Monday, August 16, 2010

Old Dillon Reservoir

Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,066 ft - 9,193 ft
Elevation Gain: 127 ft
Dogs: Off leash

The views of Lake Dillon are the best part of the Old Dillon Reservoir Trail

The trail to the Old Dillon Reservoir is wickedly short, which makes it the perfect excursion for kids, visiting low-landers, aged ones, or peak baggers who are just too tired to do anything else but want to at least pretend that they hiked that day.

An early trail segment

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) is a poisonous shrub, so bring a snack on this trail so your not tempted! It grows in dry, wooded areas.

My behavior at times might put me in the first category, but alas I fell into the third category on my first trip to the reservoir. After climbing Mt. Thomas the day before, I just was not in the mood to do much, so I decided to hit a short trail. They need profiling too!

A close up of the rainbow. That is Bald Mountain (13,684 ft) to the right.

A segment through Aspens
I went late in the evening, around 7pm, and was blessed with a stunning light show across the waters of Lake Dillon. The views of the lake from this trail make this short trip worth bragging about. The islands, inlets, trees, and trails that surround the lake stood out like a Chamber of Commerce post card. Everything glistened. There was even a rainbow hanging over Mt. Bross to the south. I forget sometimes how attractive Lake Dillon really is. I don't know what is about seeing boats out on the water that make me yearn for the life of the itinerant vacationer.

Looking southeast from the bench
Looking southwest

The trail to the Old Dillion Reservoir begins in a large parking lot just across the dam from Silverthorne. It is easy to find and easy to park.

Mountains, lake, and clouds are an everyday tableau in Summit County.
Lake Dillon has many islands and inlets
The short trail switchbacks upwards a couple of times before straightening out into a eastward stretch. The flora varies from petite Aspens, to dead Lodgepoles, to lively Limber Pines. There were wildflowers along the way, but not as many as I would have hoped.

Trail segment just before the reservoir
Old Dillon Reservoir
On this trip, the reservoir was a near empty sandpit of limited appeal. Water for the reservoir comes from the Salt Lick Creek, and I suspect there has not been much water the last couple of years. From a sign posted at the trailhead it looks like there is a proposal to draw water from other sources.

Once a favorite fishing spot, the reservoir is currently dry
A close up of Torreys and Grays (left to right) in the fading sunlight
Just before the turn off to the reservoir, there is a green bench strategically placed to admire Lake Dillon. This is a fine destination in and of itself. Here one can feel isolated from the world while at the same time gazing down upon it. The trip on the Old Dillion Reservior Trail will enable you to worship summer in all its languid glory.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Beautiful and informative, as always...thanks for sharing :-)