Dillon Reservoir Launch Sites

Dillon Reservoir Launch Sites

Construction at the Frisco Bay Marina is expected to go on until June 1st. ?As a result, it made sense to write the first blog post on the different access locations for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on Dillon Reservoir. There are two towns that sit on Dillon Reservoir. ?Frisco is our favorite, but Dillon is great too. These two marinas are the only two launch sites that provide ANS checks. Therefore, if visitors plan to use a trailer or launch a motorboat, they must launch from these marinas. ?ANS stands for Aquatic Nuisance Species and boats and trailers must be checked for these species. ?Here are the 5 best areas to launch your kayak or stand-up paddleboard on Lake Dillon. Remember, hand launching only if you are not launching at Dillon or Frisco. ?Please remember before leaving any body of water, drain all remaining water left in your watercraft and be sure not to transport any aquatic hitchhikers!


This is my second favorite and the closest site to Frisco for kayaking and paddleboarding. There are multiple areas off of Dillon Dam road, where you can walk down, but in my opinion, the best option is the day use area about .5 miles from highway 9 in Frisco. This launch site provides kayakers and paddle boarders access to Giberson Bay within minutes of kayaking. Giberson Bay is full of smaller islands and is fairly shallow, providing you safe kayaking on Dillon. You can also access the larger part of Lake Dillon from Dillon Dam road if you follow the north shore and kayak between Sentinel Island and Heaton Bay Campground. Heaton Bay Campground is a Forest Service campground with great access to the water. If you camp here you can leave your kayak or paddleboard near the water’s edge and from certain campsites launch directly from your site.


The second launch site for a kayak or SUP is from the Snake River Inlet. This is a unique part of Dillon Reservoir and probably the least used of all kayak and paddleboard launch sites. The Snake River Inlet is located south of the Town of Dillon about half way between Dillon and the Keystone Ski resort. The Snake River inlet is a long, narrow small canyon carved out by the Snake River over 1,000s of years. ?Wind will typically blow from the west straight towards the launch site.?However, if you launch your kayak or SUP early and are off the water by 11 am you should be ok or run a shuttle with your companion and kayak from the Snake River to say the Blue River arm.


The Blue River arm is the third access point on Dillon Reservoir and is sandwiched between Breckenridge and Frisco. This is another lesser used spot on Dillon and offers for a ton of shoreline access connected to the Frisco Recreation peninsula and some cool steep shoreline on the Swan Mountain side. There is one island located on this stretch called Silver Dollar Island and is a great spot to land your kayak or paddle board and have lunch or take a break.


The fourth launch site for your kayak or SUP on Dillon reservoir would be out of the Dillon Marina. If you plan on launching your kayak or SUP early the Dillon Marina is a great option. Remember this is only one of two launch sites where power boats can access Dillon Reservoir. When launching from the Dillon Marina you are immediately on the largest part of Dillon but during the morning hours, this area provides you with an amazing kayaking experience. However, please remember, the Dillon Marina is located on the east side of Dillon reservoir which will give you a ton of fetch (open water) during windy days in the afternoon.


The fifth and my favorite launch site on Dillon Reservoir is the Frisco Bay Marina. Initially, you?ll encounter some boat traffic and crowds. However, from here you can kayak north into Giberson Bay or paddleboard east following the Frisco Recreation peninsula. This is where we start all of our kayak tours. Usually, we follow the Frisco Recreation Peninsula out to Sentinel Island. From Sentinel, we then kayak back through Giberson Bay crisscrossing through the 10 to 15 islands. Once through the islands, we are back just in time for lunch at the Island Grill.

Hopefully, this article was helpful. If you plan on kayaking or paddle boarding on Dillon Reservoir, don?t hesitate to give us a call. ?We are here for questions or you can book a tour! After that, you?ll learn about all of our little secret spots that only kayaks and paddle boards can reach!


COVID-19 Safety Measures

Group Size?

All tours have been capped at a maximum of 10 guests. If you are a party larger than 10 and are from the same household we can run a larger tour.

Distancing - All kayaks are set up prior to the tour. Each kayak has been placed at a minimum of 6 feet from the other. Guests are encouraged and reminded throughout the tour to maintain a minimum of 6 feet from one another.

Measures to Increase Sanitization

Kayaks and paddles are sanitized at the beginning of each day and between tours. We are using an ammonia-based solution approved by the FDA.?

PFD?s, also known as life jackets are sanitized by submerging them into an ammonia-based solution, proven to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Each PFD is stored in the sun for maximum sun exposure.

Hand sanitizer is available to the public and employees at our launch location

Employees have been assigned to clean/disinfect all high-contact surfaces frequently

Measures to Prevent Unnecessary Contact

Our kayak paddles are 7.5 feet in length. This provides a great tool to demonstrate appropriate distancing throughout the tour. You guide will encourage the use of distancing through the paddle swing?

