we turned on to the Long Lake Trail to check conditions. We didn’t get back to the staging area until 7pm.
The usual tourist shot before we went down Cadillac.
Once on the Long Lake Trail, we found minimal trees down along the trail. But we did clear off most of them.
I would suggest staying off the trail until the big snow melt slows down. If you do go, please tread lightly on the wet trail.
A small group of dedicated wheelers headed out on the Tahoe side of the Rubicon on the 28th of April. They encountered a lot more deep snow than they expected.
This is probably just before where the Rubicon crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, lots of tall trees shading the trail, preventing the snow from melting.
As in my last post, if you go out, be prepared for anything and everything. Bring food, drink, shelter, extra clothing, extra recovery gear, ham radio, winter boots, etc.
I’m sure the snow will be melting fast but right now, even in the open sun the snow is still deep.
My guess for this location is before Observation? But I’m really not sure. Please note the amount of snow still out there. The vehicle track just above the rear view mirror tells you it’s still deep.
Personally, I’m going to wait a while for more snow to melt. I enjoy snow wheeling but don’t need to make it a multi-day slug fest. I’ll enjoy a snow run when the snow is more just a long drift here and there and the daytime temperatures are warmer.
Please always Tread Lightly! Stay on the trail, “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around.”
Well, some of us might have been considering an early spring trip to the Rubicon Trail, but after the current storms roll through, some of us are reconsidering that option.
The series of storms going across the Sierra right now will leave several feet of snow. Heavy snow. Great for the water content but not so good for snow wheeling.
Access is easy. The snow wall is gone. This was taken Tuesday the 19th:
The neighborhood showed signs of the recent storm but it was melting fast. As I type, more snow is falling in Tahoma and over the Sierra.
The weather gets better this weekend. I’m sure we’re all tempted to go. If you go, be prepared!
Winter/snow wheeling should be approached with extreme caution. Prepare as if you will have to spend the night: food, water, shelter, clothing, etc.
Vehivle recovery is much more difficult during the winter. Bring extra winch cable, snatch blocks, chains (vehicle & tow), chainsaw for possible trees down across the trail, etc.
There are no tow/recovery services on the Rubicon. The Sheriff might rescue you, but they will not even attempt to recover your rig.
Be safe. Be smart!
We had about fifty people show up for the meeting Saturday morning. Sorry, no pictures.
The majority of the group were the regular players, El Dorado County, Rubicon Trail Foundation, Friends of the Rubicon, CA Off Road Vehicle Assoc., Nevada Four Wheel Drive Assoc., Forest Service and private property owners, but there were, of course, the users.
Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County lead the show. She reviewed the list of questions submitted to the governing groups and agencies prior to the meeting. Most of those groups and agencies were there to expanded and clarified on those answers. I am trying to get an electronic copy of the questions and answers to post up, stay tuned.
Placer County was a no show. They did provide written answers to the questions sent but did not provide a representative at the meeting.
El Dorado County has obtained and spent 35 million dollars of OHV grant funding on the trail to date! Helicopters will fly this summer working from Arnold’s Rock to the Springs. RTF will fund heavy equipment to rework the rolling dips within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. RTF will manage opening the Tahoma staging area bathrooms earlier in the season and keeping them open later in the year.
Tahoe side adoptions are possible but not yet organized: sections of the Rubicon Trail, rolling dips within the LTBMU and campsites along the trail.
Parking at the staging area was discussed and will likely include no parking along the outside edge of the staging area to allow a permanent ‘through route’ for users and more specifically emergency equipment.
The hot topic was the always reappearing Snow Wall. Somehow, an excess of snow is appearing at the Rubicon Trail entrance. Placer County claims they are plowing linerally, only a blade pushing snow to the side. Yet they have and use a rotary blade in the area. Placer is standing by their current practices. Hopefully, a meeting will be scheduled that will include Placer County, OHV users’ groups and the local residents to finally come to a solution to this issue. Many solutions were documented and will be followed up on.
Another longer-term thought would be to make the Rubicon Trail a Sno-Park, similar to Blackwood Canyon, but allowing wheeled vehicles. Plow the road up to a parking lot where OHV users could bring in a trailered rig. Yes, there would be a parking fee associated with the Sno-Park. We anticipate that the local residents would strongly oppose this idea. This was only a thought; no action will be taken at this time.
Better communications were promised both between those involved in management and communications to the users.
El Dorado County, Placer County and CA State Parks LEOs have entered into their own MOU to ensure law enforcement across the entire Rubicon Trail.
The suggestion has been made that a similar meeting needs to take place every year, in order to continue the open communications. These meetings could rotate through different cities: Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Placerville, Auburn and Sacramento. Stay tuned.
Overall, it was a good meeting. We needed to get people in the same room and away from their keyboards. Nothing was solved and Placer was a no show, but we are moving in the right direction.
Hopefully, I’ll have those questions and answers to post soon.
-aka, Rubicon Ronin
Some Hi-Lo’s headed out to the Rubicon Trail, I think on Tuesday the 22nd.
Condition were treacherous. Deep snow and deeper holes in the snow.
Not all was smooth sailing.
The group made it out as far as Bottom Dollar Hole, just above the Potato Patch. That required going past the shelf road along Miller Creek. Here is a great video of the technique used to get past it…
This level of snow wheeling takes a very well-built rig, lots of recovery gear, experience and super driving skills.
Do not travel out over the snow unless you are prepared to spend the night: food, shelter, clothing, water, communications, etc.