Best Place to Camp: Heaton Bay Campground |

Best Place to Camp: Heaton Bay Campground

Heaton Bay Campground, located off Dillon Dam Road between Frisco and Dillon, is the 2021 Best of Summit winner for Best Place to Camp in the county.
Nicole Miller/Summit Daily News

More than a half-century ago, Dillon Ranger District volunteer Bob Reinert camped for the first time at the U.S. Forest Service’s Heaton Bay Campground.

Reinert’s father took him up to a new Summit County: one that had just spent years changing the landscape to install the gargantuan Dillon Reservoir to provide a water source to Front Range residents.

What does Reinert remember from camping at Heaton Bay back in the day?

“They had the best fish,” he said.

More than 50 years later, Heaton Bay Campground may look and sound a lot different considering the larger crowds that frequently flock to the popular camping site. But even in 2021, the spot has retained the same jaw-dropping, easy-to-access amenities that attract visitors from all over to the shores of Dillon Reservoir.

The campground — which is located along Dillon Dam Road — currently has 81 campsites that provide lakefront access for fishing, motorized and nonmotorized boating and, in more recent years, stand-up paddleboarding.

The campground is an ideal location for recreationists of varying fitness levels to easily access the Summit County recpath system, and its proximity to the recpath means it’s just a short run or ride away from some of the most extravagant backdrops in the area.

But of course, the primary draw for the campground is boating, Reinert said.

“People really like the bay there,” he said. “They can drive their boat in and dock it in Frisco, then bring it to the bays and dock their boat there. I think that’s what a lot of people like about that camp spot. And it’s a nice, pretty place. You’re not too close to your neighbors.”

As for booking the popular, reservation-only sites, Reinert said all 81 fill up quickly. If you want to camp there, you’d best jump at the earliest possible time.

“Most of the people do that six months ahead of time,” Reinert said. “That’s your limit to actually get in there, especially for the Fourth of July and Labor Day.”

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