Red Elephant Hill Empire Trail

HARD 1 reviews
#43 of 112 trails in

Red Elephant Hill Empire Trail is a 12 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Idaho Springs, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

12.0 miles 3382 feet Loop

dog friendly



nature trips

off road driving

scenic driving




wild flowers


Fun, steep trail to interesting Empire Hilton Cabin This is a fun 4-wheel-drive trip with plenty of challenge and great scenery. A unique feature of the route is the Empire Hilton Cabin. It's open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. Make sure to leave it the way you find it, or better. Start of trail is a county road that crosses private property. We've never had a problem getting through, but have heard stories that this is not always the case. The 2010 MVUM shows no seasonal closures. For current conditions call Arapaho National Forest, Clear Creek Ranger District at (303) 567-3000. Red Elephant Hill is narrow, steep and tippy in places. Empire Loop is rocky. Aggressive, high-clearance SUVs can do it.

off road driving
2 years ago

Red Elephant Hill is one entrance into the "Empire" 4x4 trail system. This entrance is quite tricky and can cause you some serious vehicle damage if you are a novice or you try it with a stock vehicle. I waited until I modified my Rubicon with 3.5 inch lift and 35' tires. There are a few "tippy" spots through the rocks but once past that you will be fine. The Empire entrance is my choice and it has more sub trails right as you go in. There is Bill Moore Lake and several other runs you can take that include a few nice water crossings as well. I love this place for aspen viewing in the fall. This is a "must do" trip if you love off-roading!!