|Typically Open:||Year Round|
(SEVERE - EXTREME)
|Highest Elevation:||6637 feet|
|Duration:||About 2 hours|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town:||Pollock Pines|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Pollock Pines|
|Official Road Name:||Old Sluice / Rubicon Trail|
|Management Agency:||Eldorado National Forest|
|District:||Pacific Ranger District|
Old Sluice is a short, but near-extreme and almost forgotten section of the Rubicon Trail in the Eldorado National Forest outside of Pollock Pines, California. Where the more common Rubicon route travels across the lower granite slabs known as Indian Trail, this higher and more challenging route will seriously test your rig. Old Sluice is arguably the most difficult section of the Rubicon Trail. This is the reason most bypass it. With one obstacle after another, after another, after another, plus some serious views of Buck Island Lake and Miller Creek on the mountainside above Rubicon Springs, Old Sluice will keep an experienced wheeler entertained four a couple hours or more. If you're running the Rubicon for the first time and pushing just to get through it, Old Sluice is probably not for you... This trail is tough. If you feel you should bypass it, there is no shame in that, but if you're up for the challenge and your rig is built for it, you'll love wheeling Old Sluice.
Rocky or undulated road surface. Rocks less than 10' tall. Vertical ledges less than 8' tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 18' foot. Tire placement not good. Extreme steep and off-camber.Read more about our rating system
Just under a half mile from the north end of Buck Island Lake, the Rubicon Trail splits. Take the western route to start on Old Sluice.
Continue straight, up and through this easy notch.
Continue straight, up the small, loose rocky hill.
Pick your line and continue straight. You have plenty of options here on the Old Sluice Gatekeeper; You can choose from the hard line over the boulders, the hard line over the boulders, the hard line over the boulders or ride the wall (and go over the boulders) for the near-impossible line.
Continue straight. The Memorial Plaque here reads: "In Memory of Charles E McCranie 1942 - 1990" If you know the story of Charles and would like to share it, please leave a trail review below.
Continue Straight, up Mini Thompson; A short hill filled with boulders and loose rocks that have a way of shifting underneath your off-road rig.
Continue straight, up the rocks at QP Trees. Watch you passenger side on the trees here as the terrain pushes your quarter panel (QP) into them.
Continue straight or stop here to take a break and enjoy the view. The views on the granite slabs here are worth the stop. This small turn out has room for about 3 rigs and is one of the very few places to let oncoming rigs pass.
Curve to the left/west or stop here to take a break and enjoy the views. Not quite as amazing as the views at the previous waypoint, but still worth a stop. This turn out has room for about a dozen or more rigs and is another one of the few places to let oncoming rigs pass.
Continue straight, up the rock steps leading to Chappie Rock at the next waypoint.
Continue straight to make your way up Chappie Rock. Chappie rock is named after Eugene A. Chappie who was an avid supporter of Rubicon Trail.
Continue straight to make your way down the last rocky section of Old Sluice. If you've made it this far, this final obstacle should be no problem for you.
Old Sluice ends here at Rubicon Trail mile marker 4.2. Turn left/northwest here to head back to Loon Lake. Turn right/southeast to head back down the Indian Trail, toward Buck Island Lake.
Starting Point: Loon Lake, California
Dispersed camping is allowed on this trail, but you will find better options at Buck Island Lake where there are pit toilets, open spaces, and an amazing lake to swim in. The closest commercial campgrounds and tow rig parking locations are at Loon Lake, near the Rubicon Trail Trailhead. Campfire restrictions are typically in effect starting in July / August. Check with the Eldorado National Forest, Pacific Ranger District for current fire restrictions. 530-644-2349 Monday - Friday / Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm