Author Topic: Vehicle Prepreation and Keeping the Trail Clean  (Read 2649 times)

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Vehicle Prepreation and Keeping the Trail Clean
« on: Apr 13, 2011, 03:15:28 PM »
Here are some important resources to prepare everyone for the trail, and to keep the trail clean and clear for future generations to come!


Vehicles Preparations

This information is intended to give the reader an idea of what type of vehicle is needed to run the Rubicon Trail. These are recommendations only; it is up to you to be safe and thoughtful when using the trail. If you have the driving skills, a brand new stock Wrangler can be driven through the Rubicon, taking the bypasses. Most people should expect sheet metal damage, at a minimum. Larger tires (33”), a lift kit (3”), body protection (rocker guards) and a locking or limited slip differential should be considered to prevent damage.

Vehicle accessories you should consider:
  • Hand tools
  • Spare parts
  • A spare tire
  • Onboard welder
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A Winch rated at roughly twice your vehicle’s weight, preferably equipped with synthetic rope
  • Extrication hardware (tree strap, clevis, dowels, chain, etc.)
  • A tow strap
  • Work gloves
  • A Hi-lift jack
  • Adequate attachment points for towing (tow hooks!)
  • A roll cage
  • High quality seat belts
  • A functional parking brake or Line Lock device

Remember to maintain your vehicle prior to coming to the trail! Poorly maintained vehicles leak, are unsafe, and tend to break down, ruining your trip for you and your group.

Requirements from the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs
This is a good starting place to prepare for a Rubicon run.
All vehicles must be maintained to conform to highway safety standards, as well as meet the minimum requirements listed below:
  • Roll bar or full cage or factory hard top
  • Functional Parking brake or Micro-Lock
  • Tow strap or rope. (recommend rated at 2 times the vehicle weight)
  • First aid kit (what do you want when you are hurt?)
  • Jack capable of lifting the vehicle and a tool capable of removing lug nuts (don't forget your wheel locks)
  • Spare tire equal to or within 3 inches of existing tires on the vehicle (no temporary spares)
  • Fire extinguisher with gauge indicating good/full, appropriately stored
  • Seat belts for all passengers
  • Antennas must not exceed 4'6" (except when longer antennas/whips are required by certain OHV areas)
  • Adequate attachment points front and rear, i.e., tow hooks, receiver, etc. Tow balls are generally not recommended.
  • Battery hold downs (no bungee cords)
  • In case of trouble, carry an oil spill recovery kit. These can be picked up the kiosk at no charge. The kits are provided by El Dorado County

Parking and Staging Areas

Each trailhead has a different parking situation.

Loon Lake
Ample parking exists right at the trailhead, with overflow and oversize parking available in the gravel lot
adjacent to the Loon Lake Chalet. There is a public toilet at the Chalet and a kiosk with trail information
and a public toilet at the trailhead.

Wentworth Springs
Rroad-side parking is quite limited. There is a small area near the junction of Wentworth Springs Road
and 14NO5 that can accommodate a few tow rigs. There is also a fair amount of parking in the area of
Airport Flat Campground. There is also a kiosk with trail information and limited parking at Wentworth
Springs campground.

Near Tahoe
There is a staging area with public toilets and signs with maps and trail information.

Other parking in the Tahoe area can be found at the casinos at South Lake Tahoe, about 20 miles around
the lake, or on the El Dorado side of the trail, at local resorts like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Icehouse Resort.
Vehicle Licensing

It is legal to drive any street licensed vehicle from any US state on the Rubicon Trail.

Green sticker requirements
Any non-street legal vehicles needs to have a green sticker and spark arrestor in place to run the
Rubicon Trail. For details, see

Conditions and restrictions
The Rubicon Trail is a county claimed public road in both El Dorado and Placer Counties.
All vehicle codes still apply. All county laws and restrictions are still enforced.


Camping on the Rubicon Trail is a great way to enjoy the area. It is recommended for first time users to plan to camp at least two days if you are planning to run the entire trail. Relax and enjoy this beautiful place!

Some favorite designated camping areas near the El Dorado side of the trail:
  • Airport Flat
  • North Shore (loon Lake)
  • Loon Lake
  • Gerle Creek

On the Tahoe side, there is really only one good designated camping area near the trail: Kaspian

In the National Forests near the trail and alongside the trail, dispersed camping is allowed in most areas. Dispersed camping means just that: you can camp about anywhere you like, but you cannot drive off the roads or the Rubicon Trail! Virtually ALL of the camping on the trail itself is dispersed.

Here’s a list of likely spots to camp alongside the trail:
  • Wentworth Springs
  • Ellis Creek
  • Walker Hill
  • Winter Camp (near Little Sluice)
  • Little Sluice slab area
  • Buck Island lake
  • Rubicon Springs (private, $15 per vehicle gets you three nights)
  • Top of Cadillac at Observation point area

For details, see


Spills. Every Last Drop, Leave no trace...

  • Perform pre-trip maintenance
  • Check your vehicle often for leaks
  • Carry and use a spill clean-up kit
  • Use a spotter
  • Stop every leak
  • Use hazardous waste sheds
  • If it leaks, leave it at home


Oil Spill Kits, Oil Spill Prevention, Response and Recycling

For a limited time (while they last) you can pickup your free Rubicon Clean Trail Kits at Loon Lake Kiosk (weekends only).

Before You Go
Prior to heading out on the trail, perform your pre-trip maintenance to prevent leaks and minimize the chances of breaking down. Small leaks at home can turn into major leaks under extreme conditions. Small leaks from hundreds of vehicles result in a huge impact on the trail.

Clean your engine, transmission, transfer case and driveline to check for oil leaks. Repair or replace leaking gaskets and seals. Check the fuel, cooling, brake, power steering and other systems as well. Repair or replace lines, hoses, reservoirs and other components. Install skid plates to protect critical
areas from damage. Make sure your battery is firmly secured.

While Wheeling
Drive cautiously to prevent damage to your vehicle. Don’t straddle large rocks that can puncture vulnerable components. Cross obstacles at an angle, one wheel at a time, raising vehicle clearance. Know where the low points on your vehicle are; the differential, transmission, transfer case, etc.

Use a spotter in front of your vehicle to let you know what’s going on underneath. Know what’s ahead of you. Stop frequently, get out, walk ahead and observe. Evaluate the options and select the least damaging route.

Spill Response
If you do experience a spill on the trail, the first step is to control the leak. Use whatever means available to stop or slow the leak at its source. Hoses can be clamped and in some cases small holes can be plugged.

Secondly, contain what has spilled. Use the absorbent provided to soak up any petroleum based liquid. The absorbent will float on water and skim oil off the top. You can also carry rags, kitty litter or other absorbents. Leaks can be captured in containers. After use, absorbents can be placed in the
plastic bag provided for transport out of the forest. If the spill soaks into the soil, the soil can also be placed in the bag and packed out. Additional absorbent material can often be obtained at auto supply stores.

Recycling and Disposal
Saturated absorbent, rags, kitty litter, soil, etc. can be dropped off on your way out at one of the hazardous material storage sheds located at each end of the trail. The storage shed on the west end is next to the kiosk at Loon Lake. On the east end, the shed is located next to the restrooms in the
parking lot.

Saturated materials can also be taken to the household hazardous waste collection facilities in your area. For facilities In El Dorado County and the hours of operation, please check our website at For the nearest oil recycling facility call 1-800-CLEANUP.

This program is being implemented by the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department and funded by a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Thanks for doing your part. County of El Dorado
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Kentucky Jelly

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Awesome, thanks for posting Mike. :thumbs:
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Thank You BigMike!.....
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