Offroad Teardrop Adventure: Rubicon Trail, CA

Offroad Teardrop Adventure: Rubicon Trail, CA

We should start by making two things clear. First, the Rubicon Trail isn’t a secret, it’s one of the more well known off road adventure areas in the US, but if you haven’t been, there is a reason so many people love it. It has lakes and mountain scenery; there are miles of trails including true off road areas for rock crawling and testing a modified vehicle (probably park the offroad teardrop before attempting those areas).

The second point is that there are many kinds of terrain. There are areas you can drive to and camp easily in. There are other areas you might want to scout out before bringing a trailer in. We’ll do our best to lay out what you need to know before you pack up and hit the road.

The Rubicon Trail is a loop in the Eldorado National Forest (part of the Sierra Nevada range) that heads west from the shore of Lake Tahoe and makes a 10+ mile trip, visiting some lakes and other points of interest along the way. However, we should point out that there is more than one way to travel the Rubicon Trail; the loop which brings you back to Lake Tahoe, or the more difficult trip through to Loon Lake, which is a 22 mile trip. Both are referred to as the Rubicon Trail.

The loop is considered intermediate and can be accomplished in one day. The full trip through to Loon Lake is considered difficult and is generally done as a two-day trip.

Dispersed Camping is allowed in most areas in the Eldorado National Forest; as always you should check the National Parks Service and / or Eldorado County website to make sure you’re up to date on camping rules for the time period you’re planning to be there.

There is some designated camping on the Lake Tahoe site of the Rubicon Trail, but if you prefer staying in a designated area with facilities, you’ll want to be on the Loon Lake side of the area. There are several options, including:

Wentworth Springs Campground

Red Fir

Northshore Campground

Loon Lake Campground

Keep in mind that the Rubicon Trail and the Loon Lake area aren’t connected by maintained roads so if you want to enjoy both areas, you’ll want to plan that carefully so you’re not camping at the last minute along the trail somewhere.

The most notable features of the area are the many lakes. Following the shorter loop of the Rubicon Trail you’ll pass by four lakes on the McKinney Creek and Miller Creek watersheds. Depending on where you head near or off the trail (hiking, biking etc.) you can see many more. There are also mountain peaks in the area including Lost Corner Mountain, Sourdough Hill and Ellis Peak, as well as miles and miles of marked hiking trails. This is an amazing area to find a spot for your off road camp trailer, get it set up and then further explore on foot, by bike or in your vehicle.

Hopefully this introduction to the area will inspire you to make a trip to the western shores of Lake Tahoe. There are some amazing areas to see, stay in for a few days and explore at your own pace.

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