Resting in the heart of Summit County at 9,017 feet is the Front Range's answer to a day at the beach—beautiful Lake Dillon and her two ports, Dillon, just off I–70 on the south, and Frisco, off I–70 and Highway 9 on the west. The lake is actually backed up by a 231-foot earth-filled dam that fills the valley where Dillon once sat. During the frequent Western droughts, when water levels can drop dramatically, collectors wander along the exposed shores hunting for artifacts from this Rocky Mountain Atlantis.
It was these droughts that inspired the Denver Water Board to construct the reservoir and divert the water through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel, beneath the Continental Divide. Below the mile-long dam the Blue River babbles past the outlet shopping haven and turns into miles of gold-medal fly-fishing waters on its journey north.
The lake has been an aquatic boon to both the Front Range and the exploding Summit County population. There are more than 27 miles of
gravel beaches, marshes, peninsulas, and wooded islets for picnickers to enjoy, many accessible from a 7½-mile paved trail along the northern shores, or from the informal dirt paths elsewhere. Gaze out at the deep blue waters from Sapphire Point Lookout (a short ½-mile hike on the south side of the lake) any nice day, and you'll see a flotilla of motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and sailboarders dancing in the waves. Dillon Reservoir is the highest deep-water marina in North America and attracts sailors from all over the world to participate in regattas. In winter the frozen waters are enjoyed by ice anglers and cross-country skiers.
Because the lake is considered a drinking-water source, swimming is not permitted, and the lake is patrolled vigorously by Summit County sheriffs. Just because you don't see a patrol boat doesn't mean they can't see you; their surveillance is done with binoculars.