The Old Dillon Reservoir, History & Nature Combined

Posted by: admin March 17th, 2016

Old-Dillon-Reservoir-TrailThe Town of Dillon is located approximately 6 miles from our Frisco hotel and offers a limitless amount of outdoor activities just like the other towns in Summit County. But, one way in which Dillon stands apart from the rest lies within its unique history as the town has been forced to be relocated three times over the course of its history. But, the last relocation in 1956 to where the town stands today, left a pretty nice nugget of nature that visitors and locals alike can enjoy for many years to come … the Old Dillon Reservoir.

Built in the 1930s, the Old Dillon Reservoir’s function was to supply water to the original town of Dillon and its inhabitants. But, during the Great Depression, Denver Water started to acquire the land around Dillon and, in 1956, notified business owners and residents that they would have to relocate because of the construction of a dam just downstream from the town. The resulting dam, and its reservoir, flooded Dillon and the surrounding valley, forcing residents to move a mile north where land was set aside for the town of Dillon that we have today. Ironically, instead of the new reservoir supplying water to Dillon, the water was being supplied to Front Range communities instead. All of this upheaval did reap at least one benefit though … the Old Dillon Reservoir.

Old-Dillon-ResevoirAs a remnant of the past, visiting the Old Dillon Reservoir is a historical trip to the past at the very least. But, it is much more than that. The 1.7-mile out and back Old Dillon Reservoir Trail is used for multiple year-round activities, including mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, Nordic skiing and showshoeing. With an elevation gain of only 200 feet, this is a great spot for people of all abilities. Besides the tremendous views of Lake Dillon, The Tenmile Range, and the Continental Divide, the old reservoir at the end of the trip up is icing on the cake. Surrounded by lodgepole pine and willows, the protected environment of the reservoir allows for very calm waters and great fishing opportunities with its isolated location. Water is supplied to the old reservoir from Salt Lick Creek which lies above what is now I-70.

To get to the Old Dillon Reservoir Trailhead, from I-70, take Exit 203 (Frisco / Breckenridge) and travel south on Highway 9 to the first traffic light. Turn left on to the Dillon Dam Road and travel approximately 1.4 miles to the trailhead on the left, just past the entrance to Heaton Bay Campground on the right. For more information, contact the Dillon Ranger District at (970) 468-5100 or visit the Dillon Ranger District website.

*Images courtesy of the Summit County Voice and the Town of Dillon.