Measures to protect Employees and Guests

All employees have been instructed not to come to work if sick (including any of the following; headache, sore throat. Fever (>100.4F), dry cough, recent inability to taste and smell, shortness of breath, earaches, body aches, diarrhea fatigue vomiting, and abdominal pain). If an employee does have any of these symptoms, we will ask the employee to get tested for COVID-19 infection. If the test results:

  1. Are positive, the employee will be deluded from working for 10 days after symptom onset or 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving, whichever of these is longer.
  2. If the test results are negative, the employee will be excluded from working until 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving.
  3. If testing is not completed, the employee will be excluded from working for 10 days after symptoms onset OR 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving, whatever of these is longer

Symptom checks are being conducted before employees may enter the worksite

Face? coverings are provided to guests and employees. We do not utilize any indoor spaces at this time

Guests will receive full refunds and are not able to participate?

If they are experiencing any symptoms including any of the following; headache, sore throat. Fever (>100.4F), dry cough, recent inability to taste and smell, shortness of breath, earaches, body aches, diarrhea fatigue vomiting, and abdominal pain).

Dillon Reservoir

Dillon Reservoir Questions and Answers

Breaking News! Dillon Reservoir Marinas will open May 22nd with crucial Covid-19 guidelines! That means we will be offering private tours only starting on May 22nd

We get a ton of questions about Dillon Reservoir while kayaking, so this blog post is my attempt to answer the most asked questions about Dillon Reservoir.

Can you swim in Dillon Reservoir?

The short answer is no, but there is a little more to this story. Adventure Paddle Tours started offering guided kayak tours on Dillon in 2009. Way back then, one could easily get a ticket if you were caught swimming. Denver Water?s strict stance was absolutely no swimming on the reservoir, and since Denver Water technically owns Dillon Reservoir, whatever they say goes. The interesting thing, though, is that initially, Denver?s stance on no swimming in Dillon was mainly due to their water treatment capabilities. Denver Water's cleaning technology and capabilities have greatly improved, and they say the water is super clean now.

So, why can't we swim in Dillon Reservoir today? The answer is the water is simply too cold. Dillon is often lowered twenty to thirty feet every spring because of all of the snowmelt that rushes in. All of that snowmelt, combined with the depth of Dillon, keeps the water super cold year-round. With no swimming allowed they also do not allow jet skis or skiing. Dillon Reservoir is owned by Denver Water, but it is managed by The Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee, these guys are responsible for implementing regulations and provide Marine Patrol.

How cold is Dillon?

On average, Dillon is around 50 degrees, but early season it can be as cold as 45 degrees, and in late summer, it can be as high as 65 degrees.

Why is Dillon often low?

Many factors come in to play with Dillon's water levels, and the main factor is snowmelt. However, we might have the most epic snow totals in history, like in 2019, but still have a low reservoir. The reason for this is that Denver Water is actively releasing water downstream in preparation for the massive snowmelt Dillon Reservoir is about to receive. They have water level predictions down to a science too! If you visited Dillon Reservoir in early June of 2019, you would have seen Dillon at 40 to 50 feet below full.

Hiking above Dillon Reservoir
View of Dillon from Buffalo Mountain

Conversely, if you had visited Dillon Reservoir in August of 2019, you would have seen Dillon Reservoir at its highest level ever recorded! Snowmelt is the number one factor involved in Dillon Reservoir water levels. However, Denver Water is in the water business, which means they sell water. Denver Water sells water to Denver residents, but it can also sell or trade water downstream to other water stakeholders. Remember, Dillon Reservoir is part of the Colorado River system, and we have all read about the many issues the Colorado River faces. Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California all pull water from the mighty Colorado River.

Can you camp on Dillon?

Yes, camping on Dillon is incredible! However, there is no dispersed camping, and there is absolutely no camping on the Islands. Camping on the islands is prohibited due to the potential of spreading noxious weeds. The county puts a lot of resources in trying to remove noxious weeds, and they actually ferry utility vehicles to the islands to spray.
Even with those two restrictions in place, there are tons of great campsites. There are 5 campgrounds on the reservoir; Windy Point, Prospector, Heaton Bay, Peak 1, and Lowry. Lowry is not actually on Dillon but is just across Swan Mountain Road.

My favorite campsite on all of Dillon Reservoir is in Loop D at the Heaton Bay Campground. There are five to 10 tent-only sites, and all are on the water's edge, offering an excellent opportunity for immediate access to Dillon Reservoir water. We actually kayak by this campground on every kayak tour

The campsites on Dillon are often sold out, and reservations can be made at recreation.gov I have also heard that even if all sites are sold out, you can visit Lowry or Prospector on the Keystone side of Dillon, and they will set you up with a tent only site. I have never tried that, but it's worth checking out if you end up in a bind. There are also untold amounts of dispersed camping throughout the county. You just have to look for them. Here is the link to the Heaton Bay Campground, it is my favorite. You will need to google the other campgrounds to make sure you reserve the right one.

When does the reservoir open and close?

Dillon is more or less open year-round to walk-in access, and the ice typically melts mid-May. The marinas usually try hard to open by Memorial day weekend. Still, they often have tons of work to get things open. Since the reservoir freezes every year, both marinas have to pull out a ton of their infrastructure, so the ice doesn't damage it. You can often kayak Dillon as late as December.

Where can I launch my boat?

