Rubicon trail family trip advice?....

#1
My wife mentioned a trip to a cabin at Tahoe so naturally I mentioned a run on the Rubicon first....

Who has gone? Have you taken kids? RTT or too much top heavy? Is 2 days pushing it? I'm thinking 2 days on the trail and 3 or 4 at a nice airbnb cabin with a hot tub on the lake. How long is the drive?

Are there any other trails around Tahoe that would be fun day trips while we're at the cabin or is the Rubicon cool enough that we'd be dumb not to run it while we're there with the rig?

Are any of you planning a trip this year? I've heard it's smart to go with a group. Anybody interested? We could get a bigger cabin if You're interested in that part as well....

Any other suggestions or advice?
 
#3
I did it several years ago with small kids. It was a fun campout, although a bit crowded. When you say 2 days, we did it in two nights, so like 2.5 days. We drove our rig there, so we didn't have to shuttle to a trailer. That would take significant time if that is part of your mode of travel. If there isn't a lot of traffic, you might be able to go quicker, but not and really enjoy the area. It is really beautiful up there - I wouldn't try to rush through it.
 

I Lean

Mbryson's hairdresser
Supporting Vendor
Location
Utah
#4
I did it in my TJ with my wife and 2 kids...towed a trailer to haul our stuff. I'm sure there's a trip report here somewhere--we did it with @mbryson , @Greg , @Hickey , @Rock Taco , @mesha , @bryson . We took 3 leisurely days. We could easily have done it in two, but it was nice to have the extra time in case someone broke down. We should have spent more time at Buck Island Lake also, that place is awesome. :)
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
#7
I did it in my TJ with my wife and 2 kids...towed a trailer to haul our stuff. I'm sure there's a trip report here somewhere--we did it with @mbryson , @Greg , @Hickey , @Rock Taco , @mesha , @bryson . We took 3 leisurely days. We could easily have done it in two, but it was nice to have the extra time in case someone broke down. We should have spent more time at Buck Island Lake also, that place is awesome. :)
Trip Report- https://www.rme4x4.com/threads/the-rubicon-with-old-friends.111368/
 

Bart

Registered User
Premium Member
Location
Arm Utah
#8
We did it last year in 2.5 days. Easily done in 2 if you get a good, early start the first day, and don't have to deal with breakdowns. Will be doing it again, but most likely not this year. RTTs are fine, just watch the overhang in some spots and high center of gravity in others.
 
#9
I did it a couple times with my rock buggy, but mostly my wife and I bring our Jeeps. I have probably been about 25 times. We usually camp at the springs during the middle of the week to beat the crowds. As always, it is best to go with a group, as your cell phones will not work there. Some tips:

* Always top off your tank on Hwy 50 BEFORE heading up Icehouse Road. From the turnoff, you will be driving for 45 min to an hour up a very steep grade to reach the actual trail-head and will burn through a lot of fuel.

* Lots of off-camber / tippy spots. The only vehicles I see roll are the ones with roof racks full of crap.

* If your rig is well built (37s, lots of travel), it is sometimes best to leave the doors/tops on. The trail can get very dusty, mosquito infested, its rains frequently in the summer, and you sometimes must cross water that is above the door line. The times I have my top/doors off, I wished I had left them on. When I leave my doors/top on, I am always glad I did. Last year I ran "The Con" with my air conditioning on the whole first day (it was 85 degrees). If you plan to play on side obstacles or run old sluice, you may want to leave the doors off.

* It is probably the most crowded off-road trail in the world. It is best to do everything in your power to avoid the crowds, otherwise a 5-hour run into camp could take 10 hours, and campsites fill up VERY fast at Buck Island and the Springs. Avoid event weeks and the weekends. People tend to be extremely rude on this trail in particular; blocking the trail with a broke rig instead of pulling it to the side, loud music all night, groups of stock Jeeps and barely running Toyotas that refuse to let faster groups pass, trash and piles of human shit everywhere off to the side of the trail. If you ever want to lose faith in the future of off-roading, the Con is an easy place to do that.

* Definitely enjoy Lake Tahoe after you run the trail out. We always stay a night at Stateline for a hot shower and a little bit of gambling.

* IT is VERY RARE anymore when they allow campfires on the Con. You can use propane camp stoves to cook, but need a Forest Service fire permit that can be obtained for free online. Don't plan on having any campfires.

* Make damn sure you rig is California street legal if it is plated (non green sticker). The trail is full of county sheriffs and rangers that love to write tickets for anything they find. We have had members in our party get tickets for windshield that got cracked on the trail, and a near "open container" ticket for a rig that was packing out his empty beer cans from camp. To the LEO's credit, they deal with a ton of assholes on this trail and don't have a lot of patience.
 
Last edited:

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
#11
As always, it is best to go with a group, as your cell phones will not work there.
A few years back, some local enthusiasts installed a 70cm repeater that covers the entire Rubicon Trail. This repeater is linked to another one nearby in civilization (Tahoe? Sacramento? I don't recall), so it gives you a good way to summon help should disaster occur.
 
#12
A few years back, some local enthusiasts installed a 70cm repeater that covers the entire Rubicon Trail. This repeater is linked to another one nearby in civilization (Tahoe? Sacramento? I don't recall), so it gives you a good way to summon help should disaster occur.
(To call for help on the trail only) 444.9875, PL 156.7, + offset
(To call for help outside the trail) 444.9875, PL 107.2, + offset

Be mindful that local operators are sticklers for proper radio etiquette and expect you to be a licensed operator to use the repeater for anything other than a real emergency (don't use the repeater to ask someone to bring you a new water pump or 5 gallons of gas). During the summer, the trail is literally littered with unprepared people looking for help. Sadly, I got the the point where I had to pretend that I didn't have a welder or I would never ever get to camp and would be out of wire and battery juice by the time I did. Walking back to Loon Lake is often just as fast as driving there!
 
#14
We talked it over and decided to do the trip a little differently. We will eventually do the Rubicon but this year we're heading up to our family cabin on a lake (also N. California) for a week or so with the Jeep. There is a huge trail system above the lake that I've never explored. A friend who lives in the area said that there are lots of "Rubicon-ish" trails that can be done in a half day. He's going to guide us around up there for a few days. Having said that, we want to go with some friends...I'll text you.
 
Top