The past week of rain and destruction has made weathering the outdoors a formidable task. As the clouds have finally cleared and the sun is shining again, I am wondering where I can possibly go. The floods have wiped out so many hiking trails and communities that it is hard to know exactly what is open and whether or not you will run into a new river on your adventures this weekend. The solution to this problem is simply go to higher ground. I have found a sanctuary that has benefited from all of this rain and I will be spending my weekend at Lake Dillon.
Lake Dillon is located in Summit County and spans the valley connecting the three towns of Keystone, Frisco, and Breckenridge. Over the past three years Lake Dillon has survived record low water levels, and though it may have struggled in the past the rain has filled the lake back to its teaming shoreline. The best part about the torrential rain fall is that is has completely filled the Islands and Bays area near the shorelines of Lake Dillon. This area of the lake is extremely coveted by kayakers and canoes because it is too shallow to allow motorized boats or sailboats creating a truly peaceful and wave free zone left exclusively to paddle boats.
Among the cluster of islands Sentinel is the largest. Paddlers are welcome and encouraged to pack a lunch and explore the many coves and hideaways along the shore. A personal favorite is Giberson Bay. Giberson Bay is the largest, and locally exclaimed the most beautiful bay, on the lake front. If you are putting in at the Frisco Marina it is easily accessible by either kayak or canoe.
Make a day out of the adventure and paddle to the far side of Sentinel Island and you will encounter Heaton Bay. The Heaton Bay is the saddle that connects the Frisco Bay and the Dillon Bay. Heaton Bay is more remote simply because it takes long to arrive by boat. Heaton bay is also accessible by car via Dillon Damn road. Dropping a car off here beforehand is a great idea because Heaton Bay Campground offers some of the most stunning views of Lake Dillon. These camping spots go very quickly so claiming a spot then heading to the water is the best bet. If camping isn’t in your plans and a day trip is all the time you can spare I highly recommend making the trek to visit the beaches from your boat.
While you can access Lake Dillon from either The Frisco Marina or The Dillon Marina, you can only rent kayaks and canoes from The Frisco Marina. Definitely call ahead and make a reservation for a canoe or kayak the weekends are still buys even into the fall. The Frisco Marina is my favorite location by far. The Island Grill offers killer cocktails and food, and is nestled right next to the Frisco Marina Park. There always seems to be a party happening there, and the locals are extremely welcoming and rowdy.
- 73 Miles west of Denver on I-70W
Where to park?
- The Frisco Marina Park
Lake Dillon Elevation?
- Easy-Difficult, speed is your call
- 2 person canoe-2 Hours: $35
- 3 person canoe-2 Hours: $40
- Single Kayak-2 Hours: $25
- Tandem Kayak-2 Hours: $35
- Canoeing, Kayaking, Hiking, Camping, Picnicking, Dog Friendly, Photo-Op
- Ten Mile Range, Views of Buffalo Mountain, Views of Mt. Royal, Town of Frisco, Town of Dillon