I wrote a separate blog on where to hand launch your kayak. You can visit that here. If you are launching a trailered boat, you can only launch from either the Frisco Bay Marina or the Dillon Marina. Both marinas require an extensive aquatic invasive inspection, and they will not let you launch until all of the boxes have been checked. If it is found you are carrying mud, water, or hitchhikers, they will charge you for a steam cleaning. Do not try to skirt this!

Is there a town under Dillon Reservoir?

The first year we were running tours, we often had guests tell the whole group about how the original town of Dillon is at the bottom. The Town of Dillon indeed used to be where Dillon Reservoir is. However, it's somewhat incorrect in saying there are still buildings underneath. In fact, most of the buildings that were worth keeping were moved, and you can even visit them today. My favorite restaurant in the county, Arapahoe Cafe, operates in a building that used to be where Dillon Reservoir sits today. Check their menu out here. ?The mint, Old Dillon Inn, and a few buildings in Breckenridge and Frisco all used to be where Dillon Reservoir sits today. Lastly, any building that was left behind was demolished before Dillon Reservoir was filled.

How deep is Dillon?

Just over 200 feet. I have been on a boat with a depth finder, and we did find a 230-foot spot.

Can you rent a boat on Dillon Reservoir?

Yes, you can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes. We provide guided kayak tours on Dillon Reservoir out of the Frisco Bay Marina.

Where to rent a sailboat on Dillon Reservoir?

If you want to sail on Dillon Reservoir, you should definitely reach out to Tom and Seth with Windrider of the Rockies. You can book a lesson, rental, or tour from https://windrider.us and they don't take reservations over the phone. Just like us, they operate out of the Frisco Bay Marina, and reservations by phone are difficult there.

Can you hike or bike on Dillon?

There are tons of hiking trails, singletrack bike trails, and a paved recreation path. My favorite hike on the water is the Meadow Loop and Ridge Trail on the Dillon side. My favorite mountain biking on Dillon is on the Frisco Recreation peninsula. There are tons of interconnected trails here, so depending on your timeframe, you can do 5 miles or even 20. The best way to use the county paved rec path is to start at the Frisco Bay Marina, bike to the Dillon Marina then take the Summit Shuttle back to Frisco.

Biking the Peninsula on Dillon

When is the best time to visit Dillon Reservoir?

This is a tough question to answer. If you're looking for light winds for kayaking or rowing, it's definitely in the morning. If you want to sail with good winds anytime after 11 is excellent. September is probably my favorite time of year to be out. It can still be pretty warm, but can also get super cold. If you want excellent aspen watching, try the second week of October. Don't overlook the sunsets! Sunsets are often spectacular on Dillon, you just need to pay attention to the thunderstorm forecast. We offer a Sunset Kayak Tour a few days a week.

sunset over mountains
Sunset Kayak Tour on Dillon

What kind of fish are in Dillon Reservoir?

There are more Rainbow trout than anything else, but there is also a growing population of Arctic Char. There are brown trout, cutthroat and kokanee salmon too. If you want a guided fishing trip reach out to Randy with Alpine Fishing Adventures. They offer boat trips in the summer and ice fishing in the winter.

How big is Dillon Reservoir?

Dillon is 3,200 acres has 26 miles of shoreline, and is Colorado's 3rd largest reservoir.

I hope I was able to answer any questions you might have about this amazing place, but if I did not, please, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm pretty sure we will have an answer to just about any question. If you want to learn more about Dillon or just want to explore this fantastic place, please join us on a kayak tour today! You can book a guided kayak tour from adventurepaddletours.com/kayak-tours. We are the topped rank activity in Frisco and have been offering guided kayak tours on Dillon since 2009! There is so much to see and learn!

What to Know About Dillon Reservoir Before You Go

Want to visit Dillon Reservoir? This large freshwater reservoir in Summit County, Colorado, also sometimes known as Lake Dillon, is just outside of Denver. The reservoir itself is owned and operated by Denver water, and serves as a popular recreation area.

Dillion Reservoir is perfect for day trips to escape the heat of Denver in the summer and enjoy a fun-filled time outdoors. If you want to visit and want to learn more about Dillion Reservoir, find out the things you need to know about the Dillon Reservoir before you go!

Where is Dillon Reservoir?

Dillon Reservoir is located between Frisco and Dillon in Summit County, CO. It?s 70 miles from downtown Denver, 9 miles from Breckenridge, and 28 miles from Vail. All in all, it?s about an hour?s drive from Denver.

It?s encircled by the Swan Mountain and the Gore and Ten Mile Mountain ranges. The Reservoir covers 3,300 acres with 25 miles of pine-forested shoreline. This makes it a perfect location to experience nature just outside of the city and enjoy both the water and the mountains!

What is the History of Dillon Reservoir?

Dillon Reservoir is owned & operated by the Denver Water Board, and it is the largest water storage facility for the organization.

The Dillon Dam was built between 1961 and 1963, with the reservoir being filled with water for the first time in 1964.

Water is diverted from the Blue River Basin through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel under the Continental Divide into the South Platte River Basin and Denver?s storage facilities on the Front Range.

