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Explore Dillon by boat

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox
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DILLON – Want to scope out marmots, bear and birds while learning tantalizing details of Dillon history?

You can do all this while relaxing in your very own guided pontoon boat on Dillon Reservoir. For only $7 each, up to 14 people can fit in a boat on a one-hour cruise. Tours will be conducted Mondays and Tuesdays throughout June.

Whether you’re visiting Summit County or call it your home, there’s something for everyone on an “EXPLORE Lake Dillon” interpretive tour of the lake (and Denver Water’s main water source). Just don’t forget to dress in layers and slather on sunscreen. At almost 9,600 feet, the Dillon Reservoir can at one minute be hot and sunny, then cool and breezy.

Manned by a captain and Summit County Historical Society’s tour guide Linda Kelly, guided tours start June 14 and last about an hour. With the help of the boat captain, Kelly will narrate the ride, covering different facets of Dillon Reservoir, the old town of Dillon which that was located beneath the lake, and the surrounding area.

“This is a first-year trial,” said Dillon spokeswoman Susan Fairweather. “If it’s received well, we’ll consider adding additional dates.”

Though the actual boat route could vary due to wind, tours will generally cover where the old town of Dillon used to be, what’s what in terms of mountains and other landmarks, Roberts Tunnel (how the water is transported to Denver from the reservoir), the Dillon Nature Preserve, lodgepole pines and its decimation by the mountain pine beetle, the early days of the railroad, and Summit County’s mining history.

According to Kelly, when miners first came to the High Country, they sought both wealth and an escape from their pasts. That’s why so many early miners went by the name John Smith. They were making up new (albeit uncreative) names and starting over in the mountains of Colorado.

Kelly said she’ll also cover why Denver Water was able to buy up and flood the old Town of Dillon, why a new town was built in its existing location, and how the town got its name.

But, what’s really special about “EXPLORE Lake Dillon” boat tours is the gorgeous mountain scenery specific to Dillon – wide bluebird skies, jagged snow-capped peaks, panoramic views from the lake, and an ever-fresh breeze.

“There’s very few opportunities to see Summit County from a 360-degree vantage point,” Fairweather said. “And it is so beautiful. I think photography buffs will particularly enjoy the opportunity.”

Pontoon boats at the Dillon Marina are also available for rent without a tour, along with sailboats and little speed boats. For more information and hours, call (970) 468-5100 or visit http://www.dillonmarina.com.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.


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