Thoughts on the Rubicon Trail

#1
While I do love Moab, there are a dozen other trails I'd like to cross off my list. This trail, I'm wondering if it's talked up like some of the "OMG impossible you'll die and smash all your body panels" trails in Moab.

My limited (as in the past 3 hours today only) research seems to be all over the place. Auto manufacturers like Jeep with the Cherokee and now GM with the Colorado seem to manage publicity stunts by driving across it. Did they use bypasses? Go off trail like a-holes? Who knows. They never tell.

Jeepers assure me, I'd die and it's impossible. Kind of tired of that one. Would much rather here objective reasons to problems I'd encounter. Youtube would indicate that full sizes have driven across it. I haven't found a good detailed trail map yet. Maybe I need to check out funtreks site again.

If anyone has run the Rubicon, are there bypasses? Is most of the insane stuff playgrounds on the side you can choose to tackle?

Really curious if anyone here as any thoughts and opinions about full sizes on the Rubicon. And willing to hear it all out.
 

BlkWgn

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#3
This is a trail that I would love to do, and the general consensus is that it is passable by a full size if you don't mind modified doors. My current plan (not that he knows it yet) is to ride along with @bob91yj some day
 
#4
This is a trail that I would love to do, and the general consensus is that it is passable by a full size if you don't mind modified doors.
Tight and bouldery is something I keep hearing. Discussing with several friends in fullsizes. Maybe a 2018 thing. East side appears to be the easier section, with the west getting harder.

Might need to run it with someone else first. I think I've had my share of "SUPRISE, you're sleeping out here tonight" for 2017.
 

bob91yj

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Founding Member
#5
I've run the Rubicon 3 times, always in a Jeep and with other Jeeps.

Generally I'd say it's a bad idea to try to squeeze a full size through there, but not impossible. It's been a few years since I have run it, so I don't know the current trail conditions. I'd guess that it has gotten easier over the years as some of the obstacles have been beat down, or bypassed.

The one trail that you may have on your radar that I can say you wouldn't make it through unscathed is the Dusy Ershim, the trees are too close together to get a full size between and there are ZERO bypasses. The Dusy is a narrow corridor through a wilderness area.
 
#6
Yea I'm not keen on bypasses that aren't on the trail. Thus always best to research. And if the answer is no, oh well, find something else.

My biggest pet peeve in Moab this year is SXS and their constant disregard for tread lightly and staying on trail. So many impatient people in those things going off trail in front of us and destroying vegetation. I don't think anyone has realized it yet, but I think they're a huge threat to the offroading community and keeping trails open. But that's an aside for another time.

But if something isn't really meant to be, then I'm not going to force my way or do it because I want to be stubborn.
 

taugust

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Founding Member
#8
I have run it once, in my manual transmission XtraCab Tacoma, and it was about 10 years ago, so my memory and conditions will have changed. What I recall was a that it was relentless boulders and rocks. It wasn't playgrounds and trail, the trail is a near constant series of rock gardens of varying difficulty. It was punishing just from the non-stop rock crawling. I was with a bunch of Jeeps, so I think I was the longest wheelbase, and the only manual trans. Your full size isn't that much bigger, but you will find it a challenge to get through unscathed. And it's difficult to go back once you start.

I built rock sliders for this trip, and needed them. There is one place where 2 boulders form a notch. I went over with the front tires and landed on the sliders, rocking with all 4 tires off the ground. Needed a strap there, but that was the only time.

I got body damage from some uncareful spotting. There are tight places with no bypass.

I also had a cut sidewall, so a good spare or two, along with a plug kit are highly recommended.

In the middle of a boulder field, my brake pedal went to the floor. My first thought was how do I get out of here without brakes? It turns out that they failed from near constant use. Having a manual trans, I was climbing up rocks, and braking hard in the downside to control speed, as my crawl ratio isn't that low. Both banjo bolts on the front calipers had loosened from the heat of use. It was a simple matter of tightening the bolts and refilling with fluid, but it could have been a disaster. Make sure your brakes are in top condition.

It was a bucket list item checked off for sure, but I'm not anxious to go back. Spectacular scenery, epic historic trail. If you go, make sure you go with at least 2 other vehicles. You will likely need the help.
 
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#11
Yeah, I've been getting a lot of feedback from various sources that sound the same. Nothing too technical, but more of an endurance course. Tedious, slow going, annoying and tiring are all descriptors that keep coming up.

This will probably be a 2018 thing. I'm working on some rear bumper armor currently.
 

bob91yj

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Founding Member
#12
Anyone that thinks the Rubicon is relentless has never driven the Dusy Ershim trail. That trail is a 33 mile long rock garden, it literally beats you into submission.

