Rubicon Trail - last week of June


Posting this in advance so everyone that wants to go can get prepared. If
you haven't been to the 'Con before, expect a challenging trail, great
scenery, good company, and a trip that you will never forget! We have
planned the trip mid-week since the weekends on the 'Con can be crowded, and
even though one could drive the trail in 2-3 days, we've planned for 4 days
so 1) - we won't be too rushed, 2) - we can relax and have fun, and
3) - in case we have an unforeseen breakdown it won't put us behind
schedule or people won't be getting home later than planned. But, if we make
good time, we could come home a day early if thats what the group wants.

Keep in mind I'm still a noobie when it comes to the Rubicon. I've only done it end to end
once (last year) but plan on making this trail a "must do" at least once a year.

Here's the tentative schedule:

Sunday June 26th - In the afternoon (3 or 4pm) meet and head up to Icehouse
Resort or Loon Lake, whichever place you guys would like to stay at.
Stragglers can drive up by themselves if they want and meet us there. We
won't be starting the actual trail until Monday morning. I'll post more
details on Icehouse and Loon later.

Monday June 27th - Start of the trail, driving Loon entrance (unless you
want to do the whole shebang and go in from Wentworth Springs...) and end
this day at Buck Island Lake. Originally I thought we could camp at Spider
Lake, but I think they will still have it closed off to vehicles, so we can
just go to Buck. Be prepared for a lot of wheeling this day. We'll be going
through the infamous GateKeeper, The Slabs, Soup Bowl (optional), Little
Sluice (pretty sure we'll all take the bypass!), and probably bypass Old
Sluice and take the slabs instead down to Buck.

Tuesday June 28th - Rest and Relaxation day at Buck Island Lake. Great
swimming, fishing, hicking to nearby lakes, etc. Or we can use this day to
fix our broken junk from the day before... hopefully not! (knock on wood...)

Wednesday June 29th - Depart Buck Island Lake and drive to Rubicon Springs.
There is a fee for camping at the Springs - $10 I think. The springs are a
pretty cool place to hang out. This day of driving won't be as long as
Monday. We'll go through Big Sluice on the way to Rubicon Springs.

Thursday June 30th - Depart Rubicon Springs, head up Cadillac Hill, and head
to Tahoe. This should only be a half day of trail driving so if all goes
well, expect to be getting home sometime in the afternoon.
Last edited:


If you go on the Strawberry Creek and Deer Valley run, you'll have a good idea if you can do the Rubicon (basically if you have a lot of trouble on Strawberry and Deer you might want to re-think doing the Rubicon) The camping overnight will also help you get ready for the Rubicon so you don't forget to bring something essential for camping!

Minimum Vehicle Requirements (these are minimum requirements - if you don't
have at least these items, your vehicle isn't ready for the 'Con!)

31" tires minimum with appropriate lift (expect to scrape the bottom of your rig a lot with 31's)
1 locker or 2 limited slips
front and rear tow points
skidplates (recommend front diff guard, transfer case skid, gas tank skid at least)
full size spare tire
basic tools, lug wrench, jack, etc
fire extinguisher
first aid kit
no known mechanical issues (fix it before you come!)
trail toilet (yes its mandatory! - I'll post more on this later)

Don't forget all your camping gear and food/water for multiple days in the wilderness!

Spare Parts - we as a group need to ensure that we have adequate spare parts in case of breakage. We can pool our resources and share items so long as we have each vehicle type covered (an XJ might need different spares than a CJ, etc...)

Depending on the size of the group we may need multiple parts.

front axle shafts, complete and ready to use
front unit hub
rear axle shafts
steering (at least one drag link, multiple tie rods)
serpentine belt
6 qts engine oil
4 qts ATF
4 qts gear oil
brake fluid
power steering fluid
I know I'm forgetting something so we can add to this list if you have any suggestions

Other Recommended Equipment - these items will make the trip much more enjoyable for you and others as well.

rock rails (you'll really be sorry if you don't have these)
steering box reinforcement
bug repellant

what else am I forgetting?
Last edited:


New member
I'm sure this will pick up as the trip gets nearer, but for now, if you are looking at the requirements Eric posted, and are on the small side, but still are considering going, you might want to read this (Long post?). The following applies directly to XJ's, but is probably somewhat applicable to other short rigs also.

Last year I went through in my XJ on 31's with about 3" of lift and f/r limited slips (a lot of people who didn't know XJ?s thought I was stock). I had never been in the rocks before, so the quality of my driving was (is?) questionable as well...

Those thinking about going through 'small' need to be prepared to drag a lot. I drug on the front skid, control arm mounts (f/r), cross member, t-case skid, 'frame', gas tank skid, hitch? Get the picture? Pretty much everything on the bottom of my rig was on the rocks at one point or another.

Being small, I also had more issues with some of the 'pinch' obstacles. Rocker guards are absolutely necessary for the small rigs in my opinion. I also used mine to turn a lot, so if your rocker guards don?t stick out very far, you might end up with a rock or tree in your door. The light guards built into my rear bumper scraped a lot as well, and probably prevented my taillights from being broken/torn off. That rear quarter area is going to take some hits (if you haven't cut it off yet...). Also I was really cutting it close on approach/departure on a lot of the ledges. I have reasonably high clearance bumpers, but scraped my tow hooks in the front, and hitch in the rear a fair amount. If you have stock bumpers, expect to catch the edges/corners, and if you are running a hitch that hangs lower than a stock bumper, expect to drag it here and there.

