Sylvan Lake, and its cabins and campsites, closed for summer 2018 for dam replacement | VailDaily.com

Sylvan Lake, and its cabins and campsites, closed for summer 2018 for dam replacement

Sylvan Lake is a shadow of itself after crews drained the facility to make way for dam construction this summer. The lake, trail, cabins and campsites won't be open this summer while construction is underway.

EAGLE — Locals and visitors who plan a camping trip to Sylvan Lake every summer will have to take a hiatus this year.

The roughly 70-year-old dam at the popular recreation location will be replaced this summer. The lake has been significantly drained, and heavy equipment is already mobilized at the site. The cabins and campsites at the lake, as well as the trail around the lake itself, will be closed all summer.

"The dam at the lake dates back to the 1940s, and it is all earthen. It doesn't meet today's dam standards," said Sylvan Lake State Park Supervisor Michael Wall.

While there wasn't any imminent danger associated with the dam, Wall noted to prevent future failures, the park needed a new dam that meets current standards. The new concrete structure will be covered with topsoil and will look like the previous structure.

Wall said the construction will bring a new amenity to the park.

"We are going to have a really cool foot-traffic bridge to get to the dam. It's going to be one of the most picturesque places at Sylvan Lake," he said. "The backdrop at that bridge will be pretty awesome."

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What is open

While facilities at Sylvan Lake won't be open this summer, other amenities at Sylvan Lake State Park will be. The visitor center and the yurts located east of the lake aren't part of the closure. Wall noted that the yurts have already been booked for weekends through this summer, but there is still availability on weekdays. Additionally, the West Brush Creek Trail, from Bear Gulch to the Meadows Day-Use Area, will be open.

Once it is open for the season, motorists can drive U.S. Forest Service Road 400 past the lake to access national forest lands.

Wall said the dam construction is scheduled for completion this fall and the lake will refill next winter and spring.

Because Sylvan Lake campers usually make reservations before they head up to the site, Wall said people are getting the word that they won't be able to return to their favorite spot this summer.

"We are getting the word out so people can make other plans," he said.

And for those folks who decide to make a spur-of-the-moment trip up Brush Creek Road, multiple signs have been posted warning them about the Sylvan Lake closure.