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Mad Creek

Empire, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 03/22/2020
5 / 5 ( 3 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.3 miles
Highest Elevation: 10016 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Empire
Nearest Town w/ Services: Empire
Official Road Name: 261.1
Management Agency: Arapahoe National Forest
District: Clear Creek Ranger District
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Highlight: Mad Creek
Mad Creek is a great off-road trail for the novice 4wheeler, or for those looking for a short drive to a fantastic mountain picnic spot. This trail provides amazing views of 13,164ft Mt. Flora. It is a fairly smooth and wide trail with only a few bumpy sections, making it ideal for a stock SUV in the summer, and for big tire rigs seeking deep snow in the winter. From the end of this trail, there are a handful of great hiking trails. The end also provides plenty of room for parking your vehicle while you go off and explore by foot.



7 day forecast for Mad Creek

Route Information

Technical Rating:

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1. Start the trail at an unmarked Y intersection
The trail may be slightly difficult to find as it is currently unmarked, so just be sure that once Main Street has turned to dirt, you look for a Y split in the road and you will need to take the left. If you happen to come to a large dirt parking area, you have missed the turn by a quarter mile.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.770210, -105.685210

Starting Point: Empire

Take I-70 to Highway 40. Go north into the town of Empire. Just past the Hard Rock Cafe, turn right on Main Street. Follow this road up through the neighborhood. Shortly after the road turns into a dirt road, bear left at the fork where the trail starts.



Trail Reviews (6)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Beautiful views from this trail! I only filmed about halfway up and then up a spur road.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Made it to waypoint 2 before stopping due to some snow. There were other vehicles that made it through, just didn't want to risk it by myself.

Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Can get roughly a mile or so in to the split between the burn area to the north, and the main trail that continues WNW further into the woods. Both directions quickly turn into inconsistent sugar snow that can go from a few inches to a few feet deep without any indication from the surface. Guessing another week or so of mostly sunny weather should open it up to good ATVs and built rigs.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Made it just shy of a mile along the trail, and it was an extremely hard, fought for mile. About 10" of fresh snow, deeper in some drifts, on top of a hard, frozen layer, made traction extremely difficult. But totally fun!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Hit the trail on March 18th, just before a winter snow rolled in. The beginning of the trail barely had any snow, and what snow there was was a pretty thin layer. About a mile in we started hitting large snow drifts and some pretty consistent snow fields. From this point there was a lot of winching and a lot of kinetic rope pulls. 2 miles in, nothing but snow. We made it about 50 yards shy of the end of the trail where the snow swallowed 37s and made them disappear. After bashing the drifts here for awhile, we called it quits and turned around as the snow started to fall. Fun day, great views, great snow bashing trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
We ran the trail at the end of April, all vehicles very well equipped on tires from 35s to 42s, lockers and winches. Because the snow was extremely deep, a heavily modified rig was a must. We were able to push through till the very end, but there was a ton of snow bashing and the recovery strap was used multiple times. Overall, a great day to be out on the trail in the deep snow. I hear they are still getting snow, so could be awhile before this trail is passable by stock vehicles.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.