Broken down in the Rubicon

Friday, October 6th, at 3:05 p.m. (PT), a request for help with an offroad recovery in California was sent to our system. The requester, Audi S., submitted the following information: “I’m on the Rubicon trail at Rubicon Springs. My engine took on water and will not start. I’ve pulled the plugs and drained the water from the oil pan. The starter has 12 volts and drops to 0.2 when trying to start the vehicle with the plugs out, but it will not turn over. I can turn the crankshaft manually. 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2.0L. I have a ride off the trail but would be able to tow out. / I’m with the vehicle.

Initially, we were looking for help extracting the vehicle, but later, based on conversations with Audi and some other volunteers, an attempt for a repair was decided.


The following day, on Saturday, Brad Wood, a local volunteer, engaged with the requester directly. Audi found the part needed, the starter, at a local dealership. They met at 1 p.m. and drove up to the vehicle, attempting to replace the damaged part, but later, they found they didn’t have the right tools for the job.

rubicon trail 4x4 offroad recovery in california


The following day, on Sunday, they worked with Brad and Jeremy, another volunteer, to bring the vehicle down. He later sent us a few photos and this note: “I got stuck on the Rubicon Trail at Rubicon Springs. We knew that at the very least, the starter was bad, but there were potentially other issues due to taking on water. I picked up a new starter and rode with Brad and Jeremy down to Rubicon Springs to attempt to fix it. After confirming that the old starter was bad, it was determined that replacing the starter wasn’t an option as the motor mount would need to be removed to reach it, and we did not have the tools and equipment for that type of job. We attempted to pull the dead Jeep off the trail instead. Brad, Jeremy, and I, along with the assistance of another friendly Jeeper out on the trail, put in a ton of effort and were able to get the Jeep from Rubicon Springs to the base of Cadillac Hill. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough daylight, horsepower, or weight to get it any further. I was eventually able to coordinate another recovery attempt a few days later led by Derek Rickford, and we were able to pull the Jeep the rest of the way out. The time and effort from Brad and Jeremy and the wear on their vehicles and equipment saved us a good amount of time on the final recovery and was very much appreciated! 
I’ve attached photos of Brad inspecting the Jeep at Rubicon Springs and of the finale of the pull-up
a granite slab just after Rubicon Springs. It took a Jeep and two Toyotas all daisy-chained to get it up that slab.

california 4x4 rescue, rubicon trail

We want to thank all the other volunteers who helped with this offroad recovery in California. This was an amazing display of voluntarism.

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About this place

California is renowned for its diverse landscapes, from stunning coastlines to towering mountains. But for those seeking adventure off the beaten path, the Golden State has another hidden gem to offer: the legendary Rubicon Trail. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Rubicon Trail is a paradise for off-road enthusiasts, offering a thrilling journey through pristine wilderness, challenging terrain, and breathtaking vistas. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of this iconic trail.

History and Origins

The Rubicon Trail’s history dates back to the 1800s when it served as a vital route for early pioneers and gold miners, connecting Georgetown and Lake Tahoe. Named after the famous Rubicon River in Italy, the trail became known for its rugged terrain and river crossings. Today, it has become synonymous with adventure and off-roading, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world.

Location and Accessibility

Located in Northern California, the Rubicon Trail stretches approximately 22 miles through the El Dorado National Forest. The trailhead is easily accessible from the town of Georgetown, making it a convenient destination for off-road enthusiasts. The nearest major city, Sacramento, is just a short drive away.

Challenging Terrain

The Rubicon Trail is famous for its challenging terrain, which includes rocky paths, steep climbs, and numerous river crossings. It’s not for the faint of heart, but that’s precisely what draws adventure seekers to this remarkable location. The trail’s difficulty is often rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most challenging. The Rubicon is known for its 10-rated sections, putting it on par with some of the most demanding off-road trails in the world.

Scenic Beauty

While conquering the Rubicon Trail’s obstacles is a rewarding experience, it’s the scenic beauty that truly sets this trail apart. Along the way, you’ll encounter pristine alpine meadows, dense forests, and breathtaking vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Spider Lake and Buck Island Lake areas are especially renowned for their stunning natural beauty, making them popular stops for those seeking to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy moment.

Trail Etiquette

Respecting the Rubicon Trail and its natural surroundings is crucial to preserving its beauty and accessibility for future generations. Off-roaders should follow the Tread Lightly principles, which emphasize responsible and ethical behavior while enjoying the outdoors. Staying on designated trails, packing out all trash, and minimizing your impact on the environment are essential practices for all visitors.