Dillon Reservoir, Colorado

The Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, Colorado, is an artificial freshwater reservoir, also known as Lake Dillon. An earth-fill dam built on the Blue River created the reservoir. It provides drinking water for the city of Denver and the surrounding area. It is also the largest freshwater reservoir owned by Denver Water. Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon are towns located on the reservoir's shores, popular attractions for fishing, hiking, camping, and boating. There are also popular ski resorts nearby. 

A Brief History Of Dillon Reservoir

Dillon Reservoir
Dillon Reservoir with the mountains forming a gorgeous backdrop.

A fun fact about the reservoir is that the location of the original town of Dillon is now 250 feet under its waters. In 1960, Dillon was the largest town in the county, with a population of 814 residents. However, there were increasing water accessibility concerns due to drought and a growing population. The Board of Water commissioners planned to build a dam and divert water from the Blue River into the exact location of the Dillon Reservoir today - the former location of the town of Dillon. Authorities relocated the entire locale and its hydroelectric system to accommodate the new body of water that was set to arrive in its place. The remains of the old town eventually drowned as the water levels in the area rose. 

Geography Of Dillon Reservoir 

Dillon Reservoir has a capacity of 310,000,000 cubic meters. The reservoir is 83% full and covers 43 km of shoreline. The water in the reservoir moves through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel, a 37 km underwater tunnel that transfers water from the reservoir into other neighboring towns. It is the longest tunnel of its kind in the world, according to Denver Water. 

Wildlife Of Dillon Reservoir       

Dillon Reservoir
Beautiful landscape of the Dillon reservoir in autumn.

Although it is an artificial reservoir, fish and wildlife are plentiful in the region in the summer and winter months. Arctic char was introduced in the reservoir in 1990, making the reservoir very attractive to anglers. Around 50,000 rainbow trout are introduced every year into the lake by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Dillon Reservoir is also home to large populations of brown trout and kokanee salmon. Sports fishing is thus a popular activity on the lake, with its long shoreline offering plenty of opportunities to cast a fishing net.

Attractions In Dillon Reservoir           

Dillon Reservoir
Kayak rent station at the Marina of the Dillon reservoir. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky / Shutterstock.com

There are tons of activities to do in both the summer and winter months in and around the Dillon Reservoir. These include camping with five designated overnight campgrounds in the lake area. There are also lovely picnic spots and parks for regular daytime usage. The Frisco Bay Marina and Dillon Marina have boat and kayak rentals and other services related to water sports. Fishing is also a regulated activity for tourists and locals alike. Other recreational activities include hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, enjoying scenic lookouts, and other special events such as fireworks on the fourth of July.

The Dillon Reservoir is a great place for people of all ages. There is something for everyone here. The quiet can savor the peaceful lake environment and spectacular nature, while the wild ones can enjoy the many activities the lake offers.

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