Empire is a tiny town most commonly passed on-route to/from Winter Park. It’s located just west of Idaho Springs near the start of Berthoud Pass. Although small, it’s packed full of gems and reasons to stop.
Many of its treasures are restaurants. Jenny’s is a wonderful place to do breakfast or lunch. The 1860 Tavern is a local watering hole with good burgers. And the Lewis Sweet Shop has terrific food and atmosphere
The town was founded in 1860 during the mining boom and prospered. After the bust the town declined. Today about 350 people live in town.
Berthoud Pass – This year round pass takes you up over the Continental Divide to Winter Park & Fraser. On pass activities include backcountry skiing in the winter, and hiking and biking during warmer seasons.
- There are a few national forest campgrounds just over the Berthoud Pass before Winter Park. They are open seasonally, usually sometime in May to October.
- Dispersed camping can be found just out of Georgetown on the Guanella Pass. These spots are free and primitive, but there’s also a couple paid campgrounds on this side of the pass, with some amenities.
- Back out on I-70 Clear Creek flows toward the Front Range. There is awesome trout fishing at several points. The best thing to do is hop on Frontage Road near Georgetown Lake and just head east.
Things to do near Empire
- Winter Park Alpine Slide (24mi)
- Trestle Bike Park (24mi)
- Indian (10mi)
- Georgetown Loop (6mi)
- Guanella Pass (6mi)