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Kawasaki Teryx on the Rubicon Trail

Monster Energy Kawasaki Teryx on the Rubicon Trail
2011 Kawasaki Teryx after a long day on the Rubicon Trail

After a quick day trip into Little Sluice a few weeks back to test my Kawasaki Teryx with 31" tires, I upgraded the engine to a Muzzys Stage I 916cc (recreational). Without much more than some testing up and down the road in my neighborhood, we loaded up for a weekend on the Rubicon.  Joining me on this trip were Dave in his Polaris RZR XP and Mike with his Kawasaki Teryx. Dave's XP has Muzzys exhaust, Pro Armor doors, PURE Polaris rocker guards and some new Super ATV 30" Dominator tires.  Mike's Teryx has a CST mid-travel, Muzzys exhaust  and Factory UTV 1/2" UHMW skid plates. My 2011 Kawasaki Teryx has been going through some serious upgrades over the last six months, and has been exceeding my expectations every time I take it out on the trail - more details: 2011 Kawasaki Teryx Project.

Day One:

We left Loon Lake trailhead at 8:30am on a Friday with the goal to get as far through the Rubicon Trail as possible, then turn around and make it back to Loon Lake. In my mind this was a test run for a concept I call the "Rubicon Trail UTV Challenge". Basically cover the entire Rubicon Trail in both directions in one day. Doing something like this would be much better accomplished on a random weekday like a Tuesday or Wednesday so traffic would not slow you down. For this "proof of concept"  we left early enough that we did not hit traffic that impacted us much until Rubicon Springs. But heading up Cadillac Hill, we hit head-on into a group of 10+ rigs coming down the hill at the big switchback and they were having a hard time coming down the hill.  After finding out that their ultimate destination was back up Big Sluice, we decided to cut it short and turn around so we could scoot out in front of them.

We arrived back in camp at Loon Lake by 4pm. Even after a side trip through Little Sluice for me. I would call that pretty darn successful.   Next time I organize this sort of "day trip" on the Rubicon, I think we will camp at Airport Flat and try and cover the trail at least up to the observation point at the top of Cadillac. With capable rigs and no breakdowns, it is doable.

Start of the Trail to Little Sluice:

Near Gatekeeper - Rubicon Trail Granite Bowl - Rubicon Trail Ellis Creek - Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on the Rubicon Trail near Walker Hilll

Google Maps - Loon Lake Trail Head

Google Maps - Ellis Creek

Little Sluice:

Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail

Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail

Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx in Little Sluice on the Rubicon Trail

Google Maps - Little Sluice

Buck Island Lake:

Buck Island Lake Buck Island - Rubicon Trail

Google Maps - Buck Island Lake

Rubicon Springs:

Rubicon Springs Bridge into Rubicon Springs

Google Maps - Bridge into Rubicon Springs

Big Sluice:

Kawasaki Teryx on Big Sluice - Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on Big Sluice - Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on Big Sluice - Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on Big Sluice - Rubicon Trail

Day Two:

There are two entrances to the Rubicon trail, either at Wentworth Springs or at the Loon Lake spillway.

Much less ambitious than the first day, our goal was to travel over to Wentworth Springs. We left Loon Lake and headed towards Ellis Creek. Then took a left and descended after a few miles into Wentworth Springs campground.  The big obstacle on this part of the trail is the Post Pile.

The trail from Airport Flat through Wentworth Springs is the historic route of the Rubicon Trail.

Post Pile:

Kawaski Teryx on the Post Pile - Rubicon Trail Kawaski Teryx on the Post Pile - Rubicon Trail Kawaski Teryx on the Post Pile - Rubicon Trail Kawaski Teryx on the Post Pile - Rubicon Trail

Polaris RZR XP on the Rubicon Trail Polaris RZR XP on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on the Rubicon Trail Kawasaki Teryx on the Rubicon Trail
Going down Post Pile

Kawaski Teryx on the Post Pile - Rubicon Trail
Coming up Post Pile

Google Maps - Wentworth Springs Campground

UTV Rubicon Challenge:

What I envision for this "challenge" is to cover the trail in a UTV from Wentworth Springs all the way through the trail to at least the top of Cadillac Hill (Observation Point) and back in one day.

Bonus Points:

  • Choosing Little Sluice instead of bypass.

  • Choosing Old Big Sluice instead of more traditional route down the slabs. 

  • Starting/Finishing at Airport Flat (also a good camp spot).

  • Making it all the way to the end of the trail on the Tahoe side.

This is nothing more than an unofficial challenge.  Nothing organized or sanctioned. You can do this on your own and submit pictures and/or video for proof.

Who is ready?

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