Dillon Bike Guide: Lake Dillon scenic rec path
Distance: 18 miles
Time: 2 hours
Elevation: 9,000-9,800 feet (gain of almost 1,000 feet)
Parking: Dillon or Frisco marinas, among other options
Starting at the east end of Main Street adjacent to the Frisco Marina, this level section of recpath winds along Dillon Reservoir’s shoreline, passing by the Frisco Cemetery, Tenmile Creek inlet and 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 U.S. Highway 6 to Swan Mountain Road.
Now, pause for a breather and sip of water. The 5 or so miles on the north shore of Dillon Reservoir are perfect for families, large groups and just about anyone else who simply wants to enjoy a mellow cruise around an Alpine lake. This section passes right outside of downtown Dillon — home to Pug Ryan’s microbrewery and beloved brunch spot Arapahoe Cafe — and takes riders directly past the marina parking lot with views of sailboats and the occasional High Country regatta. Just west of the marina is the Dillon Amphitheater and connected park, complete with picnic tables, lakeside benches and plenty of open grass. Bring a backpack with a picnic lunch, or pedal down to the Tiki Bar on the dock.
About 2 miles outside of Keystone, 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 in about 1 mile, heading right on the new path connector on the south side of Dillon Reservoir. Continue on the recpath through the Summit Cove neighborhood following signs for the recpath, which intersects again with Swan Mountain Road after a climb out of Summit Cove.
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 Colorado Highway 9. Cross this highway at the light. The separated recpath resumes just past the intersection on your right. You will then come to the intersection with Frisco Farmers Korner Trail. Take a right onto the Farmers 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 Bay Marina, including Miners Creek Road and Second and Seventh streets.
My favorite ride for a relaxing day. This is the best route to see the various sights of Summit County. With a full lap around the lake, you can effectively catch a glimpse of the five boroughs of the county. This also makes for a perfect route for group rides. You can meet anywhere around the lake to pick up new riders for your group. The descent down Swan Mountain is an extremely rewarding experience after the climb. Overall, the lake lap is a wonderful accomplishment for any rider. It offers plenty of beginner terrain while offering up challenges for the experienced rider, as well.
— Patrick Linfante
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