The Town of Dillon is Your 2018 Colorado Summer Getaway
By Emma Walker for RootsRated Media in partnership with Town of Dillon
Summit County, Colorado, has plenty of hidden gems, but its crown jewel is in plain sight: At more than 3,000 acres and with nearly 30 miles of shoreline, Lake Dillon regularly causes jaws to drop as drivers crest I-70 before descending to Exit 205. The scenic mountain town of Dillon takes full advantage of the enormous alpine lake, providing access to watersports and a laid-back waterfront vibe that’s unique in the state.
Today, Lake Dillon is a major water source for the Denver Metro area. After the dam was finished, the old Dillon town site was flooded, and the Denver Water Board set aside a plot to rebuild the town. One thing has remained the same—the water is a central aspect of life in Dillon.
Considering that Lake Dillon’s shoreline is a little over 26 miles, it’s not exactly a quick jaunt to stroll around the lake. Still, lakeside hiking is gorgeous and offers incredible views. Kick things off with a hike to the Old Dillon Reservoir, accessible off Dillon Dam Road. The old reservoir was created in 1930 to hydrate the now-underwater town, but it has become better known as a great hiking destination and beloved fishing spot (just remember to get a current fishing license).
You also can take in the whole lake with a bike ride or long run that circumnavigates Lake Dillon for an 18-mile trip with sweeping views all around. There’s also an excellent 13-mile round-trip ride along the bike path between the Dillon Amphitheater and Frisco Marina. Skip the ride back and hop on the Summit Water Shuttle, http://www.summitshuttle.com, for a fun and educational shuttle between the Marinas of Frisco & Dillon.
Whether you like your boats big or small, you’ll find plenty of ways to experience Lake Dillon on the water. The Dillon Marina Sailing School offers two-hour sailing lessons and keelboat courses, plus sailboat tours during the day and at sunset for those who prefer to have others man the sails. You also can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Stand Up Paddle Colorado.
The Dillon Marina also rents pontoon boats and runabouts in two-, three-, and four-hour blocks, so you can take the whole family out on the water. If you’re not ready to operate your own seafaring vessel, sign on for one of several seasonal tours offered from the Marina, including a historical tour of Lake Dillon.
One universal truth about time spent on the water is that no matter how slowly you’re moving, you’ll work up a major mountain appetite. Fortunately, Lake Dillon’s surroundings have you covered on that front, too. You won’t have to go far off the water for your first post-adventure stop. Infuse your lake time with some island vibes at the Tiki Bar, open from May to September, located right at the Dillon Marina.
If beer is more your style, you’re in luck. Pug Ryan’s Brewery has won almost two dozen medals for its beers at local and national beer competitions, and its menu doesn’t disappoint. Knock back a few pints during happy hour, which runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. There’s also the Dillon DAM Brewery—they love corny puns, but the beer is serious. Another heavily awarder brewer, Dillon DAM has a huge space great for laughing with friends or taking a self-guided brewery tour.
If it’s food you’re focused on, head to one of Dillon’s many open-air restaurants. Arapahoe Cafe is a local favorite with a rich Summit County history and delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. For quick, casual dining head to Cafe ProFusion, which also serves local beer and carefully selects its wine pairings.
Whether you’re spending a weekend or an entire summer in Dillon, you’ll never run out of things to do around the lake. And no matter what you do, you’ll enjoy the lake vibes that make this town a unique Colorado experience.
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