Bill Moore Lake
GPS Coordinates: 39°45'41.0"N 105°40'58.8"W
Travel North on I-25 for about 50 miles to the southside of Denver and take C470 West. Take C470 for about 26 miles to I-70 and then take I-70 West for about 28 miles to Exit 232. This is the road to Empire/Granby or CR-255 which will become US40. Travel a couple of miles on US40 to Empire. Go North out of Empire on Park Ave., the only paved road going North out of Empire.
Bill Moore Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake at 11,360 ft above sea level and is surrounded on 3 sides by nearly sheer cliffs. The lake is framed by Breckenridge Peak to the southwest at 12,889 feet and Witter Peak to the north at 12,884 feet. There is a fairly large parking lot at the end of the trail with access to the lake being blocked to vehicles. Don't be surprised if you encounter snow along the trail or at the parking lot.
After leaving Empire you will drive up a long hill with a couple of switchbacks and will pass The Conqueror Mine. The Conqueror mine was the major employer in Empire until it closed in the late 1800s. Conqueror Mine is about 1.75 miles from Empire. The Conqueror mine facility is probably one of the better preserved mines in Colorado, considering its elevation, close proximity to Denver and the elements its has withstood over the past 100+ years.
The road to the Conqueror Mine is a nice pleasant county road that is wide enough for 2 lanes of traffic but starting at the mine the trail does start to become somewhat interesting. While there are some fairly large rocks on the trail most of them have been moved to the side so even a capable stock 4WD vehicle can travel the trail with relative ease, if the driver is careful and experienced. Most of the road is a shelf road through a rather dense pine forest.
Even though there are some tremendous views of the I-70 valley as you drive up the hill the Bill Moore Lake trail is really more about the destination than the trip. Most of the trip is up hill but when you are close to the Lake you will start on a short descent. At the start of the descent is a trench that in the past caused problems for some vehicles but has been closed by the Forest Service.
After you travel past Conqueror Mine there are a couple of intersections but the trail is very well marked. If you miss the signs take the trail to the left at these intersections.