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RUBICON TRAIL:  DIRECTIONS

The Rubicon Trail is located in Northern California near Lake Tahoe. The beginning of the trail is off Hwy 50 near Loon Lake and ends on the west side of Lake Tahoe at Tahoma.

Most people start the Rubicon at Loon Lake, but you can also begin at Wentworth Springs. Take the Ice House Road \Crystal Basin exit off Hwy 50 about 20 miles east of Placerville. Follow Icehouse Road for approximately 28 miles until you hit the Loon Lake road which goes to the right.  

Know Before You Go
tips for getting Rubicon ready

Follow it about another 4 miles until you cross the second Loon Lake dam, which puts you at what is called the spillway. You are now at the start of the Rubicon.

The other access from the west is via Wentworth Springs, the original Rubicon Trail route. If you come in the Icehouse Road and want to connect with the Wentworth Springs access (and campground), travel the Icehouse road and follow the signs (pavement all the way) to about 4 miles short of Loon Lake (there will be a sign indicating a right hand turn towards Loon). Go straight at this intersection. It will take you towards Gerle Creek.

Travel another 5 or 6 miles. You'll go past the Gerle Creek Campground and the Airport Flat Campground. You'll see a sign for Bunker Hill Lookout and McKinstry Lake (to the right). Take this off-shoot paved road. It won't be paved long.

Just before the pavement ends you'll go past Lawyer Cow Camp (some old buildings still standing there), and shortly you'll encounter a faint, narrow road off to the right. That's the Wentworth Springs Road. You'll cross a creek right off the bat, but the road is in pretty good shape for a while. Mostly 2WD stuff at this point.

Travel a few more miles and you're at Wentworth Springs Campground, with toilet and campfire pit. From here on it's 4WD, lock and lo. From here to Rubicon Springs is commonly called the Devil's Playground due to it's roughened condition and great wheeling.

You'll encounter obstacles like the Post Pile, Walker Hill, Little Sluice (with bypass), Spider Lake, Old Sluice Box, Chappie Rock, Buck Island Dam and Lake, Big Sluice, and then the bridge across the Rubicon River.

From there on, it's Rubicon/Soda Springs, Cadillac Hill and finally, Observation Point. Take a photo here. Everyone else does because it shows that 1) you made it; and 2) a huge portion of the trail terrain is right behind your rigs in the photo. :)

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Coming from Tahoe: you can park at the Staging Area (Homewood), where the trail begins, in a dirt, fairly large pull-out/parking area. Follow the signs to the Rubicon Trail OHV Access Route off the main highway that runs along the west side of Lake Tahoe in the Homewood area.  

It's approximately 15 miles from the 50/89 intersection to the last gas stop before Homewood. At 15.6 miles from that intersection you'll see the Rubicon/McKinney Road OHV Access sign. Follow the Rubicon Trail signs but you have to wind your way through the Homewood subdivision.

0.2 mile you turn left on Bellueue; then 0.1 mile to stop sign where you turn right on McKinney. Stay straight then left on McKinney/Rubicon -- stay straight you are on the trail access paved portion of the road. It's about 1.4 miles to the end of the pavement and the Staging Area. From there it's about 2.8 (slow) miles to the Barker Pass Road intersection with McKinney Road and the Rubicon Trail. There are signs here also.

Once on the main trail, watch for the Rubicon Trail Signs and please stay on the trail.

For a good book (with maps and photos), go here.

For more on Rubicon Trail Ethics, go here.

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