The Nature Preserve has two loop trails that offer year-round fun. There is the shorter Meadow Trail Loop and the more scenic Ridge Trail Loop. Both trails are peacefu,l forested escapes and are ideal for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Both trails offer overlooks and benches, offering a chance to rest and savor the views. Bicycles are prohibited. Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed.
Along the trails, you will encounter educational signs about the history of the area, the trees, the wildlife and the native plants found throughout the Nature Preserve. The interpretive signs were designed and written by Dillon Valley Elementary School 5th graders.
To access the Dillon Nature Preserve, use the designated parking lot on the west side of Highway 6 across from the historic Dillon cemetery and west of the Summerwood Subdivision. From the parking area, head west to meet up with the paved recreational path. Follow the path briefly to the peninsula signboard and map. Take the dirt road for .5 miles with Lake Dillon and the Gore Range off to your right; you will be directly across the inlet from the Dillon Marina. At this point, you will leave the dirt road and the trail will take you up a hill through a meadow.
At the top of the hill, take a right onto the Ridge Trail Loop. “Continue up through the forest and reach a junction with the Meadow Trail in another third of a mile, continue straight (west) as the trail rises and falls,” describes Dave Muller. Muller is a Denver resident, accomplished hiker of Colorado’s fourteeners, and author of two books on hiking and cross-country skiing in Colorado.
Muller continues, “Quickly reach another fork and ascend a short distance to the overlook on your left. Peaks 2 and 1 can be seen to the south, southwest over the Snake River Arm of Lake Dillon. Mount Guyot looks impressive to the southeast.”
Once you return from the overlook to the Ridge Loop Trail, you will start to descend with two more overlooks on the left side of the trail. As you hike out of the wooded area, you will once again join up with the Denver Water Board dirt road that will lead you back to the bike path and your car.
The trails at the Dillon Nature Preserve are considered “easy” hiking. They are wonderful for locals who are looking for light exercise, visitors wanting to acclimate to the altitude or for anyone who owns a camera – you will not believe the views.
It is located on the Roberts Tunnel Peninsula located off to the right of Highway 6, just past the lake, if you are traveling toward Keystone.