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.
From Icehouse Resort, take Ice House Road North 1.65 miles, and then follow Ice House Road to the left. Stay on Ice House Road for another 13 miles, and then turn right to stay on Ice House Road at Wentworth Springs Road. Take Ice House Road another 7.5 miles to the Loon Lake Dam. The Rubicon Trail Trailhead is on the other side of the lake. Enter the Rubicon Trail ( where the wheeling starts ) and follow Rubicon Trail for just over 5 miles, down the slabs and watch for the fork to the right / north with a sign for Old Sluice. If you reach Buck Island Lake, you have gone too far.
Great trail with some very challenging sections.
Because this trail is deep within the Rubicon, the best way to run it ( IMO ) is to add a day to your Rubicon trip, target Buck for your first night of camping, take Indian Trail down and back track the next day to head up Old Sluice. If you get through Old Sluice without too many issues, you’ll have time left that day to maybe check out the RTF property off Indian Trail ( if it’s open ) or relax and swim at Buck Island Lake.
G. Martin, gm4x4 on Youtube , is a California native, born and raised in northern California and now living and wheeling in southern California. He enjoys exploring new trails and setting up camp in the remote outdoors.
You may come across him in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the mountains of Big Bear, in the central Sierras near Shaver Lake or any other dirty, rocky road in the southwest.
TrailsOffroad offers a focus point in G.Martin's offroad exploration.