Dillon Reservoir Recpath Loop
The Dillon Reservoir loop ride is a popular 18.7 mile-long route utilizing Summit County’s multi-use paved Recreational Pathway system (Recpath). The views of mountainous terrain, juxtaposed against the smooth, shimmering surface of the Dillon Reservoir make for a scenic and memorable experience.
The route can be ridden in either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise, and both directions require a substantial gain in elevation in order to pass over Swan Mountain. Circumnavigating the reservoir in a clockwise direction allows a gentler climb of Swan Mountain on a separated Recpath away from the roadway and provides a fast, fun descent along Swan Mountain Road between Sapphire Point and State Highway 9. At the bottom of Swan Mountain continue North and West to reach the town of Frisco and cross the Dillon Dam to reach Dillon.
Riding counter-clockwise requires climbing Swan Mountain Road on a relatively steep and narrow shoulder but also provides a lower-speed cruise down the Swan Mountain Recpath without vehicular traffic. From the bottom of Swan Mountain continue to the left, heading North and East, passing through Summit Cove and the Town of Dillon. Follow the path across the Dillon Dam and into Frisco.
If you are travelling to Dillon Reservoir by motor vehicle, several excellent parking options provide easy access to the Dillon Reservoir loop ride. The “Dillon Reservoir Recpath Ride Guide” map includes the most convenient parking and access options. Be advised that parking at the High School and Middle School is subject to School District rules and regulations. Please see the Summit School District website (https://www.summitk12.org/) for more information on parking in these locations. The best option for accessing the Dillon Reservoir loop ride is by riding from your point of origin, which helps to reduce trailhead congestion. The Recpath system provides paved pathway access to Dillon Reservoir from throughout the County, including Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco, Keystone, and beyond.
The pathway is open to all passive uses, including walking, running, in-line skating, roller skiing, biking, and others. Please be courteous to all users with whom you share the Recpath. Remember to slow down in crowded areas, such as busy intersections near the marinas, campgrounds, and town parks. The Recpath is bidirectional and riders should anticipate users traveling in both directions. Stay on the right-hand side of the Recpath whenever possible and avoid crossing the solid yellow centerline, no matter what mode of transportation you choose to utilize. Passing is only permitted where it is safe to do so. Always signal to other users that you are passing by using a bell, calling out “on your left”, or following a similar approach.
As with most outdoor activities in Summit County, remember to carry plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and a raincoat, especially if your ride will extend into the afternoon hours when rain showers and thunderstorms occur frequently. If you are cycling, always wear a helmet and be familiar with your equipment.
Please keep in mind that the mile markers located along the Recpath can be used as a reference in case of an emergency, but they are not an indication of where to begin or end the ride. There are also many places to exit the ride if you do not care to follow the entire loop. Summit County’s free Summit Stage bus system has stops along much of the route and all buses are equipped with bike racks.
No matter how you decide to enjoy the Recpath, always remember to take it easy, relax, and have fun!