Water Blog

Dillon Reservoir Kayak and SUP Launch Sites

By Kyle McKenzie | May 27, 2019 | Dillon Reservoir

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!

Dillon Dam Rd Kayak and SUP launch

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.

Snake River Inlet Kayak and SUP Launch

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.

Blue River Inlet Kayak and SUP Launch

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.

Dillon Marina Kayak and SUP Launch

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.

Frisco Bay Marina Kayak and SUP Launch

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!

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