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Day Trip: Bill Moore Lake and Mill Creek


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Last weekend I made my 3rd and finally successful attempt at reaching Bill Moore Lake. My 2 previous attempts were stopped by snow (November and June).

The second attempt, we went up Red Elephant Hill. This is a pretty fun trail but we decided to skip it and just run up BML.

Early on in the trail, it severely washed out. I haven't been up here before the floods in 9/2013 but I'm assuming this was caused by the heavy rains. I drove it on my first attempt with my limited flexing torsion bars and open diffs (but it wasn't super easy- but FUN). Flexing out is always fun now though.

Further up on this section the road is down to basically half a lane due to a really bad wash out. I use to have a picture, but now I can't find it. Joe? Brian?

The day's group:

(front to back): Brian and Sherry, Brian's friend (spacing on the name), Joe's friend Matt, me and Joe and Jen.

The lake! Finally!

We spent some time at the lake throwing a stick into the water and having my dog Lucky and Joe's dog Daisy Mae retrieving it. The water wasn't especially deep or too cold.

Then you got to pose at the Poser Rock:

We had some lunch away from the lake because the Mosquitos were pretty bad near the lake.

Mill Creek is a fun loop. It's tight though. Lots of trees are scared at mirror height on both sides of the trail. I don't think anyone in our group had any issues with that though.

Crossing Mill Creek:

Mill Creek itself:

Stopped to get a geocache and let the supercharger on the LX cool down some:

One of the "highlights" of Mill Creek is this cabin:

It's referred to as the Empire Hilton. It's stocked with some food, wood and a couple beds. It's meant to be used if you really need it. Joe was convinced that the place was crawling with bed bugs- and there's a good chance he's right. I was about the only one from our group that went in. It was pretty "rustic" inside. There was a couple hanging out in there that I think were waiting for us to clear out so they could screw in there.

All in all a fun trip with some good camping opportunities along the way.


Staff member
Looks like a fun trip and always great to finish a trail you couldn't get done before. It also looks like the snow was totally gone and things dried up nicely.


Well-Known Member
There ZERO snow on the trail but I did hike over to some near Bill Moore Lake just cuz.

It was definitely good to be able to cross BML completely off the list. And we all really liked Mill Creek. A great loop (without a full sized vehicle or H1) would be to go up Red Elephant, do the Mill Creek loop (either direction- we went clockwise) and then do BML and back down using BML. That would be a good day.

And the there are some trails on near Idaho Springs and Georgetown to make a weekend out of it.


Active Member
Was the washout area worse than it was in June? I might head up there this week, but I keep wondering if the washout will close that road soon.


Well-Known Member
Great pictures. I spent the weekend in Winter Park and got to the exit faster than expected and ran Bill Moore Lake trail up to the part in your third picture on Thursday evening. It started getting close to being dark and I wanted to take the long uphill section to see the lake but decided to turn back. The jeep did very well, flexed a bit, 4wd worked awesome without the front locker, although there were only a few sections that I put it in 4wd. The trail is very rocky/bumpy though, I expected it to be more of a rough dirt road but I also assumed most of it was from rain washing it out.

Did you trailer your explorer up? If so, I am pretty sure I saw you west on 70 on Sat/Sun while I was headed east.

Edit: and the washout at the beginning was pretty decent sized. I dont think there was any actual road left, you had to go around it at an angle on the side of the hill.


Well-Known Member
The washout is pretty nasty. I do think you have to drive up more in the hill now to get by than what we did back in November. I'll see if I can find my pic from that trip.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Brian

Here's a pic from November. I think you can definitely see some additional washout.

I know the best comparison would be how much it's encroached onto the trail, but I know I never took that pic.


Active Member
trying to picture the washout. what is the turn by the old mill? that was starting to washout last year, but wasn't bad. i don't remember a whole lot of the trail though, but i do still have a lot of mud to clean off the engine and underside ;)


Well-Known Member
On the way up, near the hairpin by the old mine.

At the top where your group picture was taken, prior to the long uphill before the lake. Turned around prior to going up the hill because it was getting dark. I skipped the high clearance route both up and down since I didnt want to break anything or get stuck.

On the way back down, awesome views

Took a side shoot down that ended up being decently tight and a decent descent. Used the rock as a stopper since it was sliding when in park.