Elevation: 9,100 ft - 9,300 ft
Elevation Gain: 200 ft (net), 350 ft (estimated) (cumulative)
Date Hiked: 22 June, 2011
Dogs: Unofficially off leash
Bathroom at trailhead: No
The Dillion Nature Preserve/Peninsula is a rarely visited (by non-locals) spot for running, dog walking, and mid-day hiking. It is a pleasing area with several pleasant overlooks with views of the Tenmile and Gore Ranges.
Looking at the social trail that bypasses the road. It cuts across the bike path and then heads sharply uphill.The route I am going to discribe here you won't find in a guide book, because it takes advantage of a social trail to bypass having to walk along the bike path and road and instead sticks to a more naturalistic setting.
The trailhead for this hike begins in a large parking lot across from Cemetery Road on Highway 6 going from Dillion to Keystone. The normal route for this hike is to head down the bike path for 0.4 miles until it intersects with a dirt road and then take this another 0.4 miles to the entrance of the Dillion Nature Preserve. Instead of this route, I followed the rather obvious trail that goes from the parking lot straight up the hillside to the west. This is a total calf burner, but well worth the effort since it allows the hiker to avoid the road.
Sagebrush meadow with houses on the far side. Cross this meadow on the trail until it comes to a T. Take the right fork and you soon pass through an open fence and down into a wide gulch that looks down onto the lake. Take this trail until it starts to descend the gulch. It will be transparent, but a short way down this social trail merges into the Meadow Trail of the Nature Preserve. At 0.52 miles is the large brown sign for the Ridge and Meadow Trails. The Meadow Trail is back the way you came, while the Ridge Trail is to the left. Turn here and head up the left side to the top of the ridge that borders the gulch.
At 1.27 miles the trail starts to head down the other side of the ridge. At 1.38 miles is another nice view of the lake just as the trail turns sharply to the right. At 1.52 miles is a turn off to another overlook. This one heads up some rock steps to a promontory with more views of Peak One and Buffalo Mountain.
For those who live in the area, the Ridge Trail on the Dillion Pennisula along with the Tenderfoot Trail, and the Old Dillon Reservoir make for a relaxing after work hike with the dogs. Check it out if you have not already done so.