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Hiking in Summit County: Old Dillon Reservoir

The trail to Old Dillon Reservoir
The trail to Old Dillon Reservoir
Deb Stanley

Before Dillon Reservoir flooded the valley east of Frisco, the area was home to Dillon #3 -- the third location of the town of Dillon. A sign explains that the town needed a consistent water flow, so on a hill above town, a reservoir was created.

Old Dillon Reservoir
Deb Stanley

While Dillon #3 was moved to its present day site making way for the current Dillon Reservoir, Old Dillon Reservoir remained. A sign explains that Dillon still holds the water rights to the water and maintains the reservoir.

The hike to Old Dillon Reservoir starts on Dillon Dam Road (directions below). In the parking lot, signs explain the history of the reservoirs and the town of Dillon. When you’re ready, hike the path behind the sign.

The rocky, dirt trail winds through a meadow near the trailhead. Over the next half-mile, the trail winds through sections of forest and sections of meadows. However, if you look closely, many of the meadows were created when trees were cut.

The trail has a steady elevation gain as it climbs the side of a hill between Dillon Dam Road and Interstate 70. Because you’re hiking between these two roads, you should expect to hear a near-constant stream of traffic noise. However, as the trail switchbacks and forth up the hill, the views more than make up for the noise along the trail.

Just a half-mile from the trailhead, the trail comes out slightly above Old Dillon Reservoir. Take a seat on a nearby rock and enjoy the views of the old reservoir, the new reservoir and the mountains around this valley. If you’d like more distance, you can walk around the old reservoir.

When you’re done exploring and enjoying the views, return the way you came.

Details: The hike to the old reservoir and back is about 1.2 miles with 150 feet of elevation gain.

Learn more on the Forest Service's website. Find more great hikes in this list of 200+ hikes across the state. Don't miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.

Directions: From I-70, take the Highway 9 exit and drive south to the first traffic light. Turn left on Dillon Dam Road. Drive about two miles to the trailhead on your left.

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