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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Choosing the right kayak paddle for Naples, Florida Kayaking

With the arrival of our new kayak gear here in Naples, Florida I decided to write about the different types of kayak gear necessary while kayaking in Naples, Florida.? In this article, I will discuss your kayak paddle.? This is the second piece of kayak equipment after your PFD that we recommend you splurge on. Why you ask? It is the most personal part of your kayak gear.? Your kayak paddle is in your hand 99% of the time while on a kayak trip in Naples!? So when you are ready, take the plunge and buy the best paddle you can afford. Now, how do you know what kayak paddle is best or right for you? ?

Recreational, fiberglass touring and Carbon Touring Paddles

There are three basic categories when it comes to kayak paddles. Each type of kayak paddle is designed for the conditions of the area you intend to paddle, the type of kayak you?ll be in and the type of kayaking you plan to do. ? There are Recreational, Whitewater and touring paddles. If you plan on kayak Naples, Florida, you want to purchase either a recreational or touring kayak paddle.?

Whitewater Kayak Paddles

There is no whitewater to kayak in Naples.? Whitewater kayak paddles are typically heavier, stronger and made of either carbon fiber or fiberglass. The heavier weight associated with a stronger whitewater kayak paddle isn?t necessary when kayaking the Everglades or Naples. ? These paddles will definitely work here, but there is no need to spend the extra money on a more expensive kayak paddle designed for a different type of kayaking unless you plan to kayak surf.

Recreational Kayak Paddles

Recreational Kayak Paddle
Aluminum Shaft Recreational Kayak Paddle

Recreational kayak paddles are going to be your basic $20-$60 paddles, typically equipped with an aluminum shaft and some type of plastic blade.? These kayak paddles are fine for the once a month kayaker, but if you start to kayak any distance at all you will notice fatigue in your arms and shoulders.? These kayak paddles are typically heavy and the paddle blades aren?t always designed for any one type of paddle stroke. These are also the types of paddles that 99% of the kayak tours in Naples, Florida use. These paddles will work and are great starter paddles if you are unsure of how much you will actually kayak. If you can afford it, go the next step up and purchase a touring kayak paddle. Adventure Paddle Tours is committed to your comfort, which is why we have made the switch to all fiberglass shaft kayak paddles on our kayak tours in Naples. To learn more about Adventure Paddle Tours click here.

Touring Kayak Paddles

Full Carbon Touring Kayak Paddle
Full Carbon Touring Kayak Paddle

Touring kayak paddles are definitely your go-to paddle design if you plan to go kayaking in Naples, the Everglades or the Marco Island area often.? Touring kayak paddles are often constructed of lighter, stiffer and less corrosive materials. This is super important if you are kayaking any distances in the saltwater in Florida.? These kayak paddles will also have a blade shape designed for either a high angle stroke or a low angler stroke.? Touring kayak paddles can range from $100 for your fiberglass shafts and up to $400 for a full carbon fiber construction. While on a kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours, we teach a low angle stroke. This kayak stroke is typically less stressful on the shoulders and more efficient for longer kayaking trips.? Paddle blades designed for this type of stroke are typically long and slender, whereas a high angler kayak blade will have a boxier designed to push as much water as possible.? ?

Fiberglass Shaft Kayak Paddle
Fiberglass Shaft Touring Kayak Paddle

All of our kayak tours in Naples, Florida are up to 6 miles long and having the lightest and most fatigue free paddle is important to us.? That is why if you jump on a kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours you will be equipped with the best paddles, life jackets and kayaks available.? For our adult kayakers, we use a 34-ounce fiberglass shaft touring kayak paddle, American made by Aquabound in Osceola, Wisconsin.? For our younger kayakers, we provide them with a much lighter carbon fiber shaft, child-specific kayak paddle called the Sharky.? This paddle is also made by Aquabound and it is sure to keep those kiddos happy while on a kayak tour in Naples, Florida. ?

Children's Carbon fiber kayak paddle
"The Sharkie" Carbon Fiber Shaft kids paddle

I am a firm believer that you don?t need the newest most expensive gear to get out and enjoy your kayaking in Naples, Florida but again if you want to start kayaking more and more do yourself a favor and buy a kayak touring life jacket and paddle.? Our new kayak specific PFDs should arrive in Naples sometime early next week.? Be on the lookout for a new article explaining why a kayak touring PFD will make you happy and comfortable while kayaking in Naples, Florida!

If you want to paddle the different types of paddles Book a kayak tour today and we will be happy to bring multiple options.