RealTruck Presents: Running the Rubicon

Updated on Feb 28, 2024

Edited by
 RealTruck Expert Team

MotorTrend’s Ian Johnson and Tiffany Stone hit the Rubicon Trail in South Lake Tahoe, California for a three night, four day expedition. Starting at "Loon Lake", their adventure includes rock climbing, crawling, camping, and outdoor discovery in four of RealTruck’s Jeeps outfitted with some of their most capable off-road parts and accessories.

The Rubicon Trail isn’t the toughest off-road trail in existence however, preparedness is one of the most critical checkboxes to ensure a safe and successful trip through the remote wilderness. Mandatory mods, like 35” tires and locking differentials, are the unofficial minimum requirements to ensure safe travels and keeping the shiny side pointing skyward.

A Four-day Tour

The Rubicon trail is a bucket-list item for many four-wheel drive owners and enthusiasts around the world. Driving a different RealTruck Jeep each day of the journey, Ian teaches Tiffany how to wheel the Rubicon Trail for her first time. To show her appreciation, Tiffany teaches Ian how to paddle board down river with hilarious results.


Day-one starts with driving a Jeep Gladiator JT featuring a 4” Superlift Suspension Lift Kit, 40” tires, Bushwacker Fender Flares, Rugged Ridge AmFib High-Mount Snorkel System, N-FAB Trail Sliders, and Rugged Ridge Armis Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover. After airing down their tires and holding a safety meeting, their goal is to get to "Spider Lake" for their first night of camping.

After tackling the “GateKeeper”, Ian and Tiffany switch seats at the “Granite Bowl”, traveling to “The Confluence”, before heading to “Ellis Creek” for some splash time. Once up “Walker Hill”, with a little spotting assistance, the team ended the day at “Little Sluice” before their supermoon campout at "Spider Lake".


Day-two brings forth a vehicle change; from a long-wheelbase JT to a two-door Jeep Wrangler JL. The “Pumpkin” two-door JL features AVS’ Lightshield Pro to protect the hood, Rugged Ridge’s Voyager Soft Top, Spartacus HD Tire Carrier and Light Guards (front and rear) for some added trail protection.

With a goal of making it to their next checkpoint at “Buck Island Lake”, the crew hits the Rubicon once again to explore and conquer “V-Notch”, “Arnold’s Rock”, and “Egg Rock”, before paddle boarding at “Buck Island Lake”.


Day-three allows for another vehicle change to a four-door JK Wrangler Rubicon providing a more rudimentary experience without the nanny-tech. Featuring the Rugged Ridge Arcus Front Bumper, it allows the Rugged Ridge Winch to be mounted lower, inside the bumper, to ensure optimal cooling through the JK’s radiator. A Superlift 4” Longarm lift helps to move the JKU’s pivot point back to improve off-road capabilities and breakover angles. Finally, the Rampage Trailview Fastback Soft Top provides some added styling and protection from the elements.

Aiming to reach “Rubicon Springs” by nightfall, the crew makes a quick visit at “Martini Tree” where Jeepers regularly celebrate their arrival with a shaken adult beverage. After wheeling their way through “Dubey’s Drop”, “Rubicon River Bridge”, and “Micro Sluice”, the team makes their way to camp at their final destination for the day.


For the final day of their journey, the team embarks from “Rubicon Springs” to their final destination in a Wrangler JLU up “Cadillac Hill”. Featuring a Rampage Trailcrawler Stubby Front Bumper with its aluminum construction and light-weight design, the additional clearance and reduction in weight help the JL shine and articulate through the trail. A Rampage Trailview Soft Top, and Rampage Rear Bumper help to round off the build. After crawling the biggest hill at Rubicon, “The Driveway”, the crew finally makes it to their destination at "Cadillac Hill" and the end of the Rubicon Trail.


After a successful off-road skirmish, Ian, Tiffany, and the crew completes their mission without a major hiccup or catastrophic failure. The trail protection parts, and accessories from RealTruck for Jeeps and off-road vehicles proved their trail worthiness when put to the test in real-life, off-road situations!

Tune into MotorTrend+ on Friday, February 23rd, 2024 to view the full episode.

Running the Rubicon Teaser Video:

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