Schools are wrapping up the school year, sending energetic children home for the summer. To help prevent your family from going stir-crazy this summer, we put together this list of our favorite local (and mostly free) recreational gems.
Designated as a National Landmark Trail, the 66-mile-long canal offers opportunities for hiking, biking, jogging, light walks and horseback riding. The canal winds through many parks with picnic tables. Recently, six months of community outreach and strategic thinking led by the High Line Canal Conservancy has set the course for plans to preserve and enhance the trail. Access the High Line Canal’s online map before planning your trip.
A short drive past Chatfield Reservoir you will find the trailhead for Waterton Canyon. The canyon offers a 6.5-mile hike to Strontia Springs Dam. It also connects to the Colorado Trail, which continues above the reservoir and all the way down to Durango. This is a great area to get the family out for fishing, bicycling, horseback riding and picnicking. Keep your eyes out for wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer and more than 40 species of birds. For the protection of the bighorn sheep, dogs are not allowed in the canyon, so leave your furry friends at home for this one. As a working facility, there are times when operations and maintenance projects create unsafe conditions for the public, prompting us to close trail access. Waterton Canyon will be closed on weekdays from June 4 to June 15, 2018.
Just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel sits the Town of Dillon, home to Dillon Reservoir, which is overflowing with recreational opportunities. You can hop in a canoe, kayak, sailboat or motorboat and enjoy water activities on the reservoir. If you don’t own a boat, the Dillon and Frisco marinas offer rentals. Fishing is allowed in the reservoir and the Blue River, and enthusiasts can catch arctic char. Dillon includes 344 campsites, and there are trails for hiking and bicycling. Throw in a few rounds of disc golf at the Lake Dillon course for a great way to enjoy the beauty of Summit County in a day, or even a weekend.
Disconnect from electronic distractions and reconnect with nature. Williams Fork Reservoir is just the place to slow down and take in the beauty of Colorado. Free camping is available for tents, trailers and RVs on a first-come, first-served basis. Enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing and hiking by day; campfire songs and stargazing at night.
No matter what level of activity your family enjoys, these locations — and others within our watershed — will provide a summer full of outdoor fun.