Top 5 Summit County Sunrise and Sunset Photo Spots

Posted by: admin September 29th, 2015


Let’s face it. Summit County is not dearth of photo opportunities. Everywhere you turn, you are very likely to have a photo op. Whether it be the majestic scenery, wildlife spotting, extreme sports or fall foliage, Summit County is a pictorial calendar all rolled into one. But, one thing that might be missed in all of the photo snapping is the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that occur on an almost daily basis in the Colorado high country. Check out this list of awesome spots to catch a famous Colorado sunrise or sunset.

Lake-Dillon-Colorado-SunsetFrisco Bay

One of the most convenient spots to capture an amazing sunrise, just a short walk from our Frisco bed & breakfast, is the Frisco Peninsula, Marina and the Frisco Bay. The shores of Frisco Bay offer unfettered views of the lake and protected wetlands which mirror the colors of the sky. Often, as an added bonus, foxes, beavers and other wildlife may make a surprise appearance.

Ptarmigan Trailhead

Ptarmigan Trailhead, outside of Silverthorne, is unique in that you can see nearly all of Summit County from its single vantage point. To get to the most picturesque point you must traverse a trail that is steep to start, but you won’t have to go too far to grab the jaw-dropping vista that you are looking for. All the major valleys will be included in your snapshot, including the Snake, Blue and TenMile drainages. Additionally, you’ll be able to see all of Dillon Reservoir and the sky colors are great for both sunrises and sunsets.

Gore-RangeTenderfoot Trail

Just outside of Dillon, the Tenderfoot Trail offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain sunset, especially in mid-summer when the “fire in the sky” sets behind the majestic Gore Range. During the early summer months, the hillside is often covered with blankets of wildflowers, including lupines, and the gnarled old Douglas Fir trees providing for a great foreground to your photos.

Sapphire Point

Sapphire Point might be one of the most popular photo destinations on this list, but for good reason as it shouldn’t be missed on a Summit County sunrise/sunset scavenger hunt. From Sapphire Point you can see far up the Blue River Valley past Breckenridge, and down the Lower Blue for added effect. Both dawn and dusk highlight the rugged TenMile range and you might just get the chance to catch a fuzzy critter when they come out to play.

Green-Mountain-Reservoir-SunsetGreen Mountain Reservoir

If you liked what you saw from Sapphire Point to the north, Green Mountain Reservoir offers amazing views of the Lower Blue River Valley. Because of its relatively lower elevation compared to the rest of spots on this list (7,950 feet), both sunrises and sunsets can be captured in all their glory from this choice spot.

These are five of our favorite spots to capture a sunrise and/or sunset in Summit County, but as always, this is not a complete list. Chances are you are not a professional photographer, and you might just be using your IPhone or other smart phone, so try using the HDR setting on your camera. This will help the digital sensor pick up the foreground details against the bright sky background. Additionally, be sure to tip the camera up and down until the light is balanced between the foreground and sky. Armed with all of this local knowledge

All images courtesy of Shamus Lahman.