What Is There to Do at Dillon Reservoir?

The recreational facilities at Dillon Reservoir include:

  • Two full-service marinas ? Dillon and Frisco Bay
  • Two boat launching sites
  • National forest campgrounds for R.V. and tent camping

Boating and fishing are two of the most popular activities on Dillon Reservoir, but there?s a lot more to explore. There are 325 campsites for camping, 12 miles of paved trails within the Dillon Recreation Area for hiking or bicycling, and designated areas for waterfowl hunting.

What Are Some Rules & Regulations at Dillon Reservoir?

There are a few rules and regulations for everyone to follow at Dillon Reservoir for personal safety and to protect the area. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  • There is a 30-mph speed limit for all boat vessels traveling on the water
  • Wakeboarding, waterskiing, paraskiing, paragliding, and parasailing are prohibited
  • Campfires are only allowed to campsite locations where fireplace grills and fire rings have been provided
  • Is Dillon Reservoir dog friendly? Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a leash and cleaned up after.
  • Due to cold temperatures, wading and swimming in the water is prohibited

The Summit County Sherriff?s Department patrols the water surface and campgrounds to enforce these rules and ensure the safety of all those who visit Dillon Reservoir.

What?s the Best Way to See Dillon Reservoir?

Adventure Paddle Tours offers guided kayak tours out of the Frisco Bay Marina on the Dillon Reservoir.

Our expert guides can help you navigate through the waters and see the mountains, wildlife, and experience the beautiful scenery the area has to offer. Our tours are true eco tours that are rooted in conservation, designed for small groups to give you that intimate nature experience.

We have a range of tours available to suit your groups needs! Click here to take a look at our guided kayak tours offered in the Dillon Reservoir and book with us today.

What to wear kayaking

What to wear kayaking on Dillon Reservoir

If any of you have been on a tour with me before, you will know I have a difficult time giving guests a solid yes or no answer about anything!? This blog post is my attempt to answer any guest?s questions about what to wear kayaking with Adventure Paddle Tours.? The short answer is below. Please read on further for detailed information.

  • Hat
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Suncreen
  • Synthetic bottoms (boardshorts, hiking shorts/pants)
  • Synthetic UPF T-shirt (I prefer longsleeve for sun)
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Rain jacket or synthetic fleece jacket (Mainly for our Colorado kayak Tours)

My go-to on every single kayak tour is as follows.

I wear shoes designed for kayaking and my go-to shoes for the last 3 years have been the Astral Loyaks.? I wear board shorts, a long sleeve synthetic UPF sun shirt, hat, and polarized sunglasses.? Everyday before I leave the house, I apply a base of at least 70 SPF sunscreen and other than the tops of my hands that protocol has done pretty well for me.? For our Colorado kayak tours, it is also very important to bring a light synthetic fleece jacket or a rain jacket to cut the wind.? IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT GUESTS DO NOT WEAR THE TYPICAL HEAVY COTTON COLLEGE STYLE HOODIES.? WHEN THESE SWEATSHIRTS GET WET THEY WILL NOT INSULATE AND WILL IN FACT DO THE OPPOSITE. ?

So, that is my go to clothing for kayaking, however I do this for a living and that is my uniform.? Often, guests will book a kayak tour while visiting say Denver and just didn?t pack for a kayak trip.? Don?t worry! Clothing is not going to make or break your guided kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours and we can often provide guests with some additional gear, other than what we already provide.? Let's break down each garment for a closer look on what you should really wear and why it?s important.? ? ?

Shoes, what to wear kayaking?

Guests have gotten away with everything from cowboy boots, to sandals and standard tennis shoes, shoes, in my opinion, are the most comfortable but please be prepared for them to get a little wet.?The two most common types of footwear you will see a kayak guide wear would be a closed-toed low profile shoe designed to get wet and built with a nonstick sole or a beefy sandal made for hiking, again with a solid non-slip sole.?

In my opinion, the best kayak shoes and sandals on the market are going to be the Astral Loyak and Chaco?s Z classic sandals. Over the years, most of our guides seem to prefer the sandal route.? Myself and Ryan, our lead guide in Colorado, prefer closed-toed shoes due to more protection moving kayaks and running around on rocky shorelines.? On all of our kayak tours both on Dillon Reservoir and in Naples, Florida our guests enter and exit our kayaks from dry land so, you do not need to walk in the water.?

On our Naples kayak tours, our guest's feet do tend to get wet since we use open style sit inside kayaks.? In Colorado, your shoes should stay pretty dry while kayaking.? Finally, the answer to the average visitor joining us on a kayak tour is tennis shoes you don?t mind getting a little wet or sandals are your best option for joining us on a kayak tour.?

What type of shirt should I wear kayaking?

For kayaking all day, I prefer a long sleeve synthetic UPF t-shirt since I do wear a life jacket, I prefer a minimal shirt with no pockets or snags that could get uncomfortable under my PFD.?

Both my hands and my arms will often get wet while kayaking and sunscreen is usually only waterproof for an hour and a half.? Years ago, my doctor warned me about the freckles starting to appear on my arms and from here on out it?s been a long sleeve synthetic shirt.

