4.2 History of Lake Dillon

Gold Rush! This area got its start with gold, but now it thrives because of world-class recreation opportunities.


  • In 1859, gold was discovered in the headwaters of the Blue River (which flows into the lake) and brought people from around the state and country to the area.


  • In 1890, the Dillon population 133 residents and construction workers.


  • Early 1900's, the idea to dam the Blue River and divert the water to Denver originated.


  • In 1956, Denver Water Board notified the residents and business owners they must leave in order to begin construction on the dam.


  • In 1961-1963, the dam was being constructed.Once construction was completed, the Denver Water Board set aside 172 acres for the new Town of Dillon.


  • Water from the reservoir now flows 23.3 miles in the Harold D. Roverts Tunnel which is located under the continental divide and provides water to the Front Range of Colorado.


  • The Forest works in partnership with the county, local towns and Denver Water to make sure the Forests that support this thriving watershed are healthy and resilient to future wildfire.