Interestingly enough, I didn't get into my diff covers at all. No scraping, no nothing. Not that I don't think the diff guards are important, but for me (and other short rigs), I would definitely rate rock rails above diff guards in terms of recommended armor. I actually expect to not have a front guard this year either.

The stock front skid will bend after repeated smashing on rocks. Mine bent up about an inch, and locked the sway bar up, and I could not re-connect for the drive home (fun drive around the lake). That I hit it so much makes me think it is probably a good idea for the short set. On my jeep, the skid almost covers the tie rod fully, and probably helped me avoid bending the tie rod. Even so, the tie rods are pretty vulnerable for the short guys. If you have a stock tie rod, make sure you have a spare. If you have a beefy aftermarket unit, it is probably still a good idea to have a spare. They are light and take up almost no space, so there is no good reason not to have one.

The stock cross member is pretty weak, and will bend with just one good hit (ask me how I know). If you are short, this is a very vulnerable part, and will probably drag a lot. I had mine reinforced with 1/4" before I tackled this trip last year, and apparently hit it so hard that it partially buckled the 'frame' at the mounting point. A stocker will give long before that happens, but in doing so can do wonderful things like push your cat right up against your floor boards (what is that burning plastic smell?) and screw up your driveline angles. A full width t-case skid might help out here?

Seems like I am one of the few sporting stock rims around here, but if you have stock rims, they will get chewed on this trip. They simply put too much in the way of the rocks. I took a like new set of ecco's in, and a dirty chewed up set out (minus all the outside balancing weights I might add). If you look around at the Rubicon TJ's that go through basically stock, you will see that their rims have some pretty good gouges as well.

Now, I am not trying to scare anybody away, I just want to prepare everyone for the reality of rocks. If you are a skilled driver, a lot of the obstacles are less of a problem. Even so, if your rig is on 31's, don't expect to come through without some slight damage. This is not the trail for those afraid of some scratches... But it is awesome, and we have a ton of time scheduled to get through, so all you little guys suck it up and come out - I don?t want to be the only one.



Active member
Im heading up Fathers Day weekend, other wise I would join you. The crowds are part of the fun, all the drunkin idiots trying the Box :disagree: . Too bad you guys arent going sooner. My Vacation is the 12th - 19th.


Active member
Travis Ill be runnin 31s still so you wont be alone :D

I think if anyone is gonna try to make this trip you need to post up so we can get a basic idea of the amount of rigs to plan for.

I think atleast one night we should do a potluck type dinner.

I cant wait to go drag my small rig all over the rubicon :eek:


New member
well guys my rear axle is now complete....just need to weld on the perches and shock I'll be sportin some pretty 35's and all locked up with quite a few spare parts!



Thanks for posting that. There's nothing better than to here what to expect on 31's from someone whose done it. I know last year when I went through on my 33's, I still scraped just about everything. Maybe my driving just isn't up to where it should be yet! I couldn't imagine doing it on 31's but after Tom went through Bronco Canyon that first time with 31's and open diff's I know the Rubicon could be done with a locker or two.

Really looking forward to this!


New member
hey guys i will more than likely go. i will definately go if i have my spring over and hopefully a locker. well i will let u guys know when i get the SOA done. i am hoping to get it done before june while i am in school. i went there last year with my friend. we hike through it and it was a blast watchin the jeeps and the trucks go through it. we camped at spider lake with my friends uncle. the scenory is awesome. there is so many mosquitos out there u definetly wanna bring a lot of big spray.


New member
I gotta see what day I'm leaving for Lake Havasu, I really don't want to miss either :)

All I need to get is my aussie locker and I'm ready.
gas anyone??

so what about how much gas you need? what is average for a trail of this size?

I probably wont be taking my XJ unless I can get the axels and tranny in by that time. but no worries I will be co-piloting my buddy jades rig. 89 toyota, we are in near completion of his solid axel swap and gears in the tcase.



Staff member
we'd usually fill up in So. Lake Tahoe and that would last till refill after the trail at the same gas station. that's a 19 gal tank. depends on how much your engine burns. :D


New member
Last year I filled up in Carson, and didn't put any gas in till I got back to Carson on the way home (about 180mi roundtrip). I averaged a whopping 12mpg on that trip... If you can avoid having to get gas at Tahoe, you will save some dollars for sure.

Alot of the guys I was with put five gallons in at the end of the first day, but I have no idea where they filled up prior to the trail (Sacramento area I think).



Well-known member
i usually 'top off' at the ice house resort-- bar, restaurant and one gas pump. the bartendresses are hot as well. This is about 5 minutes from loon lake.



New member
this weather is insane.........there are going to be some really severe flood damage all through that area....Hey eric, are you involved with that rubicon club...i think it's called the blue ribbon or somethin? I was just wondering if you are planning on helping out with the floods and possibly trying to help protect the rubicon area itself.....Because I am up to help as well


New member
ok well i know eric said he is going to post some more requirements and what not about the trip soon, but for those of you trying to find a trail toilet, I found one for 15 bucks on The outback pack! Just thought I'd post in case people are excited and preparing already like me :D


New member
Is it my understanding he does not want peopel squatting in bushes to take a crap? haha, no toilets anywhere on the trail?


Active member
I would like to go, it's just a matter of getting all my stuff done...

- install rock rails
- install rear bumper and tire carrier
- install locker
- replace tires / at least the front 2
- get my lights wired
- adjustable lower control arms