Basically, winter seems to be hanging around.
There is still a ton of water on and around the trails. Snow drifts will be found in the shade. Mud in other places. Please Tread Lightly!
Here is the pond at the Ellis Peak Trail intersection. This was taken on June 19th, so most of this is probably gone, but it’s a heck of a lot of snow for June!
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has a list of closed trails on their website. Those trails include, but are not limited to Noonchester, Buck Lake, Middle Fork, Forest Road 03, Twin Peaks, 16E16, etc. It is the users responsibility to know what trails are open or closed regardless of trail and gate conditions.
Although the Tahoe National Forest has not published a list of closed roads, be aware that most of the TNF trails in the Rubicon area will have deep snow drifts for some time.
There are a lot of snags in the forest right now. John Briggs and I spent five hours on June 19th cutting back downed trees along the Rubicon. And that was only between the staging area and the turn for the Ellis Peak Trail at the pond. Be prepared to remove trees from the trail both on the way in and on the way out. Trees could fall after you’ve past and you’ll need a way to get out.
We were able to pull down this snag by hand and cut it up and throw it off the trail. There is plenty of firewood to be had. Go to the Tahoe National Forest office in Truckee for the permit.
Do not drive around downed trees. The motto of this website is: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. That means don’t drive off trail to get around an obstacle be it snow, a tree or just a tough section of trail. The anti-OHV people will use such incidents against us to get our trails closed.
There is a report of a HUGE boulder on the trail below Morris Rock. It would be great to split it up and harden the trail with a few smaller obstacles. Until that boulder is moved or reduced in size, Cadillac Hill will be very tough to get up.
Another report had Miller Creek flowing at 48″ deep. I find this hard to believe but if it’s anywhere near true, it will be tough to cross. The section west of there will be VERY wet and very deep in places. Check the depth before you charge in to any water holes.
There was a report of four rigs stuck on the trail, two with blown motors. One of those was in that wet section described above. I’m hoping work has been done to start the removal of those rigs. The two snow bound rigs were removed earlier and both driven out under their own power.
I believe that this one had a blown motor. If you look closely, the trail is up on the snow bank. But the snow bank is a little off camber and thus the heightened pucker factor. The rig it technically off trail. Remember, “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”.
The Eldorado National Forest has put out the following press release closing its OHV trails on December 1st, tomorrow. For us that means the Richardson Lake Trail but it applies to most all OHV trails on the ENF.
This is unfortunate as the Richardson Lake Trail is covered with snow and not susceptible to damaging the soils under the snow. Maybe in future years we can ask to have the Richardson Lake Trail remain open as an over the snow route for ‘wheeled’ OHV use.
Trails within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) are also closed for the season but the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) has not posted any early closing yet. The trails on the TNF are scheduled to close January 1st.
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, I mean Hi-Lo’s meeting…
I took a short trip up to the Rubicon staging area just to see what was up. I got there and there wasn’t as much snow as I thought there would be. So I headed up the trail.
It was a beautiful drive. Still a little bumpy at lower elevations but it smoothed out as the snow got deeper.
Miller Meadow was partially frozen over.
Miller Lake hadn’t started to freeze yet.
I turned around at the wide intersection of Ellis Peak and the Rubicon. There were tracks further up the trail but I had a meeting to go to. On the trip out, I could see that my diff was dragging on the snow. I am running 33″ tires on the Colorado.
As always with winter travel, be prepared for anything. Here is one example. Not only is there a snag over the tail that will come in to play with more snow, but there is a tree down on the edge of the trail that will soon be covered with snow. If someone were to drive over it, they would puncture their tire.
My advice, stay in the middle of the trail.
This snag will surely fall over the winter. Always carry a saw in case it falls after you’ve passed and need to remove it to get out.
Remember the side trails within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit are already closed. That means the Buck Lake Trail, Middle Fork Trail and the Noonchecter Mine Trail. Not all have gates, and not all gates are closed, even if they should be. It is the users responsibility to know where they are and if the trails are open.
The Richardson Lake Trail is open until January 1st, as is Ellis Peak Trail and other in the Tahoe National Forest.
Always be prepared to spend the night: heat source, shelter, sleeping bag, food, water, etc.
Author’s note: I was going to hold off on this just to space out my posts but a conversation online just now made me decide to post it. For the record, I don’t alter the trail. I repair the trail. My work is pre-approved by the Tahoe National Forest or involves getting water off or across the trail in order to minimize erosion. (Also pre-approved; generally not specifically.)
Unfortunately, there are those out there that alter the trail for their own personal gain, either making the trail easier or making the trail harder. Some are trying to do good work but skip too many steps and the work doesn’t last and sometimes hurts.
In order for keep our trails open, safe and maintained properly, we must all speak up when our opinions are being asked. We should volunteer when we can. Comment on grants, attend your local FS meetings, join organizations that fight for your ‘pursuit of happiness’! Rant Off.
A new illegal bypass has appeared on Cadillac Hill this summer. I don’t know when it appeared or who started it but it’s not the first of it’s kind. Not twenty yards from this one was a previous attempt to bypass the trail around a difficult section.
You can see the ‘new’ bypass looking straight in to the photo. The top of the old bypass is in front of the bumper of the Jeep on the right side of the photo.
I get that people are tired and sometimes broken when they are driving out, but that doesn’t mean you are allowed to make an easier route. Please stay on the trail.
The bypass was blocked by moving a rather large log to block the route.
Both ends of the log were drilled and rebar was placed to prevent the removal of the log. I know this will not prevent those who really want to remove it from removing it but they will have to work at it and they will know they are doing something wrong.
Signs were placed on both sides of the log to let people know that this is the will of the forest service, not an individual.
Not wanting to hide from the work I perform under the guidance of the forest service, I put the logo of this website on the sign along with the USFS logo and the CA State Parks logo because they mange and fund respectively a large portion of the maintenance of our OHV trails.
We are our own worst enemy sometimes. Driving off trail and creating new route just gives the anti-OHV people more ammunition to use against us and to close our trails.
We need to work together. There are those who illegally modify the trail to make it harder and there are those who illegally drive off trail to find an easier route. We need to find a middle ground.
If you would like to discuss this issue further, please email me TheOtherRubicon@Charter.net.
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.