Bill Moore Lake

4.6/5 (94 reviews)
Empire, Colorado (Clear Creek County)
Last Updated: 12/16/2022

Trail Information


About an hour from Denver and situated within the Arapahoe National Forest, Bill Moore Lake 4X4 Road is one of the Empire Loop trails just above Empire, Colorado.  This trail offers amazing alpine scenery and fun hill climbs for novice and seasoned wheelers.  At the end of the rough terrain, you are rewarded with a magnificent alpine lake on the edge of the James Peak Wilderness.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The Bill Moore Lake Trail is an out-and-back trail considered to be part of the Empire 4X4 Loop.  Ninety-five percent of the trail has passing areas except for a quarter-mile stretch between Waypoints 16 and 17.  The trail begins by following County Road 251 for the first couple miles through a more wooded area filled with whoop-de-dos and washouts.  Once you pass the Conqueror Mine, it follows a shelf road before one last narrow switchback.  The road first joins with Forest Service Road 171.1 for 300 yards and then joins 183.1, where the forest thickens before it climbs to the fringes of the timberline, giving way to a general alpine and open space.  Once in the alpine zone, there are plenty of moderately steep climbs with loose rocks.  4 low and high clearance are recommended for this trail, along with undercarriage protection.

Trail Reviews

4.6/5 (95 reviews)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/27/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Made it to waypoint 4 then turned around before the switchback because of large drifts. Fun but very hard to make it to even waypoint 4 with the snow. Double lockers would probably make it farther.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Amazing trail but much closer to a 5 at this point. Super gnarly and off camber now. Didn't run it all the way to the lake because the snow was starting to pile up. You'd probably be fine with lockers but my TJ and friends XJ was struggling.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/12/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

It's been ten years since we last ran this trail-until today. The conditions sure have changed since then, with some spots a bit rougher than I remember. Still a great trail with beauty all around. And no one else was up there!!!!!! Awesome.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/21/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Tried this last year as a novice in a stock Xterra, turned around between 5-6 as I was alone and concerned about clearance. Returned this year with a lift, 33’s and more experienced, no issues. It is a rock pile of trail, you should have solid off road tires. Also I didn’t see anyone all day, it could be long hike if you need help. Nice views and the lake is beautiful. I would say the current 4-5 rating is accurate, if you have smallish tires like me be prepared for a long bumpy ride.
Visited: 09/17/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

The trail rating for this felt like a solid 5 overall. As noted by other reviews the Whoopdie Doo #2 is getting pretty beat up. From checkpoint 17 onto the lake, it is narrow with steep sections. Traffic was light for us and we found one of the only spots to pull to the side to let 6 side-by-side go by heading uphill. Which were the most vehicles we had passed all day. This was my first time running this trail and I found it was just what we needed for a day out on a trail.

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