The material is also very important when thinking about kayaking in colder waters like what we have on Dillon Reservoir.? If you haven?t heard the term "cotton kills," you have now.? Basically, when you get wet wearing cotton clothing the cotton has zero insulating properties and will actually pull the heat away from your body and in a serious survival situation, cotton clothing can kill you.? This is why almost all outdoor clothing is made of either a synthetic material or merino wool. ?

What Type of Pants or Shorts Should I Wear on a Kayak Tour?

Same story here, I always wear board shorts and if we are kayaking in early May on Dillon Reservoir or late September I might wear black synthetic long johns under my board shorts.? Now, while on vacation in Colorado guests often pack jeans and do fine on the kayak tours but please remember cotton jeans are not comfortable at all while kayaking and if you have the option of athletic shorts or hiking pants, wear those.?

Please, everyone, remember we will not cancel our kayak tours due to cooler weather and it is your responsibility to dress appropriately.? So, on our morning tours in July jeans and t-shirts might be okay but if it?s an overcast day with a little wind proper clothing is important.? ? ?

Should I Wear a Jacket for My Kayak Tour?

When kayaking in Florida, you almost never need a jacket even in the winter.? Our kayak tours in Colorado are a different story.?

Almost every morning until mid July I will show up to work wearing some type of light jacket.? If you are only going to bring one type of jacket while vacationing? to Colorado, it should probably be a rain jacket.? Obviously, these are great for rain but they are also perfect for windy days while kayaking or at the top of peaks where it can be cold and windy.? The wind stopping properties of most rain jackets are perfect for just about every summer day in Colorado at 9,000 foot elevation.?

For most of our visitors on our kayak tours, almost all guests have some type of synthetic fleece.? If you don?t own a fleece it might be time to trade in that cotton sweatshirt for a synthetic or even marino wool fleece jacket.? The takeaway on the jacket conversation is try not to wear cotton sweatshirts and if you have both a wind stopping rain jacket and a light fleece that is absolutely perfect for kayaking in Colorado and even Florida.? We will often get short periods of rainfall. Sometimes even just 5 minutes but if we got soaked for 5 minutes and you are wearing cotton you might regret that decision for the next 2 hours of kayaking.?

Should I Wear Sunglasses for My Kayak Tour?

Let me preface this subject with the fact that I am a pyscho when it comes to wearing sunglasses and a hat.?

I will search my house for 30 minutes to find my sunglasses before going to the truck for something.? So, with that in mind, it makes sense that I won?t be caught dead on the water kayaking without a good pair of sunglasses.?

Sunglasses are also not all created equal and the number one most important feature with a pair of sunglasses for kayaking or fishing on the water is the fact that they should be polarized.?

Polarized sunglasses essentially give you better vision through the water by cutting the horizontal glares reflecting off the water. Polarized sunglasses aren?t crazy important on our Colorado kayak tours since we aren?t pointing out things like Manatees, bull sharks and alligators like we see on our Florida kayak tours but if you plan on doing some fly fishing while visiting Colorado you definitely want a decent pair of polarized sunglasses.? You will be amazed how much more stuff you will see on our Naples kayak tours if you wear polarized sunglasses, especially on our Manatees and Mangroves kayak tours. ?On a side not polarized sunglasses are great for driving through those light rainy days with tons of glare.?

Should I Wear a Hat for My Kayak Tour?

Again, I don?t go outside without a hat but we do get a number of guests that just don?t wear hats and that is perfectly fine.? I personally prefer a full brim stiff hat with a cord for windy days kayaking and it can often get windy on Dillon Reservoir.? If you want to take it one step further be sure to buy a hat that has a dark underside on the brim.? You might laugh but it does make a difference for anyone that loves to fish or tends to get eye fatigue in the sun. ?

Book Your Kayak Tour with Confidence

So, hopefully, I have answered more questions rather than created them with this blog post.? Please, remember that less than optimal kayaking clothing won?t make or break a kayak tour in during perfect weather.? However, perfect weather is definitely not the norm for both Colorado and Florida and guests should try their absolute best to be prepared for any type of weather that can roll in on our Florida Kayak Tours and our Colorado Kayak tours. ?Also, this blog was not intended for the safe kayaking clothing but was written with guest's comfort while on a kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours. ?Please, remember if you are kayaking in colder weather or colder water their are important variables you must take into account. ?? ?

To learn more about our kayak tours in Naples or our kayaking tours in Lake Dillon, click here.

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When is the best time to Kayak on Lake Dillon?

Simply put, the best time to kayak on Lake Dillon is in the morning.? No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Why is this the case? There are three major factors to think about when kayaking on Lake Dillon - wind, thunderstorms and traffic.

All three factors almost always have little to no effect on kayaking the Dillon Reservoir in the morning but come in the later hours of the day. This is why we have always been hesitant to offer a 12 pm or 2 pm kayak tour on Lake Dillon months in advance. There is at least a 30% chance that we will be refunding you for your afternoon tour due to these factors, or at the very least you missed out on the better kayak tour in the morning.

