Dillon Reservoir is a great place to escape the heat this summer
FRISCO — As our beast of an RV meandered down the loop road at Heaton Bay Campground, I hunched over the wheel, looking for our site. Turning a corner, I saw the “Reserved: BERMAN” sign clipped to the post next to Site 16 and a comforting feeling washed over me. We were home. For the night anyway.
My girls and I were on a three-night adventure in a rented, 25-foot 2019 Forest River Sunseeker RV, which we’d picked up in the LazyDays RV lot in Denver that afternoon. In less than 90 minutes, we’d arrived here, at this National Forest campground on the north shore of Dillon Reservoir.
I pulled into the space and my three daughters and I tumbled out to explore. The site had neighboring campers on three sides, but it backed up against a frog-filled drainage with moose signs. The girls disappeared into it to seek materials for their fairy houses — and to collect a menagerie of frogs, worms, and beetles.
Having driven by this campground hundreds of times — I-70 passes quite close to it, though most of the campground is tucked out of sight of the highway — I’d always wondered what it would be like to stay here. I’d assumed the highway would have more impact on our experience, but it was mostly just white noise, easy to forget about. And I did.
This was only our second time in an RV, and so I was very much enjoying the novelty of not having to set up a tent or kitchen. Making a hot dinner was as simple as clicking on the stove and grabbing our kitchen crate with dishes out of the vehicle’s side compartment. We ate at the picnic table surrounded by white-capped mountains — the Gore Range, Tenmile Range and Continental Divide soared in all directions. Then, from below and through some trees, the water’s surface beckoned and we saw that a trail led there straight from our site.
There’s no swimming in the 3,300-acre Dillon Reservoir, but it has nearly 25 miles of shoreline to explore. We teetered out along a skinny, stony peninsula and skipped rocks as the sun set before heading back to the camper. Yes, the highway was just behind those trees and when I remembered to listen for it, I could hear trucks roaring past. But that was the same road which had brought us here so quickly and it was the one that would carry us further west with ease the following morning. For that, and for this temporary home on wheels, I was grateful.
If you go
Lazydays RV has a variety of campers for rent (or purchase) at its Denver and Loveland locations, from small motorhomes that sleep two people, to larger trailers and motorhomes that can accommodate a large family or group of friends (Lazydays.com, from $99/night) Heaton Bay Campground is part of White River National Forest and is open from late May to early October. To get there, take Frisco exit 203 from I-70. Reservations are accepted for Loops A, B, C and E at 877-444-6777 and www.recreation.gov (site fee is $22-$46/night)