John Sellers has worked at Loveland, Colorado, for nine years and he, well, loves it. He commutes over daily through the Eisenhower tunnel from nearby Dillon–in the winter with his skis and board and come summer with his bike and other toys. “I love it all,” he says. “Skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and anything that gets me outside exploring the mountains. And this is a great place to do it. There’s plenty of sunshine, cool mountain temps, and infinite opportunities to get outside and explore the mountains, right at the base of the Continental Divide.”
Here are a few of his favorite things about Loveland:
Place to mountain bike: Summit County. Keystone, Breckenridge, and Frisco have tons of trails for every ability level. If you’re looking for a short after-work ride, want to bomb down some lift-served terrain, or link up different trails for a long trek, the Summit County trail system has you covered. Check out West Ridge near Keystone for a great loop with a moderate climb and one of the best downhill runs in the county.
Place to road ride: Summit County has an extensive recreation path system around Lake Dillon, connecting Breckenridge, Frisco, Keystone, Dillon, and Copper Mountain and extending to the west over Vail Pass (10,662 feet). The paved path offers amazing views and no motorized vehicles. You can also test your endurance and lungs on routes nearing 12,000 feet on Freemont Pass, Hoosier Pass, Guanella Pass, and Loveland Pass. While all are on roads, the shoulders are adequate and gravel-free throughout the summer.
Place to ride with the family: The rec path between Frisco and Dillon has minimal elevation change over gentle rolling hills through campgrounds along Lake Dillon. I highly recommend it for families. The path from Frisco to Breckenridge has a slight uphill grade but offers a pleasant downhill coast back into town. Numerous companies also offer transportation to the top of Vail Pass or Breckenridge, letting you enjoy the downhill without the up.
Place to paddle (flatwater): Lake Dillon. It’s great for kayaking, canoeing, rowing, windsurfing, sailing, and motor boating, and now allows standup paddling as well. It has spectacular views of the Gore and Ten Mile Range, as well as multiple islands to explore and have picnics on. A bike park encircles most of the lake, and there are also a lot of restaurants and shops to stop at.
Place to paddle (whitewater): Clear Creek offers whitewater Class III-V over a stretch of 30 miles starting at the whitewater play park in Dumont and going all the way to Golden’s whitewater play park. Several outfitters offer tours on all stretches for beginners to experts. Summit County offers more scenic whitewater options on the Gold Medal fishing waters of the Blue River. Just north of Summit County is the Colorado River, which is one of the more popular options for whitewater–both on Class V Gore Canyon, and the Class I-II Pumphouse-to-State Bridge section.
Place to paddle with the family: Outfitters on Clear Creek offer family whitewater trips, but Lake Dillon is more popular for flatwater family trips and the Colorado River for whitewater. Outfitters in Summit County offer trips in all the surrounding areas.
Place to re-fuel and grab a beer: The Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs is the choice in Clear Creek County for beers, pub food, and a little mining history. In Summit County, the Tiki Bar (Pug Ryans) on the east side of Lake Dillon offers more of an adult atmosphere and spectacular views. On the west side of the lake in Frisco, the Marina Island Grill offers drinks and food in a great setting with a playground for the kids. The Dillon Dam Brewery also offers great food and award-winning brews and is a convenient place for adventurers to visit on their way through Summit County.
Photos courtesy Loveland, Sellers