This year, we are now offering an early bird kayak tour that departs from the marina at 8 AM ? the very best time to kayak on Lake Dillon. The Early Bird kayak tour is the same award-winning, 2.5-hour Island Kayak Tour route we have offered for the past 10 years but better. If you still are not convinced you should book our early bird kayak tour, how about a discount?? Our Early Bird 2.5 Hour Island Tour is 10% cheaper than all other Island Tours.? Most often the best kayak tour is more expensive, but this is a supply and demand discount. Almost all visitors to Summit County are capable of making it to our 9 am kayak tour and that kayak tour sells out often but not as many are willing to wake up early to do our 8 am kayak tour. Trust me, you will not regret kayaking with us at 8 am!

Wind and Kayaking Dillon Reservoir

99 out of 100 days in the mountains of Colorado, the mornings will have calmer winds.? The reason for this is, as the sun rises it heats up the air at the earth?s surface, as this air heats, it starts to rise giving room for the higher winds in the atmosphere to fill this void at the earth?s surface. It is always windy high up in the atmosphere and when there is room down low it will blow. So, with only this one constant in mind - it is always best to launch your kayak on the Dillon Reservoir at least by 9 am and try to be off the water by 12 pm.

The number one question from our guests about kayaking early is - will it be too cold to kayak early in the morning? It is somewhat counter-intuitive but kayaking at 50 degrees with zero wind and waves is much warmer than kayaking at 70 degrees with 15 mile an hour winds and waves. Plus, kayaking with zero wind at 8 or 9 am is much more enjoyable! This is why we offer discounts for our 8 am Early Riser kayak tour to encourage all of our potential kayakers to join us at 8 am.

We also provide our kayakers with splash tops to keep you dry, spray skirts that keep the water out of the kayak and we utilize the sit inside style sea kayaks, designed for colder waters and temperatures.? Kayaking gloves are also available year-round but are usually only needed in mid-May and late September. Our kayakers on Dillon are also required to wear our provided life jackets that provide insulation as well.

Thunderstorms on Dillon Reservoir

If you have spent any time hiking, biking or fishing in Colorado then you have probably come close to a lightning strike. Many times I have been fly fishing with no rain in sight and bam, lightning!

Colorado?s dry air during thunderstorms in the afternoons tend to trick kayakers since the rain often evaporates before hitting the ground, giving you a false sense of safety. You need moisture in the air to cause a lightning strike.? In other parts of the country, you tend to go inside long before the thunderstorms hit because you?ve been getting rained on for the last 10 minutes.? That is often not the case in Colorado.? Usually, sometime in late June we really start to see our monsoon season pick up and almost half of our afternoons on Dillon Reservoir will see thunderstorms. These thunderstorms may only last minutes, they will roll in fast and furious and then the rest of the day is perfect.? However, those 5 to 10 minutes kayaking on Lake Dillon during an afternoon thunderstorm can ruin your vacation and even your life!

This high chance of afternoon thunderstorms is the number one driver of why we try our hardest to encourage all kayakers on lake Dillon to book our guided kayak tours as early in the morning as possible.

Boater Traffic on Lake Dillon

It is not guaranteed that there will be high winds or thunderstorms on Dillon Reservoir in the afternoon and we sometimes have great kayak tours at 12 pm. However, I can guarantee that on that bluebird, zero wind day the afternoon will be busy on the water!

It is always amazing the response we see from our kayakers at 8 or 9 am vs. our kayakers at 12 pm on the exact same kayak tour on the same day. The parking lot at the Frisco Bay Marina will always have plenty of parking at 8 am, even on Saturdays but if you try to find parking at 12 pm, you better arrive 30 minutes early and expect to park 10 minutes away from Dillon Reservoir.

Not only is it easier to park close to Dillon Reservoir it is a much more relaxing eco-tour, kayak experience early in the morning.? If you are kayaking at 8 am on Dillon you can expect to see zero boat rentals, more wildlife and possibly other kayakers.? I always joke with our kayakers returning at 11:30 to the Frisco Bay Marina and say, ?look, this is the only kind of rush hour I can handle?.

Book An Early Bird Kayak Tour on Lake Dillon With Adventure Paddle Tours

In closing, there is no question that kayaking on Dillon Reservoir is best early in the morning.? This is why the popular rowing club out of the Frisco Bay Marina is often leaving Dillon Reservoir when we are first launching.? If I felt we could book enough guests at 7 am we would do it!? Again, there are fewer boaters, less wind and almost zero chance of thunderstorms at 8 am on Dillon Reservoir.? If you are kayaking on your own or thinking of booking a guided kayak tour with us please consider launching first thing in the morning and taking advantage of our early bird kayak tour deal!

Things to Do One Hour Outside of Denver, CO

If you?re a Denver local, there?s plenty of things to do in town, but there are also a lot of awesome activities outside of it.

From stunning mountain views to exciting events, Colorado has a lot to offer, and Denver is a perfect central hub for many of these locations.

If you?re looking to get out of the city this summer and take a day trip somewhere new to find some hidden gems around Colorado, look no further than this post! Here?s a list of the top things to do 1 hour outside of Denver, CO.

