Next to Sparkling Dillon Reservoir in the Majestic Rocky Mountains, Scenic Dillon Has a Laid Back Mountain Vibe
Cost of Living: Above the National Average
Nearly two miles above sea level and tucked beneath deep blue skies, Dillon sits along Interstate 70 in north central Colorado's majestic Rocky Mountains. It hugs 3,200-acre Dillon Reservoir, also known as Lake Dillon, and started out in the late-1800s as a stagestop.
In the 1950s, Denver Water, the public utility that supplies water to Denver's residents, flooded Dillon and the surrounding valley to make way for Dillon Reservoir, Denver's newest water supply. Dillon residents were relocated to an area about a mile from the original town, creating a new lakeside community.
Soon Dillon began drawing outdoor enthusiasts interested activities other than skiing. Boating, fishing and other similar pursuits began to take hold, making Dillon a destination stop in and of itself. A few years laster, it morphed into a stopping place for outdoor adventurers on their way to and from neighboring world-class ski resorts, including Brekenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain. It remains so today.
Population, Median Age, Cost of Living, Etc.
Today, about 1,050 people call this little mountain hamlet home. The median age is 47, and nearly 50% of locals hold at least a four year college degree. Politics lean to the left. The crime rate meets the national average. The cost of living 64% above the national average.
The median home price is about $775,000, down about 5% since last year, and real estate includes everything from modest bungalows and hillside condos to glorious mountain custom homes with expansive views of incredibly blue water and tall mountain peaks. This is not a place to live if money is sparse.
Way of Life
Like many Colorado mountains towns, Dillon is a laid back but prosperous place, with big box stores in very tasteful brick commercial buildings and road medians nicely landscaped and well-tended.
Recreation and Amenities
Outdoor recreation is a way of life in this area. When not skiing, locals are snow shoeing and snow mobiling in the winter and camping, fishing and hiking in the summer. The Dillon Marina is a full-service marina and offers boat and kayak rentals, sailing lessons and lakeside dining.
Locals enjoy a number of other restaurants, too, including the Dillon Dam Brewery (sports bar), Lili's Bistro (Mexican cuisine) and Bistro North (great views).
There is no public library, but the neighboring town of Silverthorne has a small one.
The Dillon Health Center opened in 2021 and has 56 beds. It brings together a variety of practices to provide cancer care, orthopedic surgery and much more. Larger hospitals are in Denver, about two hours away via I-70.
Dillon does not have a local bus system but the Summit Stage runs from town to neighboring Frisco, Silverthorne and to ski areas Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone. To avoid some I-70 traffic during ski season, many skiiers drive to Dillon, park and take a shuttle bus to one of the ski areas.
Festivals and Events
Locals also enjoy a fun selection of festivals, activities and events. The farmers' market is open from June through September and is the spot for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, jams, jellies, honey, yoga, music and more. The town hosts weekly swing and country dance nights and free weekend concerts at the Dillon Amphitheater.
The area receives an average of 160 inches of snow each year, and winter temperatures can dip into the teens and 20s. Summers are beautiful, with temperatures in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The sky is usually a deep blue, even in winter as the clouds often break soon after the snow falls.
Retirement in Dillon has some drawbacks. Even though it is along Interstate 70, it is remote, and the highway sometimes closes in winter if snowfall is heavy or too many rocks fall on the highway. Shopping is somewhat limited, but nearby towns usually have items that Dillon does not.
Is Dillon a Good Place to Live and Retire?
Even with these drawbacks, Dillon's beautiful setting, casual way of life and excellent outdoor recreation make it worth a look at retirement time.
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