Red Elephant Hill

4.8/5 (46 reviews)
Downieville-Lawson-Dumont, Colorado (ClearCreek County)
Last Updated: 05/16/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

About 1 hour from Denver, Colorado and situated within the Arapaho National Forest the Red Elephant Hill Off-Road Trail is the toughest trail in the Empire Loop. The Empire Loop is a network of trails just above Empire, Colorado that also includes Bill Moore Lake and Mill Creek. While Red Elephant is better suited for a built rig, an epic day can be had running the entire loop which leads you through forest, rocks, and open meadows amid high alpine lakes.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (46 reviews)
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/25/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I ran this the opposite direction than what is suggested. From top to bottom. Running a 22’ 4Runner with 3 inch lift on 33’’ tires. I would probably not do this trail again with this vehicle. Very tippy at times, large boulders and drops that are unavoidable. I have rock sliders and full skid plates underneath, and they definitely took a beating. I’m new to off-roading this year, so maybe with more experience I would be more comfortable, but I still believe this trail is a little much for my setup. Still, had a great day and enjoyed the experience.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/10/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun trail. Ran it up from I70 on a TJ on 32’s. It was a little wet which made it a bit more challenging.
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 08/20/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Ran this trail with a group. Need the proper rig with the right tires, gearing and clearance. Nice long challenge with MANY rocks and boulders. No views until you get to the top. The trail broke one of our rigs and a second one had some maintenance issues. Come prepared to work on the rigs.
Joey
200
Status: Open
Visited: 08/14/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran it both ways on a Tacoma with 2.5in lift and 32s aired down to 18psi. Needed to use MTS or locker to get over some steep climbs. Didn't hit the front skids much at all, but the sliders got a good workout. Had one spot where i couldn't clear the rear diff without stacking a few rocks on the way up. It rained on us on the way down, which made controlled decent on some obstacles impossible. Glad I had sliders and full armor. The sliders took a beating. Rear diff clearance wasn't a issue on the way down. Wouldn't care to do this trail again without bigger tires.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/30/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Gnarly rock garden, full of washed out ruts, boulders and stumps. If you're not lifted on at least 35s then you'll definitely have some underbelly grindage. I was lifted on 37s and that is probably the ideal setup for half of the trail. But others I was with were on 35s and they struggled. One guy on 33s and no lift turned around halfway up because he was grinding so much, even with spotters. I would say that this not a 6 anymore. More accurate rating would be a 7. I didn't get any pics except the one below, but obviously this is the smooth part.
Trail Review: Red Elephant Hill - Justin Gentile

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