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest is about an hour and 23-minute drive from Denver. The area spans about 2.3 million acres of land and spans several cities in Northwest Colorado ? so there?s no shortage of activities to enjoy in the most visited national forest.

You can pop into the Supervisor?s office in Glenwood Springs to get activity ideas and trail maps. There are 4 major reservoirs, 2,500 miles of trails, and 8 wilderness areas. Some popular destinations within the forest include the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, the 82-mile Flat Tops Scenic Byway, and the Crystal Mill near Marble, Colorado.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountain National Park is another extremely popular National Park about an hour and a half outside of Denver.

The area draws 4.5 million annual visitors and covers 415 miles of mountains which includes 355 miles of hiking trails, 147 lakes and 77 mountains taller than 12,000 feet.

It?s also a great spot for wildlife viewing ?you can see elk, bighorn sheep, moose, and birds. It?s also home to the historic village of Estes Park, which is a popular tourist destination.

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater

Just outside of Denver is Red Rocks Park, which is home to Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most famous concert venues in the world that?s carved out of the park?s ochre sandstone.

Outside of the amphitheater, the park also has tons of beautiful trees, wildflowers, wildlife, and views for you to explore. There are hiking trails, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as several regular events like ?Yoga on the Rocks? or ?Film on the Rocks?.

Frisco, Colorado: Frisco Bay Marina & Lake Dillon

Frisco is a quintessential mountain town perched between the mountains and the lakes just an hour outside of Denver and is the perfect place for a weekend getaway or a day trip.

Frisco?s main street is home to locally owned shops and restaurants, and the Frisco Adventure Park offers a lift-assisted tubing hill, beginner ski ride and hill, and more. In the summer, the Adventure Park has a free skate park, bike park and disc-golf course.

The Frisco Bay Marina is the perfect spot to enjoy a Colorado summer with boat rentals, fishing, and paddle boarding.

The Frisco Bay Marina is home to Adventure Paddle Tours, which offers guided kayak tours on Lake Dillon through the Dillion Reservoir. These unique guided kayak tours allow you to see the abundant wildlife and breathtaking mountain views in the area. The small group tours are intimate, and you will be led by an expert kayak guide that has extensive knowledge of the local ecosystems and waterways.

Book A Guided Kayak Tour on Lake Dillon Today!

There are plenty of fun things to do around Colorado but taking a guided kayak tour on Lake Dillon in Frisco, CO is one of the best attractions the area has to offer.

If you are ready to get out of Denver and explore nature, book a guided kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours in Frisco.

Our tours vary from a 1.5 hour family tour, sunset tours, and pontoon-boat assisted afternoon tours. Find the best kayak tour for your group and book online today!


A Beginners Guide to Kayaking on Lake Dillon

Kayaking across Lake Dillon provides you with the chance to see breathtaking mountain views, explore nature, and see animals, all while enjoying time with family and friends. That being said, kayaking can be an intimidating experience if you?ve never done it before. If you?re visiting Lake Dillon and want to make the most of your weekend by taking a kayak adventure, you don?t have to let being a kayaking beginner scare you off from giving it a try. Here are our top tips for kayaking for beginners on Lake Dillon.

Come Prepared

One of the most essential parts of kayaking as a beginner is to make sure you come prepared with the right gear.

The first and most important thing is to make sure you have a life jacket. If you?re taking a guided tour with us on Lake Dillon, we will provide life jackets. If you?re kayaking on your own, make sure you have a Coast Guard approved life jacket that fits properly. Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. We also recommend wearing swimwear or athletic clothing that is non-cotton if you have that handy. Keep in mind that your clothes may get wet! If it?s a sunny day, be sure to wear a sun-shielding hat and sunglasses.

Also, make sure to wear sunscreen. Kayaking trips can range from an hour and a half to 3 hours, so make sure you?re hydrated and have a meal or a snack beforehand to make sure your energy will be sustained throughout the trip. If you plan on bringing your phone or a camera, make sure you have them store away safely and bring a waterproof case if possible.

Safety Precautions

Even when you?re prepared, there are certain safety cautions you need to take. First and foremost, you should file a floatplan, stating where you are going and when they plan on coming back. Especially as a beginner, you shouldn?t be kayaking alone. Make sure you have a kayak buddy or a group that can help you. As a beginner, you should stay close enough to the shore that it?s a distance you can easily swim. Do research of the area that you are going to be navigating through, and make sure you know the currents, tides, and weather forecast. Storms often pop up around 2 pm, so you should plan your trip with that in mind. Stick to kayaking on a day with mild weather and when the water temperatures won?t be too cold as a beginner. Bring a whistle that can be used as a distress signal in case of an emergency.

Take A Guided Kayak Tour on Lake Dillon

While being prepared and taking safety precautions will help you kayaking as a beginner, the best recommendation we have is to take a guided tour on Lake Dillon.

There are so many things that go into kayaking as a beginner, like making sure your kayak is adjusted properly, how to hold your paddle, the different types of kayak strokes, how to launch properly, and more. Some of these things may be difficult to handle without some guidance.

