When a talented actor graces the screen, the audience sits in silent reverence throughout the film. When a band plays its most popular song, fans sing along – sometimes not quite so harmoniously – to every memorized lyric. And when a Jeep masters the trails that once claimed the Hummer as its victim, auto enthusiasts watch with bated breath rounding every corner and cresting every hill.
Last year, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Motor Trend took the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Edition out to Lake Tahoe and onto the notoriously dangerous Rubicon Trail in California.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Rubicon Trail, it is a 22-mile-long route between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, California. It is a combination of roads and 4X4 trails, daring the more spirited drivers to challenge the off-road obstacles. Though much has been done to mitigate the danger, it should still be approached with much caution. There remain three primary sections of the trail that Wrangler enthusiasts love.
The Soup Bowl: This section consists of a number of ledges that hinder what would be an otherwise quick and easy climb. Some modifications, like lift kits and larger tires, definitely help conquer this obstacle.
The Little Sluice: It is also known as “The Box” and located near Spider Lake. This is the most difficult section of the trail. Vehicles that cannot ascend this part has two bypasses, which we will skip because, well, we’re Jeep drivers. Large rocks and tight quarters along the trail – though El Dorado County did reduce the size of the rocks to create a “spectator” atmosphere.
Thousand Dollar Hill: This final section is a rock ledge followed by a steep downgrade that faces Lake Tahoe. It was closed in 2012, but a close bypass of moderate difficulty is now an open route.
The trail splits following the Thousand Dollar Hill bypass, offering two routes. One route continues on a lower trail along granite slabs while the other traverses the Old Sluice. Both routes lead to Buck Island Lake and, eventually, to the Rubicon River Bridge.
Now that you know about the Rubicon Trail, why don’t we take a look at a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Edition governing its namesake: