It could be argued that with all there is to do in and around Dillon, parks as we know them aren’t 100 percent necessary.
But Dillon has great parks — perhaps even phenomenal parks. These include places where you can sit and enter a complete Zen state, set out a picnic for two — or 20, toss a Frisbee, take in the views of the lake with the drool-inducing Tenmile and Gore ranges as your backdrop, walk the lakeshore and get your feet wet in the undeniably crisp mountain water, or grab some eats from a food truck and listen to weekend music.
Did we say take in the views? Any way you put it, Dillon’s parks — with temperatures that are usually 15 degrees cooler than Denver in the summer, and with considerably fewer flying insects as dinner guests — have an unforgettable “ahh” factor. Bring a light jacket if you’re enjoying the parks in the evening, and if you’re using them in daylight hours, don’t forget the sunscreen; the thin air is a mixed blessing.
Here are some of Dillon’s top slices of park paradise:
With its aforementioned views over Lake Dillon, the popular Marina Park is your stepping-off point for Dillon, the lake and the Great Summit County Beyond. Dillon Marina is adjacent to the park, and the 5,000-seat Dillon Amphitheater right there with free summer music on Friday and Saturday nights. It doesn’t get much better. You can park in the Marina Park or Lodgepole Street lots.
Here’s what you get: lakeshore access; picnic tables with shades; a big, updated playground; fishing opportunities; charcoal grills; a rec path; a pocket park that fills you in on Dillon’s quaint and unusual history; and the all-important restrooms.
The park’s pavilion, which is rentable on a first-come basis, offers picnic tables for up to 90 people, charcoal grills, drinking water and electricity. Wedding, anyone? To get your special use permit, call 970-468-2403.
Point Dillon Park & Lawn
If you’re looking for space to get into a game of Ultimate Frisbee or football, or perhaps something a bit more genteel such as badminton or croquet, check out the Point Dillon Park & Lawn.
Located on Lodgepole Street (just before LaBonte Street) and roughly the size of a football field, it’s a scenic spot to picnic and play. You’ve got an expanse of turf with huge mountain views, the rec path and nearby bathrooms at Marina Park.
As the name may imply, Town Park is in the center of town, off Lake Dillon Drive between Buffalo and Tenderfoot streets. It’s also conveniently located next to the Friday Farmers Market. It’s the perfect setup: Make a run through the Farmers Market a bit before noon, score some delicacies, and devour them at the park.
This is the perfect park for all ages, offering a playground for the youngest set, a youth baseball field, four tennis courts, basketball courts that include youth hoops, two bocce courts, horseshoe pits, spots for slacklining, walking paths and a huge, green lawn. You’ve also got shady, treed areas, and don’t worry — the mountain views are still abundant.
You’ve also got picnic tables — some of them shaded — restrooms, and the Town Park Pavilion, which seats up to 50. Think family reunion, office picnic or smallish wedding. To reserve the pavilion: 970-468-2403.
While not a park, per se, the historic Dillon Cemetery is a lovely, contemplative place to stroll and learn a few things about Dillon’s past, including the cemetery’s relocation in 1962, necessitated by the creation of Lake Dillon. It’s located on Cemetery Road, oddly enough, off Highway 6.
Another reason you may want to venture hereabouts is the Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course, which is right next to the cemetery. With it, you’ve got 18 holes with big views.
The Dillon Nature Preserve
The ultimate family-friendly mountain place for summer and winter, the Dillon Nature Preserve is on the Roberts Tunnel Peninsula, across Highway 6 from the Dillon Cemetery.
We’re almost tired of saying it, but you’ve got views here — including those of the slate-colored lake with big Colorado mountains as the backdrop — and you can access the lakeshore here to test your luck with the fish.
There are two pretty easy trails here: the Meadow Trail and the Ridge Trail Loop. You’ve got benches, overlooks and interpretive signs made by local schoolkids. You’ve also got wildflowers; cool, shaded wooded areas; and a super-easy gravel road that is great for slow strolling or running.
Fido is allowed if he is leashed. Bikes, however, are not allowed in the preserve. You’ll be okay, though — bike racks are available at the entrance.