If you do attempt the Rubicon, I highly recommend running it during the week when you don't have all of the weekend warriors on it. Best time I had on the Rubicon was a 5 day trip, took a day off at Spider Lake (now closed) and a day off at Rubicon Springs.
 
#13
Anyone that thinks the Rubicon is relentless has never driven the Dusy Ershim trail. That trail is a 33 mile long rock garden, it literally beats you into submission.

If you do attempt the Rubicon, I highly recommend running it during the week when you don't have all of the weekend warriors on it. Best time I had on the Rubicon was a 5 day trip, took a day off at Spider Lake (now closed) and a day off at Rubicon Springs.
Sounds like good advice. That's why I'm thinking maybe a year out when I've got most of my truck camping stuff sorted out. I've heard it's best enjoyed if broken out into a few days.

It can really be tough to gauge feedback about trails. Everyone's comfort and experience level comes into play. Just like asking for opinions about exhaust. Loud and obnoxious to one, might be too quite to another.

We recently made the mistake of leading 11 people out on the Moab Trifecta, 4 of us had a good amount of experience. But the group size made it so slow going, that we ended up camping on the trail. 3 of the more experienced guys carried on. I really wanted to, but needed to stay with the main group as host.

So, Mike, Aaron and Nick head off, takes them another 7hrs and they get off trail at 2am in the morning. Mike & Nick think the trail was a blast. Aaron thinks it was insane and nuts. No desire to ever do it again.

Last Wednesday, Me and other Mike (yes there were 3 Mikes at our event) head back out to do the last section they finished in the dark and make our way out to the Golden Crack. Managed the whole thing in 4hrs 31 minutes according to Gaia GPS.

So suddenly Aaron was blown away and now wants to do the trail again. The point being of that whole story, is that people's experience, how tired they were, even time of day plays into how they report on a trail. And how difficult they think it is.

I feel this is why it's better to get descriptors of obstacles and challenges on a trail. And an understanding of what to expect, so I can compare those challenges to my own skill level and experience.

I am not sure if I just rambled away or made sense. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

bob91yj

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Founding Member
#15
^^^^A few years back there were some Subie guys that were making noise about running the Rubicon. As I recall they were older, at least one of them was a BRAT on 29" Interco TSL's. They were planning on taking a few sheets of plywood with them to make ramps as needed. Thinking about it, when the Mercedes ML series first came out, MB ran the 'con with a couple of them, the story went they had plywood and various other aids to get them over the trail, just to say they did it.
 

bob91yj

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Founding Member
#17
The first time I ran the Dusy-Ershim trail we did it from M-F, taking Tues and Thur as off days. We had some difficulties/carnage the first day on Thompson Hill, making the off day on Tuesday convenient. I was so beat up from the pounding we took that I was physically and mentally exhausted by the time we got off the trail Friday afternoon.



I don't remember the exact location, but my 91 YJ when it was a baby, 33's, stock D30 front with 4.56's and a LocRite lunch box locker, and a rear D35 with a full Detroit and 4.56's. The interwed experts assured me that it couldn't be done!



I do remember this exact location, Kaiser Pass...if you're going to spit a c-clip off of a front axle shaft u-joint, you might as well do it at 10,000 feet, with a view! (I had a spare axle shaft, maybe a 30 minute fix). Lesson learned, full cir-clips, a CFO approved upgrade as she was there to witness the issue!

After my first trip through that trail, I would have sworn to you it was a minimum of two days, no way you would make it through any faster.

A few years later a buddy of mine and I decided that we were going to try the Dusy in a day. This time Machelle and I would be in the '05 LJ Rubicon Jeep, on 35's, and my buddy was in his Hammer's capable YJ. Once again the interweb experts assured us that it couldn't be done in our vehicles, and it would be a wasted trip because we wouldn't enjoy the trail (somewhat valid point, the scenery is incredible).

We hit the trail at 5AM, I had to back up and get a run at a couple of the rocks in the trail, but I'm pretty sure I hit all of them while running in the dark!:rolleyes: Machelle and I had our boxer dog Mac with us, so we stopped a time or two to let him out for a minute, we stopped at Thompson Lake for an hour or so for lunch, and we stopped at the top of Kaiser Pass for 30 minutes so my buddy Bill could call his wife. We had an absolutely flawless run. I blew my right front off the bead just before Kaiser Pass, pulled forward about a foot, right front went to full droop, held by the limit strap. I have an engine driven York on board air compressor on my Jeep, fired it up, pulled the valve core on the tire, popped that biotch back on the bead like a professional, and on our way again.

We hit the pavement at Lake Edison in less than 9 hours!

Oh, the memories, good times for sure!:cool:
 
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#20
Bob, what's your opinion on best time of the year to run the trail? Next year I'll be on 37's and have completed some of my other armor modifications. I'm planning on running this next year to cross it off my list. Starting my planning in advance. :)
 
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