Perhaps the best known and most popular 4x4 trail in the world. A rare combination of difficulty, beauty, length and pure... more » rock-crawling pleasure. Great camping next to crystal-clear lakes with stunning views. Most people drive the trail in the direction described here, but it can be driven in both directions. The trail reaches elevations above 7,000 feet and is partially snow covered in the winter. However, only the Granite Bowl is officially closed to vehicular travel at that time. From a practical standpoint, however, the trail is for summer use. To avoid driving trail during the busy Jeep Jamboree, usually held in August, go to jeepjamboreeusa.com/trips.cfm for dates. The Rubicon Trail is in the Eldorado National Forest, Pacific and Georgetown Rangers Districts. Call 530-333-4312 for information.
Difficult. A mix of granite slabs, soft dirt, sharp rocks and large boulders that require precise maneuvering to avoid body damage. Several extreme sections can be bypassed but many very rough sections cannot. Cadillac Hill is very steep, tippy and potentially dangerous. During wet periods, one water crossing can be very deep and muddy. Extremely dusty with tight brush in places. With an expert spotter, you might get a stock, high clearance, short-wheel based 4WD vehicle through without body damage, but the average driver should not try it. Best done in a modified vehicle with ample body protection and lockers. Travel with a group.
This trail is one of 100 trails from the book, Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, by Charles Wells & Matt Peterson, and is available at www.funtreks.com.