Mixing it up on the water at the Frisco and Dillon marinas
Special to the Daily
• Alpine Fishing Adventures, fishdillon.com, (303) 885-6292
• Dillon Marina, www.townofdillon.com, (970) 468-5100
• Dillon Ranger District Campgrounds and Day Use Areas, www.dillonrangerdistrict.com/campgrounds.htm, (970) 468-5400
• Frisco Adventure Park, www.townoffrisco.com/play/frisco-adventure-park-summer/general-info, (970) 668-2558
• Frisco Bay Marina, www.townoffrisco.com/play, (970) 668-4334
• Frisco Rowing Center, www.friscorowing.com, (970) 453-0743
• Island Grill, www.islandgrillfrisco.com, (970) 668-9999
• Kayak Lake Dillon, www.kayaklakedillon.com/bike-rentals.html, (970) 281-2234
• Lake Dillon Bike Rentals, www.lakedillonbikerentals.com, (970) 468-8006
• Lake Dillon Water Taxi, dillontaxi.com, (970) 486-0250
• Meta Yoga Studios stand-up paddleboard yoga, www.metayogastudios.com, (970) 547-9642
• Pug Ryan’s Lakeside Tiki Bar, pugryans.com/about-us/tiki-bar, (970) 468-2145
• Stand Up Paddle Colorado, standuppaddlecolorado.com, (970) 453-7873
• WindRider of the Rockies, windrider.us, (970) 468-5006
Memorial Day through Labor Day (and beyond), Dillon Reservoir becomes one of Summit County’s favorite playgrounds. With events about every weekend ranging from regattas to dog, boat and air shows, it is a treasure for participants and spectators alike.
Both towns of Dillon and Frisco have marinas, which serve as excellent information centers. You can rent sailboats, pontoon boats, fishing boats, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards at both locations. If you lack experience in the water sport of your choice, both locations offer guided tours, lessons or a captain for an additional fee. You can also cross the lake from one marina to the other on the Lake Dillon Water Taxi, the least expensive ride on the reservoir.
The Dillon side
“You can probably do everything but swim, Jet Ski and water ski on Lake Dillon,” said Bob Evans, the Dillon Marina manager. “The character of the lake, the peace and tranquility, makes it a unique place to recreate. There’s not a lot of development along the reservoir, just a few houses along the coast.”
One of Evans’ favorite things to do is a sunset sail after work. “The wind usually picks up at 11, but dies down at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s fun to go out fishing, too.”
You can catch rainbow and brown trout, the boutique species arctic char and kokanee salmon.
One of the unique adventures out of Dillon is stand-up paddleboard yoga. Meta Yoga instructor Leslie Ross partners with Stand Up Paddle Colorado, which also rents boards and runs yoga-less tours.
“We show them how to paddle out to the cove. We put our anchors in and we start connecting with the breath,” she said, adding that the best part of the class is shavasana, or corpse pose. “You just imagine you’re in some tropical place. … You come back feeling invigorated and ready for your day.”
This summer, Dillon also will offer Pontoon Boat Yoga, which will allow the group to paddle and practice yoga in more secluded areas of the lake.
Evans emphasized that Dillon isn’t just a marina, but also a fun place to go and hang out. Many people come for the Dillon Farmers Market, eat their lunch at picnic tables down by the docks, hear the free music at the amphitheater and go someplace for dinner. Evans recommends Pug Ryan’s Lakeside Tiki Bar, which is right on the lake, with an award-winning deck to enjoy the scenery.
“We’ve got one of the most spectacular views,” said Candace Yanke, the general manager at the Tiki Bar. “It’s a happening scene with locals and guests from all over.”
When Yanke’s not at work, one of her favorite activities on Lake Dillon is to rent a pontoon from the Dillon marina with her friends. She also loves the Dillon Amphitheatre, which is conveniently located between Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. and the Tiki Bar.
“That’s one of the most spectacular outdoor venues in the state,” she said. “It’s even better than Red Rocks.”
Frisco Bay Marina
When Phil Hofer, Frisco Bay Marina manager, isn’t working, he loves kayaking in the morning, when the water is pristine and glassy.
“When the wind picks up, I go to my 25-foot sailboat and do some sunset cruising,” he said. “If there’s no wind, I go to my 1960s fiberglass boat.”
Hofer offers 1 ½-hour tours on his classic boat for up to five people. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic while they relax and enjoy the scenery.
Kayak Lake Dillon owner Kyle McKenzie is spending his sixth season leading family-oriented guided kayak tours on the lake. The flagship tour is 2½ hours, and kayakers are almost guaranteed to see wildlife, he said, adding that his favorite part of the lake is Giberson Bay.
“Go with a small group and get tucked behind those islands,” said McKenzie, who also rents bikes, which you can take right on the water taxi to Dillon and ride back or vice versa. “When you’re done with that, have a pina colada at the Island Grill.”
Those who have some experience with rowing, or want to learn, should check out the Frisco Rowing Center. President and coach Joanne Stolen insists that newcomers take lessons or demonstrate that they’ve rowed with another club before since the water is so cold. The rowing center has everything from beginner boats, which are wider and more stable, to racing shells.
One of Stolen’s favorite places to row is around Heaton Bay.
“I watch the ospreys grow up year after year,” she said. “At the end of Fishhook Island, there’s a great blue heron rookery. It’s fun to just go out and you can kind of sneak up on the birds since you are so quiet.”
Hofer said like the Dillon Marina, Frisco Bay is not just for boaters. The manicured lawn and sandy beach are real draws, particularly for the Fourth of July weekend. Located at the end of Main Street and just off the bike path, there’s plenty to do nearby.
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