Dillon Reservoir



The view west across Dillon Reservoir from US Hwy 6. Dillon Marina is visible on the right. The snowstorm is obscuring the Gore and Tenmile Ranges; however the avalanche scars on Buffalo Mountain are visible, as is the canyon between the two ranges through which Interstate 70 passes.

The view east from Dillon Dam Road. Some of Keystone's ski slopes can be seen, as can Independence Mountain. In the distance, the Continental Divide looms. The photo was taken in late spring after the ice sheet had been thawing for some time.

This high mountain reservoir, with a surface elevation over 9,000ft above sea level, exists to service the population of Denver. Dillon Reservoir is the result of a mile long, 230ft high dam built just past the confluence of the Snake River and Blue River. Some of the water it stores is diverted into a 23 mile tunnel through the continental divide and onto the Front Range, where it accounts for nearly 40% of Denver's Hydration.

The damming of the Blue River meant that the entire town of Dillon would be submerged. Before construction began in the 1960's, a new portion of land was allocated and the townspeople were given the option of relocating their lives, at their own expense. A few buildings from the old town still survive to this day; some were moved to the new town of Dillon while others are scattered about the county.

Evidence of the town beneath the waves can be seen from two spots on Swan Mountain Road. The parking lot in the Snake River Arm is right next to the old road to Dillon, which can be seen clearly descending into the water. Also, at the top of Swan Mountain Road, at Sapphire Point, you can see another old road to Dillon making its way from Farmers Corner  into the lake.

The road which led to the old town of Dillon, now permanently submerged under Dillon Reservoir. The photo shows the Snake River Arm of Dillon Reservoir, with Summerwood Estates on the right and the Gore Range in the distance. Swan Mountain Road, the thoroughfare between Keystone and Breckenridge, climbs the slope on the left.


These articles are my best efforts to share the amazing things I have encountered on my adventure in Summit County. They are a constant work in progress, so check back often for updates and feel free to contact me with questions or comments.