A local favorite, especially for dog owners, the Old Dillon Reservoir area has several trails for hiking and biking in a small system that offers relative solitude in a very convenient location with fabulous views of Lake Dillon and surroundings. A great introduction to this area is the aptly-named Old Dillon Reservoir Loop. A particularly nice time to do this hike is an hour or two before sunset when the light is very golden.
The trailhead parking is a bit hard to find while whizzing by in the traffic on Dillon Dam Road. Traveling westbound, the first (and only) indication of the turnoff is a little blue hiker's sign in the bushes about 100 yards before the parking driveway. Going eastbound, the parking area is on the left just past the Heaton Bay Campground entrance.
The trail heads north from the parking area before it quickly turns right to slowly climb the slope overlooking Dillon Lake. The hiker is treated to ever-higher views of the lake and islands below and the ranges of mountains above. To the northwest is the Gore Range with Mount Buffalo being the closest peak. To the southwest is the Tenmile Range with Tenmile Mountain dominating the skyline above the town of Frisco. The trail tops the ridge, and just below is the Old Dillon Reservoir. After encircling the lake there are a few trails to choose from to extend the hike, or you can simply return on the same trail to watch the deepening dusk change the colors on the expansive landscape.
Note: The trailhead sign indicates that the Old Dillon Reservoir trail is only 0.8 miles. This must be one way, because this hike’s total mileage was over 1.5 miles.