If you’re looking for a nice, family hike/walk with a view, Sapphire Point above Dillon Reservoir is a nice choice. The hike starts on the Swan Mountain Road, between Frisco, Breckenridge and Keystone (directions below).
From the parking lot, walk to the bathroom and start your hike/walk on the wide, dirt path. The trail starts downhill. As you walk west, you’ll see an area where many dead trees have been cut down, opening up a view of the bay below and the snow-capped peaks above. Those are peaks one to 10 from the right. The peaks to the far left are part of the Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Just a tenth of a mile from the parking lot, you’ll arrive at the Sapphire Point Overlook. There are three signs here explaining why trees are cut down, how fire changes the landscape and the circle of life for lodgepole pine trees. There are two benches here and lots of rocks, if you’d like to sit and enjoy the views.
If there are too many people here, consider continuing on the loop path. The trail climbs as it wraps around the mountain here. If you’re here with kids or dogs, make sure you keep an eye on them as there are steep drop-offs on the left side of the trail. About a quarter-mile from the parking lot, about 0.15 miles from the overlook, you’ll come to another bench. This is a nice spot to enjoy the views, or just take a break if you’re hiking with seniors or kids.
As you continue walking around the mountain, about half-way around, at a viewpoint looking northwest to northeast, you’ll find three picnic benches. We stopped here and had a snack and water while we took in a wide view of the main reservoir below. Look closely through the trees and you may even spot the Dillon Dam.
When you’re ready, continue following the path. We found one more bench before arriving back at the parking lot, at the other end from where we started.
Details: The hike to the overlook and around the loop is about 0.65 miles with 50 feet of elevation gain.
Directions: From I-70, take Highway 9 south toward Breckenridge. Drive about 4.2 miles past Frisco and one of the bays of Dillon Reservoir. At Swan Mountain Road, turn east. Drive about 1.85 miles up the hill to the Sapphire Point parking lot.