Originally a Native American trail connecting the Sacramento Valley and Lake Tahoe, the Rubicon Trail was re-discovered by European immigrants in the 1840s. By the 1890s, the trail had become an actual road (by the standards of the day) and was used to reach the Rubicon Mineral Springs Resort and Hotel. The first car into Rubicon Springs arrived in 1908, driven by a woman from Lake Tahoe. This historic drive received quite a bit of publicity from the San Francisco newspapers.
Throughout the 1920s, the Rubicon Springs road was being promoted as the best route from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe. To encourage travel along the route, a promotional automobile trip was organized, compete with photographs in the local papers. The write-up included mention of a survey party that would make plans for improving the road.
However, when the Rubicon Springs Hotel closed in the late 1920s, the road fell into disuse. The route has been used by 4-wheel drive vehicles since the early 1950s and has become one of the most famed, 4-wheel drive trails in the world.
Learning from the Past...To Protect the Future