Rubicon (staging area) Paved, Reopens

This morning (June 26th), 8am, the Tahoma Staging Area reopened after being closed for a week for the paving of the staging area and repairs to the access road.

The paved area will not be striped at this time. If the users continue to be able to figure out efficient parking, it will never be paved. The current plan is to post “No Parking” signs along the outside edge of the parking/staging area. This would provide a permanent drive through turn around area for those with trailers and emergency vehicles.

The access road along side the staging area was also paved. And yes, that ever present dip at the end of the pavement was filled in! This is the first entrance to the staging area:

Here is the second entrance and where that dip used to be:

And the last entrance:

The paving went all the way to the first rolling dip and even was placed up to the leading edge of the new kiosk concrete base:

And up to the toilets:

While they were there, the paving company was contracted to do many, many repairs to the access road:


There was always that right turn, coming from the lake, that had a pretty big drop. (looking back towards the lake)

That turn also got fill material to widen the turn and more corrugated pipe to lengthen the drain:

There were many more repairs to the access road.

Thanks go out to El Dorado County, Placer County, the USFS (Basin) and the contractor that did the work. Everyone worked together to fund it (CA State Parks, OHV Division grant), plan it and make it happen. The efforts to educate the public were mostly successful. There were many rigs with trailers parked in Blackwood Canyon, in many places.

There was only on instance of a Jeep driving around the road closed sign and in to the trail to the staging area, thinking he could get through. He was from Minnesota.


Rubicon Ronin

Rubicon Trail CLOSED for PAVING!

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.


Rubicon Ronin

Tahoma Kiosk Installed

Today I drove up to the staging area just to see the progress on the new kiosk. And it’s almost done!

It is not what I expected but it’s a HUGE improvement over the old kiosk.

The asphalt coming next summer will run right up to the concrete base.

The new kiosk is much bigger than the old one, which I’m trying to move to the Middle Fork trailhead in Blackwood Canyon. Not only does it have twice the space for posting information, it has the same amount of space on the backside…

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has also developed a new map which will be posted 4’x8′. No need to get out the glasses to figure out where you’d like to go.


Rubicon Ronin

Rubicon Staging Area Work Has Started

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.


Rubicon Ronin