Dillon Reservoir


You can’t drive through the mountain towns of Silverthorne, Frisco, and Dillon, without taking notice of the stunningly blue waters of the Dillon Reservoir. This manmade lake is a holding tank for water destined for thirsty Denver. In the meantime, boaters, fishermen, and sightseers can enjoy it.

You’ll spot the Dillon Reservoir as you drive by on Interstate 70 — and if you’re eastbound, there’s an exit to a great viewpoint overlooking the lake, just after you leave Frisco.  I stopped here on my way back from Hoosier Pass, as I returned to my hotel in Silverthorne at the end of the day.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Here’s a wider look at the landscape, from the edge of the interstate, looking to the south and east.

The original town of Dillon was flooded, when a tiny natural lake was expanded into the present-day Dillon Reservoir. The original road into the town now serves as a boat ramp.

From here, you can also look back towards the west, at Peak One (12,805 feet), which towers over the town of Frisco.  About halfway up the mountain, on the right, you’ll notice a protruding rocky cliff — this is Mount Royal.  It’s hardly a mountain in its own right, but it provides a good hiking challenge.  I hiked up it on Day 8, before driving back to Denver and flying home.

Looking to the northwest, I think that’s Ptarmigan Peak, a 12’er that towers over Silverthorne and I-70, near the Eisenhower Tunnel.

As you can tell, the sun was nearly setting (it disappears much more quickly in the mountains).  I headed back to my hotel to rest up from the day of hiking.

Where I Stayed

I spent nights 3, 4, and 7 at the La Quinta Inn in Silverthorne.  If you bid on a 3-star hotel in this area, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up here.  As you can see, it had a great view to the east.  It was clean, but could have used some basic maintenance — and I have no idea why they decided to install wood floors in the bathrooms.  There’s also an Old Chicago pizza restaurant in the hotel, which provided a delicious dinner on my 7th night.

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