Editor’s note: Throughout the summer the Summit Daily will be running weekly trail guides from our annual Explore Summit County Bike Guide every Friday and Saturday. The guides will be a mix of dirt trails, singletrack and paved roads.
Following a combination of paved trails and roads, the Lake Dillon scenic bike route runs along shorelines, through towns and past marinas, and takes riders on a challenging trip up Swan Mountain Road. Riders can select any number of options.
Know Before You Go: Swan Mountain Road is a winding mountain road with an elevation gain of 500 feet that does not have paved shoulders. Be aware at times there is heavy vehicle traffic. Use caution when riding along this 6-mile section of the route. The route is not advised for families with small children or bike trailers.
Parking: Five parking areas along the route include the Tenderfoot Trailhead at the Tenderfoot Road/U.S. 6 intersection, Dillon Nature Preserve Trailhead just off Hwy 6 past the Roberts Tunnel Road entrance, Snake River Inlet north of Swan Mountain Road near Hwy 6, Blue River Parking Area east of Hwy 9 on the south side of Swan Mountain Road immediately after crossing the Blue River, County Commons exit Hwy 9 west onto County Road 1004 and proceed one- quarter mile to County Road 1005 to the County Commons building, Giberson Bay 2 miles east of Frisco along the Dillon Dam Road, Dillon Dam Road and Overlook 1.5 miles west of Dillon on the left side of the road after passing operations buildings.
Description: Starting at the east end of Main Street adjacent to the Frisco Marina, this level section of recpath winds along the Dillon Reservoir’s shoreline passing by the Frisco Cemetery, Ten Mile River inlet, and the Summit Middle School. The path continues through lodgepole pine forests to a section that parallels the Dillon Dam Road. After crossing access roads for Giberson Bay parking and the Heaton Bay Campground, it parallels the road again for a short distance and then crosses the dam. Beyond the dam, the path curves south and merges with Lodgepole Road until you connect to the Dillon Marina. The path resumes above the marina. Follow the recpath to Gold Run Circle, then east on Tenderfoot Road to the trailhead where the recpath resumes and continues parallel to Hwy 6 to Swan Mountain Road. The path will cross the Snake River by means of a large pedestrian bridge. Shortly thereafter, the path intersects another recpath. Take the right fork, which will lead you to Swan Mountain Road. Cross Swan Mountain Road and continue on recpath through Summit Cove following signs for the recpath, which after a climb out of Summit Cove, intersects again with Swan Mountain Road use caution at this intersection. Use caution crossing Swan Mountain Road and continue on the recpath to the Sapphire Point parking area. A restroom facility is available at the summit. Take the Sapphire Point Trail (pedestrian only) for great views of the surrounding peaks. The route then descends quickly to the intersection with Hwy 9. Cross Hwy 9 at the light. The separated recpath resumes just past the intersection on your right. You will then come to the intersection with Frisco Farmer’s Korner Trail. Take a right onto the Frisco Farmer’s Korner Bike path. The path climbs over a hill, then continues through the Bill’s Ranch area.
There are several connections that will lead you back to the town of Frisco and the Frisco Marina, including Miner’s Creek Road, Second and Seventh streets.
Additional trail information is also available in the free annual Explore Summit County Bike Guide.