Bard Creek

Empire, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 09/19/2021
4.4 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 4.48 miles
Highest Elevation: 10140 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Empire
Nearest Town w/ Services: Empire
Official Road Name: 777.1
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: Clear Creek Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Bard Creek
This fun, rather easy trail, is right out of the town of Empire and provides some beautiful scenery and a nice trip through the valley. This easy trail has easy access from Denver through Empire. The trail offers some scenic views at the beginning and is a nice forest drive. For a good balance of scenery and challenge, combine this with Democrat Mountain for a full day of off-roading.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

( MODERATE )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Dirt Area Outside of Minton Park (0 mi)
This area is a dirt area just outside a baseball park and parking lot for that baseball park. Please note the signs and stay out of the park itself, but the area that you can use is obvious. This is the best place to air down before heading into the trail. This is also a good rally point for those coming from multiple places since it’s still ‘in town’.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Empire, CO

Take South Main Street and head towards the park and baseball field. Your track and waypoints begin here.

Camping

Not allowed

Trail Reviews (19)

Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went out for a check on this trail since it's been sometime since it was written up. First thing of note is the well established campsites that now exist along the way. Looks like folks have worn in some spots now. Definitely rockier, but no real change in difficulty. The leaves have started to change for this season.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun little trail right off I-70. It's not much for views after the first half mile or so. Mainly just following the creek through aspen patches. A couple steep and flexy spots but nothing too difficult. Anything with high clearance can probably make it, but 4-Lo will help. There are long stretches of single track so it can be very difficult to pass. We ran it early on a Saturday morning and saw 3 other vehicles. The writeup says no camping spots, but we saw multiple well established spots with fire rings. Saw one spot that was currently being camped in. Not sure if they were trespassing, but they looked like frequently used spots.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran the whole trail as mapped. Solid trail with some fun obstacles but nothing crazy. Some great scenery too. No snow observed and it was pretty dry. Summer conditions. 2006 Xterra lifted about 2.5 inches and on 33s, had no issues or contact anywhere. I'm a manual and used 4 low quite a bit. There's a mound (optional) at the very end that I made it up with rear locked. It's quite steep and loose. Wouldn't attempt the feature without making sure you can arrest your rollback safely. Also recommend airing down for this trail unless your suspension is pretty soft, it gets bumpy in many parts.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Stock 2021 Tacoma off road, made it through without issue. Didn't have to air down nor did I need 4 low. I hit my skid plate once on the way down, my fault though, could easily make it through without hitting. Picked up some free pinstripes.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is open for the season but snowdrifts may still exist at higher altitudes, use caution and enjoy your summer!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open to the top. Some very small snow areas left around the 2.5 mile mark but they barely cover half the trail.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Went with two vehicles, one 33's and locked, one with chains 32's and open. The early road was in good condition, 6" of snow on good rock and dirt. Once the trail passed out of private and back on to forest land it got deeper, about a foot on some dirt and ice. The initial steep section past the fence took a few tries but was possible. We stopped about 1/2 mile in at a good turn around to play in the snow for the day. Like all winter wheeling, come prepared, or you may stay longer than you want.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
This trail is located at a higher alitude of Colorado and at this time of year should be considered impassable for any regular off-road user. Some people may be able to manage these trails with the correct gear, emergency equipment, and rig. Travel with caution.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Stage 3 fire restrictions have been lifted as of 6am, 11/10/20. The forest is no longer fully closed. Areas within fire perimeters remain closed. See closure maps here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD844558 Expect winter conditions on trails. Some trails may be impassable due to snow.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at midnight tonight (closure begins at 00:01 Oct. 21). This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I agree with James, definitely should be rated a 3-4. I was using my stock Buick encore SUV which does fine on other 1-1, 1-2 rated trails. We did Jones pass the same day, but on the Bard Creek trail, we had to turn around about 2 miles in due to heavy washout/large dips in the road. The trail was very scenic with lush vegetation nonetheless.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail was a blast, but definitely should be rated a 3-4 from the other trails I’ve did around Colorado’s similar challenges and rating. Other than that it was a blast. I did it in a stock height Crosstrek on ATs pretty easily with a spotter. It’s got some good washouts and rock practice. A good one to practice for new drivers.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made it just shy of a mile, not too far past the split with Democrat. The trail was busy with snowshoeing enthusiasts. The snow wasn't too deep, but was definitely icy in spots for the mile we traveled. After that, the trail begins climbing up hill and the snow got extremely deep and impassable, even on 42s.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open and clear 7/9/19. It is a good first trail if you have a trail-ready rig. I drove a stock (except for a front air dam delete and a spare tire relocation) '19 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 up the trail today and had no issues. It's rocky, and there are plenty of washouts, but nothing a stock high-clearance vehicle can't handle easily. For a new driver, there were a couple of butt-pucker moments, but nothing that felt dangerous. Just a couple of large rocks or some deep washouts. There's a nice gate-keeper type hill right at the beginning that is an indicator of what the rest of the trail has in store.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail has gotten a bit washed out in a couple places in the last year or so. The trail has a few fun challenges for a stock SUV. Overall this is a fun, quick, and easy trail with some good views. It was very dusty when we drove it. The old mine tailing piles and ruins are fun to see up-close. We tried to take a couple of the side routes, only to find them either closed and on private property or too narrow/overgrown to pass in a full-size vehicle. So just keep on the main trial would be my suggestion. This trail could pair easily with Argentine Pass out of Georgetown if you want a longer day with a bit more wheeling.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The trail was in great shape. It was definitely more bumpy than I had anticipated. But my TRD Pro Tacoma handled it like a champ. A stock vehicle would have a hard time in a couple sections. The weather was beautiful and the aspen trees were gorgeous. Lots of private property so be sure to stay on designated trails. We had a great time and I would for sure do this trail again. Good for beginners or anyone just looking for a quick fun trail.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went all the way to the end and it was a great trip. Stopped about 2/3rds up for a little lunch break. The views are great and ever changing. It is an "in and out" but it does look different each direction!
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Bard creek was open to about Waypoint 8. There's a large snow drift there that looks like it needs a week or two to melt off. Right now, its sinking kind of snow and there are tracks where it appears people have tried. The trail overall felt rougher than last year. We will wait until the summer to perform another assessment of the trail difficulty. If anything, it's not recommended you take anything but a High Clearance Vehicle through here even after the snow melts.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Nice day and a dry run. No big areas of note outside the trail write up.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
For individual use only, not to be shared.