Rubicon Trail Restrictions (50 feet Right of Way)
By Court Order (due to a lawsuit filed in 2005 against the USDA Forest Service), all vehicles must remain within 25 feet of centerline of the Rubicon Trail -- a non-maintained county road.
In other words, the USFS property on both sides of the Rubicon Trail are temporarily closed to vehicles. You must keep your vehicle within the county easement (50 feet total). Signs are up but are not always reliable. FOTR and county Sheriff personnel try to keep the signage current, but you can't count on it. You must know where the trail is.
IMPORTANT: the trail is only physically 8 to 10 feet wide; but the easement is 50 feet. This means there's some room to pull over here and there to let folks by, but it does NOT mean a free-for-all in that 50 feet of easement. Do not drive over vegetation or drive where vehicles have not gone. Stay on the well worn trail.
Driving off trail or over vegetation is considered resource damage and will cost you!
NOTE: the new Travel Management Rule and final EIS for the Eldorado National Forest requires you to stay within ONE vehicle length of any trail or road no matter where you are. Keep your rig near the road/trail if you park it.
The Rubicon Trail, an Eldorado County public road, is open and will be open all year long.
ALSO, the private property around Spider Lake remains closed to all vehicular access. All Private Property along the Rubicon Trail route needs to be respected. We just need to stay within the trail boundaries at all times. The Private Property owners are adamant that they do not want resource damage on their lands (as is the USFS).
Fines for off trail travel (resource damage) range from $175 to $275 or more for violations of the 50 foot easement (25 feet of centerline).
Note: you can camp or walk any where you want; you just can't take your vehicle outside the easement.
ONE MORE NOTE: Rubicon Soda Springs is private property and they have their own camping rules that you need to know when you use this private land. Contact the caretaker when you camp there. You can read more on renting camping spots at Rubicon Springs here.
PLEASE, it is up to us to obey this court order and to regain our normal access to the trail and the surrounding area. Support the organizations intervening in this lawsuit and who are supporting you and your access to the famed Rubicon Trail (BlueRibbon Coalition, Calif. Assoc. of 4Wheel Drive Clubs, the Rubicon Trail Foundation, and the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR).