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!


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.

The Perfect Day on Lake Dillon

Imagine a crisp, clear, spring day on Lake Dillon. It is just starting to get warmed by the cresting sun over the eastern mountain line. ?The skies are bluebird and the day is abound with possibility. ?What should we do on Lake Dillon today?

Walk the Dog on Lake Dillon

Fido at the beach on Lake Dillon

First, on the must-to-do list is walk/run the dogs, what better place than the 20-30 minute loop trail around the iconic Sapphire Point up on Swan Mountain road which connects Highways 6 by Keystone/Dillon/Silverthorne, Highway 9 and Breckenridge/Frisco. Don?t forget to look for Golden Mantle Squirrels. ?These guys are a rare little critter that inhabits the point. ?If you want to stay in Frisco, bring your dog down to the Frisco Bay Marina. ?The newly constructed sand beach has proven to be an excellent spot to encourage Fido to jump into Lake Dillon.

Eat Breakfast in Frisco

After that, it might be time for breakfast. Just down the hill and around one of the fingers of the lake is the thumb of the lake, a historic town called Frisco, Colorado. It is named after the first railroad whose tracks made its way through town along the line from St. Louis to San Fransisco. With a well established main street. ?There are many gems off the beaten path. There are tons of options to break the fast like; Abby?s Coffee, Butterhorn Bakery, or grab a breakfast burrito at the Log Cabin. ?Abby's Coffee is literally 100 yards away from the Frisco Bay Marina. ?You will often find Adventure Paddle Tours owneroperatort Kyle Mckenzie drinking multiple cups of amazing coffee!

Kayak Lake Dillon

Kayaking Lake Dillon
Kayaking Lake Dillon

Nothing complements a good breakfast like paddling around a glass calm alpine lake surrounded by mountains. Located at the end of Main Street is the Frisco Marina, which is a beautiful area to relax and enjoy the pristine surroundings. Walking around the marina you might see other people approaching the docks to go out fishing or take the ferry to Dillon, or even the rowing club carrying their streamlined rowboats out for practice. By now if the views and experience aren?t enough and you want the full experience from the water, take a tour with us at Adventure Paddle Tours located on the pier for a guided family-friendly nature tour to find the secret spots and maybe see the animals waking up.

Eat Lunch in Frisco

After a great paddle around the lake, it is time for lunch, The Island Grill located at the Frisco Bay Marina overlooks Lake Dillon and they?have amazing Fish Tacos. ?Perhaps a short walk down Main Street in Frisco for mac & cheese at Ollies or burgers and sandwiches at Silverheels Bar and Grill. ?All three restaurants are within walking distance of Lake Dillon

Bike Vail Pass

After lunch maybe take a bike shuttle up Vail pass. ?From the top, you can ride the paved bike path downhill for miles and miles past Copper Mountain and into Tenmile Canyon. Arriving back in Frisco gather up the family and head on over to Silverthorne via i70 or the Dillon Dam Road to The Mint restaurant for a unique grill your own steak at the oldest restaurant in Colorado, and one of the buildings that was moved along with the rest of the towns across the area that is now under Lake Dillon. Right next to The Mint are the outlets in Silverthorne stop for ice cream or a Colorado T-shirt and then off to the Dillon Marina for one of the best sunsets you will ever see, with the sun setting over Frisco and the islands you've kayaked and mountain trails you?ve hiked and biked!

Congratulations, you just had a perfect day around Lake Dillon!

Dillon Reservoir Kayak and SUP Launch Sites

Updated 4/142022: The Frisco Bay Marina construction is definitely winding down! Fingers crossed it will be up and running by this summer! I’m not 100% sure if the parking spaces will start to free up, but I would imagine there will be less work traffic using their spaces.

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

Updated on 4/14/22 This area has definitely seen a huge increase in traffic and parking is limited. If you park on the side of the road you will be ticketed!

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 paddleboarders 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 halfway between Dillon and the Keystone Ski resort. The Snake River inlet is a long, narrow small canyon carved out by the Snake River for 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 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 paddleboard 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 powerboats 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 paddleboarding 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 paddleboards can reach!