Rubicon Conditions and Restrictions  

Rubicon Trail Conditions

BE PREPARED! Have a ham radio. Always pack for
several days on the trail even if you are only
planning on an afternoon run. Food and water. A
change of clothes. A second (or third) pair of shoes.
Check out the weather links below.

Saturated Soils
During conditions when the soils are saturated and damage to the trail may occur, El Dorado County will close the trail. This typically only occurs during a prolonged warm period in mid-winter or during Spring melt. These conditions can be checked at Rubicon Trail Conditions

Winter run off is a great concern along the Rubicon.
A motto we have heard is “Make dust not mud”.
If you can put off your trip until the trail dries, please
do so. This is the time of year that erosion damage
can be done to the trail. Stay on the trail. If you can’t
make the obstacle (water or granite) “Turn around,
don’t go around!” Tread Lightly! The bugs come out
as the snow melt slows. Bring bug spray!

Only the most prepared and built rigs should attempt
winter travel on the Rubicon. With the wrong part
breaking, you could be in the snow for days. The
walk out could be 10-15 miles. Let people know when
you’re going and when you’ll be back. The ham
repeater is now year round but it is not a reason to
go in unprepared. You could be held responsible
for the cost of your rescue.

As the snow melt dries the fire danger increases.
Please check this site and the Forest Service site for
updates. The trail is quite crowded on the weekends.
Please show some patience when slow downs occur.

This time of year storms can move in fast. Be
prepared for all types of weather. Fire restrictions
could still be in place.

Weather Links

Weather and snow report for Homewood Mountain
Resort, the closest ski area to the Rubicon on the
Tahoe side.

Sierra at Tahoe, the closest ski area to Loon Lake.

A general Tahoe weather link

Webcams of what's happening at Tahoe. They're
not always operational but when they are, a
picture is worth a thousand words.

Fire Restrictions

The Rubicon Trail travels through the Eldorado and
Tahoe National Forests, and is often under fire
restrictions, even if the trail and it's surroundings seem
wet. Users must be responsible for knowing whether
fire restrictions are in force.

Use the links below and watch for fire condition signs
that should be posted at every major Forest entry road.

Regardless of fire restrictions, permits are required
for any type of open flame. They are free and
available at any Forest Service office or from any
Forest Service official. Please use fire responsibly.

Please respect the fire restrictions and spend the
night without a fire.

Fire restrictions are usually removed after a good
rain has wet the forests.

Driving Restrictions

Eldorado Forest Roads are closed to winter use
January through March. The Rubicon Trail and the
Ellis Creek Trail are El Dorado County roads and
area not affected by Forest Service closures.

The road across the two dams at Loon Lake are
open to winter motorized recreation. The voluntary
use of Wentworth Springs only during the winter is
no longer in effect.

Make sure you have a current map!

Route Designation has been completed on the
El Dorado National Forest and the recognized routes
are the only trails you can legally drive. There are
large fines for driving off trail; the fine goes up if
you have caused resource damage.

The Tahoe National Forest is in the middle of Route
Designation. Please contact them directly if you
have any questions.

The Lake Tahoe Management Unit has completed an
inventory of all legal OHV routes within the basin.
They did this some time ago and have posted the
route at the following link.

We at RTF fully support the enforcement of the
driving off the trail and resource damage laws.


RTF is a 501(c)3
Non-profit Educational


Rubicon Trail Foundation - Email - 1-888-6RUBICON (678-2426) - PO Box 2188, Placerville, CA 95667