The earliest known history of the land now known as Rubicon Soda Springs dates back to September 1844 when the Stevens-Townsend-Murphy horseback party crossed the Rubicon River. They were likely the first Euro-Americans to see the Rubicon River, and pre-dated the first county road that immigrants began using in 1856.
The first cabin was built in 1869 and established a shopping station called “Hunsaker Springs,” by George and John Hunsaker. Within a few years the first water rights for the Rubicon River water shed were acquired and plans were developed to pipe water to San Francisco at the cost of $500,000 per mile. Several years later the mineral water from the springs began being bottled by the Hunsaker brothers and packed out by mule train to nearby Georgetown and McKinney’s on Lake Tahoe.
Described as a place where “hunting was excellent, game plentiful and the scenery grand,” in 1887 Placer County contributed $500 toward the construction of a wagon road from Tahoe City to McKinney’s. The regular stagecoach would leave Georgetown on Tuesdays and return on Friday for a round trip fare of $10. The same year, George Hunsaker obtained the title for Rubicon Springs from the Central Pacific Railroad Company for $100 and included 40 acres. Hunsaker turned around and sold the 40 acres a year later for $5,500 in gold coin.
Based on the increasing reputation of Rubicon Soda Springs, plans for a Rubicon Springs Hotel with 16 sleeping rooms and the resort area was described as a place where “The atmosphere is bright, clear, pure and invigorating, imparting new life to the overworked brain and under worked body of busy life.” After six seasons of operation by Sierra Nevada Clark, the original 40 acres were sold back to Hunsaker for $3,800 in gold coin. Throughout the next 50+ years the acreage of Rubicon Soda Springs changed hands a number of times as the popularity increased and the access improved from stagecoach to motorcar, and all the properties were acquired by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E,) who started work on the creation of a water system of the high mountain lakes and rivers to support their electric production.
In 1953, the first Jeepers Jamboree crossed the Rubicon, creating a new brand of guests into Rubicon Soda Springs that would continue and grow over the ensuing years to come. After a corporate change of hands in ownership over the next 30 years, the Rubicon Soda Springs Group bought the parcel known as Rubicon Springs from Bohemia Inc., in 1985 with the intention of maintaining and preserving the history, nature and integrity of the area so loved and used by outdoor enthusiasts.