By Ken Hower

Rubicon Trail Foundation Zoom Meeting on Rubicon

On February 6, 2023, the Rubicon Trail Foundation had an open Zoom meeting to educate users on the status of the Rubicon Trail. The key part of the presentation was the recording of Ed Knapp, El Dorado County Counsel explaining in 2013 why the Rubicon Trail Proper can not be closed by the County. This hour long recording gives anyone the opportunity to watch that wasn’t able to attend in person.

By Ken Hower

New GRMS Repeater in 2022!

GMRS radio communication has been gaining ground for years for vehicle to vehicle communications when wheeling. As the benefits of GMRS vs CB Radio has become clearer, organizations like Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) have been switching to GMRS. If you weren’t familiar with FMCA, they are currently the largest 4-Wheel drive club in the United States.

In 2007, Dennis Mayer from Auburn Jeep Club was on-site during a roll-over where someone was seriously injured. Given the location on the trail, getting to cell service was hours away, Dennis felt helpless without access to Ham radio to call for help. In 2009, RTF’s first fully funded project was building a Ham Radio repeater structure at Spider Lake which linked to the powerful “805” repeater.  In addition, RTF began teaching Ham Radio classes which at this point near 800 users have been licensed. This improvement to radio communications on the trail would save many lives and misery, making fast medical helicopter pick up possible.

Ham Repeater structure

However, most of the times users simply need to call a friend that is on trail within the Rubicon Trail. So in 2022, the RTF Board voted to add a GMRS repeater to the Ham Radio which would enhance the ability for more users to have quality in-trail radio communications.  The Auburn Jeep Club donated $2,500 to make this happen and this summer the new GMRS repeater will be installed.

Please visit our Trail Communications page to learn more about the configuration, ie: Channels and frequency depending on your radio.

By Ken Hower

Laura Blake Elected Secretary

At the January officer election meeting, Laura Blake was elected Secretary of the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

Laura is a relative newcomer to the board, with her election in 2018.  Laura got into the weeds early and was instrumental in the creation of Rubicon U, an off-road education program.

Laura is recently retired from CDF, and is an avid Rubicon user with her family.  Laura is very active on the board and passionate about the future well-being of the Rubicon Trail.

Laura will be the Secretary of the Foundation until 2023.

By Ken Hower

Chris Cowan Elected President

At the January officer election meeting, Chris Cowan was elected President of the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

Chris has been a long-time member of the board of directors.  Originally elected in 2010, she was asked to join the board specifically to replace the vacant Secretary position.  Immediately thrown into business, Chris very quickly had to vote on the purchase of 317 acres from Mark Smith. Chris stated, “I cried. I thought how in the world are we going to pay for this?” But the incredible donors came through at event after event, leading to the final payment made in 2016.

Chris is very visible several times a year, as she has been the chairperson and co-chairperson of Black Tie & Boots for many years.  In addition, she has run Kids Club at Jeep Jamboree and Wine Tasting at Jeepers Jamboree.

Chris will be the President of the Foundation until 2023.

By Ken Hower

Rubicon Toilets Upgrade

Last Fall, Edio Delfino and All Coast Builders ( ) and James Hardie Building Products (, offered to El Dorado County via Rubicon Trail Foundation to donate materials and services to rehab all the Rubicon toilets with new more durable siding.

Last week, with coordination from RTF and All Coast Builders, seven of the ten Rubicon Rest Stops (trail bathrooms) were stripped and rehabilitated with new concrete siding and trim provided by James Hardie Building Products. This was a coordinated effort to move material, strip, and re-side the public bathrooms with a superior product that will last for decades and be non-combustible, resistant to sun, wind, animals, and insects.

The result is a transformation!

Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to thank El Dorado County Parks, All Coast Builders, and James Hardie Building Products for their collaboration to make this project possible. Look for the rest of the toilets to be updated and all to be painted to their former colors before season end.

Each toilet was rehabbed removing rotten wood, and woodpecker holed wood.

They were properly wrapped for the elements.

Arnold’s rock toilet was in the worst condition, given it is one of the oldest toilets on the trail. It now has decades of new life.

By Ken Hower

Placer County Crawlers and Slo Town Crawers Deliver Final Rubicon Rock Marker

Memorial Weekend 2020, marked the final chapter in a 10 year project by the Rubicon Trail Foundation to place markers at key locations on the trail.

Over the years, markers have been placed at the Kiosk, Intertie, Little Sluice, Old Sluice, etc.   Most of them were delivered by the Placer County Crawlers.  In May 2013, the majority of the rocks were placed, with the most difficult being Big Sluice rock.

This year, the Slo Town Crawlers and Placer County Crawlers teamed up to deliver the final marker to the Rubicon Springs.  However, this time the rock almost didn’t make it!  Due to a rollover on the Indian Trail descent, the rock spent a portion of the weekend waiting for reinforcements.

But the crew came back later in the weekend, and connected the trail to a new rig, and headed off to Rubicon Springs.

