Rubicon Trail information
The rules have changed again!
You can no longer leave the trail with your vehicle and drive to a camp site of your choice. By court order you have to park your vehicle within 50 ft. from the center line of the trail. Bad part is - you are responsible to know where the trail is. "Sorry, Ranger, I did not know." does not keep you from getting a ticket. If you are not a regular visitor on the trail, you will have a very hard time to determine where the trail runs. Markings have become better, but they are still not always clear. The map available from the ranger stations is a joke.
Here is your safe way out: Download a free GPS track for your handheld GPS - that way you'll know where the outer limits are.
So, from now on if your vehicle is found more than 25 ft. left or right from the center of the trail you will get a stiff citation ($275 minimum). Rangers are out every day and in full force.
Here is an easy overview of what you can and can not do: Using Motorized Vehicles
What's really bad is that only some, but not all, "illegal routes" have signs indicating that you are off the trail. It is your responsibility to know where the trail is.
Now here is the good news: You are still allowed to camp anywhere you want. Just drag all your camping stuff there and leave you car unattended right next to the trail. Can't lock your doors? Too bad! Still have stuff in your car others might find useful? Too bad!
Most useful map at this point is "A Guide to the Desolation Wilderness" published by the US Forest Service (ISBN 1-59351-406-9). However, the Granite Slab, the bypass most use for the old Big Sluice, is not on this map - as are the Little Sluice bypasses missing.
The most accurate Rubicon Trail GPS tracks and waypoints
Here are the new Wheeled Motor Vehicle Restrictions
Future of the Rubicon Trail
Rubicon discussion on Pirate.com