Dillon Pinnacles

Round Trip Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 7540 - 7871 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Dillon Pinnacles
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic geology, fishing, camping

The Dillon Pinnacles are an eye catching geological outcrop that stand sentry above the Lake Fork section of the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado. The pinnacles are a breccia composition from mud flows, lava and exploding rocks from volcanoes that were active 30-35 million years ago. The Dillon Pinnacles trail is part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

The Dillon Pinnacles trailhead is located along Highway 50 about 20 miles west of Gunnison, Colorado near what locals refer to as the 'middle bridge' of Blue Mesa Reservoir.

As you leave the parking area look for a side trail that departs from the boat ramp road on the right side.

The easy to hike trail continues as it follows above the shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Blue Mesa is the largest body of water in the state of Colorado. In this picture the water level is pretty low but take it from someone that has fished it a lot, that channel out there is probably still several hundred feet deep. To get an idea of how much water there is drive over the dam and look down into the canyon.

After about 3/4 of a mile the trail begins turning away from the reservoir and heading more toward the pinnacles. If you are wondering where the trail leads look for the small mesa in front of the pinnacles on the left side of the photo.

After 1 mile you are hiking up a draw that is lined with cottonwoods, juniper, oak brush and an occasional ponderosa pine.

The main trail veers off to the left near the head of the draw. That is the one to follow.

The trail climbs a little to a higher series of mesas in front of the pinnacles.

As the trail passes beneath the pinnacles that tower above as if in grand review the trail works its way around the little drainages losing a little elevation as it heads into each one and gaining it back as it leaves on the other side.

The trail has a little loop in it when it reaches the last little mesa.

In one direction you get your close up and personal view of Dillon Pinnacles.

In the other direction you can peer past Blue Mesa Reservoir to the San Juan Mountains with some peaks that tower above 14,000 feet. The one that looks like it has had its summit sheared off is called Uncompahgre Peak. We hiked that one at night in a full moon one year and hiked Wetterhorn Peak the next morning. July and August are the best time of year to hike in that neighborhood.

On past visits we have seen countless deer and elk and on a few occasions bighorn sheep. If you bring a dog with you on this hike be sure to bring a leash. If any wildlife are in the area you will want to be sure to be able to keep your pet under control. A cow elk with a young calf would probably stomp fido to pieces or give it her best shot anyway. The managers of the Curecanti National Recreation Area have done a great job building a nice trail with informational kiosks and benches that give visitors the chance to enjoy a good hike, take in the magnificent scenery and learn a little while they are at it. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.