|Rubicon Trail Snow Run
We hauled Dave’s 2009 Polaris RZR S and my 2010 Polaris RZR S up to the Rubicon last weekend to see how far we could get into the Rubicon. The goal was to head up the Wentworth Springs Rd. instead of the Loon Lake route because the steep granite slabs around Loon Lake can be a bit treacherous.
The road isn’t plowed just past the turnoff to Look Lake. From there, you can unload and ride in legally over the pavement (as long as there is snow on the road that restricts normal traffic). The paved road had been traveled on by some full sized vehicles with a wider stance than us so that made the drive interesting. It was like being at Disneyland on Autotopia except you would sometimes just pop out of the tracks for some random reason. It was probably six mile from there to the “trailhead” where the road turns to dirt. On thing to note is once the snow hits, you should only drive on the trail if there is enough snow to cover the dirt. There is a big fight between off-roaders, environmentalist and also water quality boards, and this is one of the tools they are using to close down access.
The weather was warmer than I expected and the snow was melting pretty quick. We made it to the Wentworth Springs Campground (Google Maps) without any issue. Just a few creek crossings and packed and rutted snow. Wentworth Springs Campground lies at 6,000 feet and is situated alongside Gerle Creek.
Once you leave Wentworth Springs Campground, the rock crawling portion of the trail begins. But depending on the amount of snow, and if the snow is packed down well enough, the trail can be completely different than in the summer. Since the weather was fairly warm, we had several instances where the snow/ice under us collapsed. The RZRs are light enough so this didn’t happen very often.
We made it past some spots on the trail that are tough in the summer, but were pretty much a cakewalk for us.
Once we broke out to a large slab area that was facing south-west, the warm temperatures to its’ toll. The snow was mushy enough to the point that we were getting high centered and this is where a UTV without tracks typically comes to a stop. From the point where we stopped, there was a adopt a trail plaque from the El Dorado Jeepherders club, and we could see the Loon Lake damn in the distance. A bit father up the trail, and I think we could have made it all the way in past Ellis Creek and to Little Sluice.
One other thing to note about winter travel on the Rubicon Trail. This is unforgiving territory. Do not travel alone, and make sure you have proper equipment to spend the night in case of breakdown. It may be very difficult, if not impossible to tow a broken rig out.