Adventure Paddle Tours provides award-winning guided kayak tours out of the Frisco Bay Marina at Lake Dillon. Our guides are highly trained to help you make the best out of your kayaking experiences, as well as give you the best views of nature through Lake Dillon you could possibly find. Book a tour with us today in Frisco and you won?t regret it!

Adventure Paddle Tours TripAdvisor 2019 Certificate of Excellence

We are honored to announce that Adventure Paddle Tours has been named the number one outdoor activity in Frisco, Colorado by TripAdvisor!

We also received the 2019 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor and have been added to the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame.

Trip Advisor?s Certificate of Excellence and Hall of Fame program honors hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service across the world. The designation is presented to approximately 10% of total businesses on TripAdvisor. There is no application process for this certification, and it is presented to businesses that consistently achieve great reviews throughout the year.

Without our excellent customers who come through and take the time to write reviews for us, this award wouldn?t be possible! Along with the certificate of excellence, we were named the number one activity to do in Frisco, Colorado ? among other outdoor activities, boat tours, water sports, tours & more.

More About Our Award-Winning Kayak Tours

Some of our top mentioned tours in our Trip Advisor reviews are morning tours and sunset tours. Users who review us often also mention the flora and fauna they see, the pictures they?re able to take (Instagram-worthy, we hear), and the knowledgeable guides.

All of our guided kayak tours are based out of the Frisco Bay Marina at Lake Dillon, where you will be led by our expert guides, explore the abundant wildlife and nature views. There are different tours depending on the size of your group and preferences. Our 2.5-hour island tour is the most popular tour and is perfect for beginners. The adults-only sunset tour is located on limited days due to the uncertainty of weather but is a great way to get a great view of the incredible sunset views over the lake. Our newest Dillon Explorer boat supported kayak tour utilizes a 24-foot pontoon boat to help guide you back through the reservoir.

We also offer a shorter 1.5-hour family tour, great for children as young as 6 years old to get the whole family out of the water. Additionally, we have 3-hour private kayak tour, which are great for corporate events, parties, or family reunions, with the tour being fully customizable depending on your group?s needs.

Book A Guided Kayak Tour with Us Today

If you are ready to experience our award-winning guided kayak tours, book with Adventure Paddle Tours today! We recommend planning ahead, as we can get booked out in advance for weekends and holidays. Our tours depart daily as early as 8 am and as late as 7 pm, and we recommend booking tours early in the day for less wind and avoiding afternoon thunderstorms. Click here to book your tour with us today and contact us with any questions.

Planning a Weekend Trip to Lake Dillon

Looking for the perfect weekend getaway in Colorado this summer? Lake Dillon is located in the heart of Summit County Colorado, which is just over an hour away from Denver, making it the perfect location to escape to the mountains for the weekend and enjoy the warm summer weather.

As local experts in the area, we have the ultimate guide to the steps you need to take to plan the perfect weekend trip on Lake Dillon.

Find Lodging

Before you take the weekend trip to Lake Dillon, you have to find a place to stay for the weekend.

If you want to experience things like a local, try to find an Airbnb or VRBO around Summit County ? there?s many options for condos or homes that you can rent out, with a variety of numbers of bedrooms depending on the size of your group.

If you don?t want to go that route, there?s a number of hotels in the area ranging from cheaper motels if you want to keep it simple, to luxury hotels if you want a more high end experience. Because summer is a busy season in this area, we recommend booking in advance to get the best deals.

Packing List

If you?re just taking a weekend trip, you can pack light, but there are a few essentials you don?t want to forget. Summer temperatures are usually predictable, but thunderstorms can come through in the summer, so it?s important to pack layers and have all the fundamentals you need for you outdoor adventures.

When it comes to clothing, you want to make sure you have everything you need to brave the outdoors depending on the weather.

We recommend packing hiking shorts, short sleeved shirts, long pants, long sleeve shirts, a waterproof jacket, comfortable walking shoes, broken in hiking shoes, bathing suit, sunglasses, and a wide brim hat.

Of course, you want to bring all your normal toiletries like toothbrushes, deodorant, and shampoo and conditioner, but don?t forget a high SPF sunscreen, lip balm, aloe lotion, and bug spray. Some electronics essentials to bring are a camera to document your adventures, a flashlight, extra batteries, an external phone charger.

Plan Your Weekend Activities

Our latest blog post outlines some of the best activities for you to do on Lake Dillon. Some of the things you can do include a fishing trip, sailing lesson, camping, hiking, mountain biking and more.

Because your time is so limited on a weekend trip, we recommend sitting down with your group and putting together an itinerary of the activities you want to do while your there. Decide the top things you want to do and book the activities in advance so your plans are set, and you can make the most of your weekend trip.

Book A Guided Kayak Tour with Adventure Paddle Tours

Kick off your weekend trip on Lake Dillon by taking a guided kayak tour through the Dillon Reservoir with Adventure Paddle Tours!

We offer a range of guided kayak tours that can fit different size groups and different experience levels. Our guides are also experts in the area that can give you a true local experience and can give you recommendations on more things to do and see around the area. Book a tour today to get the best Lake Dillon weekend experience.