Later in the day, they MADE IT!  The final rock had arrived!

The crew set out to place the rock and was able to take a celebration photo with the rock in place.  Congratulations to so many who worked very hard to place these rocks on the trail.

Never forget…there’s always a ham!  Thanks again to the Placer County Crawlers and Slo Town Crawlers.

By Ken Hower

Cadillac Hill Rock Flight Success

In 2018, Vickie Sanders at El Dorado County began laying the seeds with Placer County to assume control over the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail from Loon Lake through to Lake Tahoe. The Rubicon Trail has never been a high priority for Placer County, so El Dorado County began the process to get an MOU (Memorandum of Understand or Formal written agreement) in order to take control.  In 2019, with the MOU secure, Vickie began planning a very important project on Cadillac Hill.  At the very popular Steve Morris history of the Rubicon speech at Jeepers Jamboree, Steve stated that in his opinion, the road base at Cadillac Hill was 10 feet lower in some areas from his first visit.  This erosion over the years lowering sections of the hillside needed to be addressed. However, the amount of natural rock around Cadillac Hill had been used in previous projects.  It was clear that a helicopter would be required to fly rock available at the Gerle Addit, an ENF facility (Loon Lake, spillway, and tunnel rock from the ’50s) to Cadillac Hill.  Vickie secured a grant from the OHV Fund to hire the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane from Siller, but the grant required matching funds.  In early 2020, the Rubicon Trail Foundation voted to provide the $32,000 of matching funds required to execute the grant.  The project was on!

In April, when the weather on the trail became more clear, Siller was able to confirm availability for the weekend of May 15-17.  However, any project like this requires manpower and Jeepers Jamboree, with years of experience doing work on Cadillac Hill, stepped up to provide the crew required to complete the work.  Rubicon Trail Foundation provided support by feeding the volunteers, in addition to the previously approved matching funds.

On May 15, the rock began being flown to Cadillac.  There were 3 RTF directors, 3 JJ directors, and 5 JJ volunteers for a total of 10 people on site for rock delivery. Rock was laid down on cyclone fence and the fence was pulled over and secured with hog rings.  More rock was placed over that blanket of rock, for final securing.

Final work below V Rock

In total, 264,000 lbs of rock was flown to Cadillac Hill and a couple other locations. Overall the project was a major success and a great example of El Dorado County, State OHV Fund, Rubicon Trail Foundation donors, and trail volunteers to ensure an important project on the trail is completed.

By Ken Hower

Black Tie & Boots Postponed

Black Tie & Boots is Postponed at this time

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort just notified us that they have to cancel all events.

We are making plans to reschedule this event and will let you know as soon as possible when dates are available.

If you had hotel/RV reservations the casino will be calling you.

We sincerely apologize.

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort 800-822-9466

If you have any questions or concerns please call us at 1-888-678-2426 or email- [email protected]

By Ken Hower

Visiting RTF Property in Winter

As the colors turn on the leaves, that first big snow storm is potentially just around the corner. Travel on the Rubicon during this time of year can become a life or death struggle faster than most people are aware.

Visiting the RTF Property after the Little Rubicon Crossing and heading down to FOTR camp requires going down Trash Can Hill.  TCH is fairly steep, and in the best of conditions, can be a struggle.  While the RTF Property is open to the public 365/24/7, in winter conditions be extra vigilant.

  • Check the weather conditions on Thursday before your planned departure.  Check our Condition Page for current and potential weather.
  • Read our vehicle preparation page. This time of year you have to be highly self-sufficient due to reduced traffic.
  • Always have enough food and water to make it several days beyond your expected departure.
  • Pack warm clothing beyond what you think you’ll need.  Expect the unexpected.
  • Know where the Trash Can Hill winch plate is before going down.

If you follow these basic tips, you can keep your trip from turning into a life or death struggle.

By Ken Hower

This History Of Spill Kits

Rubicon Spill Kits

By Vickie Sanders

There has been a lot of discussion about spills recently. The County wants to remind everyone spills were part of the cleanup and abatement order from 2009. The county developed an educational program commonly called the 4’s, sanitation, spills, sedimentation and safety.

In 2011 spills were the focus of the year and with state grants the county has provided spill kits ever since at the kiosk free of charge. This is your green sticker money at work for you. You have already paid for them.

In the past RTF staff under contract with the county have been at the kiosk to hand these out. This year the county hired staff to be at the kiosk. Staff is there Friday thru Monday from 12-6. If you miss staff or need a kit you can always contact Vickie Sanders and come by the office. The County office is located in Placerville by the fairgrounds.

There is a group addressing the recent spills in the bowl. Thank you once again to a community that takes care of the resources and each other. Without your help the county could not do the work needed for the Rubicon.

In addition, RTF has 2 mid-trail staff on trail, Glenn near Buck Island and Mike near Spider. Both of these awesome gentlemen gladly will hand out spill kits provided by the County.