An Enjoyable Urban Hike Through Denver's Favored Park, Wash Park

An Enjoyable Urban Hike Through Denver's Favored Park, Wash Park

If you were to say, "Where's Washington Park?" to someone in Denver, you'd get a few screwy looks. Although officially named after our first president, locals have abbreviated these two neighborhoods to Wash and West Wash Park. In Wash Park neighborhood is the park, Wash Park, not to be confused with the neighborhood's name of Wash Park.

Two 'Hoods Sharing a Park, Kinda

Spanning from E Alameda to the north, I25 to the south, S Broadway to the west and S University to the east, these two neighborhoods meet in the middle at S Downing St. If Wash Park is the residential and recreational side of the area, then West Wash is the shopping and entertainment section. But both neighborhoods have cottages and mansions, and both claim Wash Park, the park, as their local getaway.

To learn about the history of the lakes, the buildings and the artwork, buy my book Discovering Denver Parks.

Wash Park, the park, invites walkers, runners, skaters and bikers in a rigid and controlled system of lanes and paths. Step in the wrong path at the wrong speed, and the locals will let you know your error. The park has acres and acres of open space for volleyball, sunbathing, frisbee and outdoor fun. Formal gardens welcome you in the spring and summer, along with paddle boarding and kayaking on the lakes. In the wintertime, if it ever gets cold enough again, you can throw on your ice skates or attach your cross country skies for miles of escape. As an interesting note: the lakes used to separate the men from the women when bathing suits were adorned!

South High School Dominates the Southern Edge

South High School commands the southern end of the area. Once known for its "southern charm," it's now known as the one of the country's most beautiful high schools. With ornate frescoes and facades and a giant football field, this school is here to stay and welcomes all who enter.

The Same, But Different Neighborhoods and Associations

To learn about the history of the lakes, the buildings and the artwork, buy my book Discovering Denver Parks.

Although both neighborhoods have many similarities, they do maintain separate homeowners associations. West Wash has been instrumental, over time, in closing roads and protecting the safety and sanctity of its neighborhoods. Wash Park's association (called East Wash Park Neighborhood Association), on the other hand, has hearkened back to its Myrtle Hill roots. Focusing on a progress and preservation theme, the association focuses on making sure the renovations and growth in and around the neighborhood and its park are appropriate.

Some significant things to look for in the park include beautiful artwork, historic gardens, significant buildings, and interesting playgrounds. The urban hike below takes you by the don't-miss items of the neighborhood, including the famous "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" statue.

The Route:

Take this urban hike through the neighborhoods of West Wash Park and Wash Park and the park itself, Wash Park. You'll walk about 3 miles if you do this particular route. Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

Start at 1059 S Gilpin. Walk south to E Mississippi and then take a right at S Race Street. Pass what was once Myrtle School and then became Washington Park School. It's now condominiums and inside, they've maintained some of the original school character. Pass the United Methodist Church, built in 1919, and take a right on E Arizona.

At the corner of Arizona and Franklin, notice the charming roof line and style of homes at the NE corner.

Walk south through the park, exiting the park, crossing E Louisiana and walk east toward the entrance to South High School. Admire the artwork on the entry and the facade.

Walk back to Louisiana, crossing at the light at S Franklin back into the park. Walk around to the west side of the Grasmere Lake. Cross S Downing St into West Wash Park and head north. Admire the wonderful home built by a ship's architect on the west side of the street between Arizona and Tennessee.

To learn about the history of the lakes, the buildings and the artwork, buy my book Discovering Denver Parks.

At Tennessee, take a left. Take a right at S Ogden St. Take a right at E Ohio, then a left onto Franklin again. Cross the street back into the park, then head north on the inner loop toward Smith Lake.

Pass the traditional gardens, which are in full bloom in the spring and summer. Head toward the old Whitehead Farm. This farmhouse and its field are now a maintenance garage for Denver Park and Rec and outdoor facilities for park users.

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Walk toward the SE corner of the lake and notice the small home on the east side of the street and the white statue. The house, originally owned by Eugene Field, was moved here from Colfax. The statue, created by Sculptor Mabel Landrum Torrey, is a marble interpretation of Field's best known poem, "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," and is north of the house.

Walk south through the park, taking a left on E Kentucky. Take a right on S Williams St, take a right on E Tennessee, and then a left on Gilpin, returning back to your start.

Walking Wash Park and Supporting Denver By Foot

If you’ve enjoyed this walk, maybe you’ll enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the free 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you’ll uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.

Finally, please support Denver By Foot by purchasing Chris Englert’s books, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Discovering Denver Parks. Thank you so much!

See you on the trail

~Chris

 


Auraria Denver Urban Hike Through Denver's Historical Beginnings

Auraria Denver Urban Hike Through Denver's Historical Beginnings

auraria urban hiking eatwalklearn

The Auraria neighborhood overlooks the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek. Many folks know Auraria as the home to three college campuses or as the site of the original Denver. But the one common denominator that pulls together this neighborhood would be the rise and fall of political agendas. For this Denver Neighborhood walk, you'll take an urban hike through Auraria, learn about the impact the 1965 flood had on an entire community, get a whiff of social injustice and discover a rich history of the wax and wane of Denver.

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Gold!

Auraria Urban Hiking--Where Denver Politics Began Many folks know Auraria as the home to three college campuses or as the site of the original Denver. But t

Denver's history actually started up river near the Dry Creek and Platte River confluence at what is now Grant Frontier Park in a town originally called Montana City. When the wished-for gold didn't appear, the settlers moved down river to the confluence of the Cherry Creek and Platte River. Here, two brothers from Auraria, Georgia (named after the chemical element for gold, Au), resettled their community, still hoping for the big gold strike. It never came at the confluence, but gold did strike just down river at the confluence of the Clear Creek and the Platte, where you can still pan for gold!

None the less, Auraria sprouted up quickly. It drew the attention of General William Larimer who arrived to town and established the competing town of Denver, named after the Kansas Territorial Governor James W Denver, across from the confluence. Tousling and politicking began. Soon, Auraria gave way to Denver, and Denver became the queen of the Platte River. Legend says that the Auraria coalition lost to the Denver coalition in naming rights over a whiskey and a duel. Thus, Denver overtook Auraria.

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By the way, ever wondered why there are so many five-pointed intersections in Denver? Auraria laid out its streets parallel to the Cherry Creek and Denver laid them out parallel to the Platte River. When the joined, the cattywompus streets came together in five-way intersections.

As you're walking through what is now the Higher Ed Campus, you'll see the old Tivoli Brewing building, which is now a student-run brewery inside the student center. Historically, with people came beer, of course. The Tivoli Brewing company established in 1864 and grew quickly, changing hands many times. After the 1965 flood and employee strike, it closed, only to return later as part of the college campus.

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Why Is there an Historic District in the Middle of a College Campus?

auraria urban hiking eatwalklearn

When the 1965 flood invaded Auraria and destroyed much of the vibrant Hispanic neighborhood that originally settled in this area, Denver leaders gathered to decide how to renovate and restore the destruction. Ultimately politicking their way to building an Higher Education campus to home UC Denver, Metro State, and Community College of Denver, Denver politicians' decisions displaced the remaining Hispanic population and created the 9th Avenue Historic District. Many of the original members of the Hispanic population moved to the Lincoln/La Alma neighborhood. The original church, St Cajetan, still remains on the campus and is now the student center. Students who can claim heritage to the original Hispanic families receive scholarships to any of the Auraria campus school.

In the 9th Avenue Historic District, you'll find many examples of uniquely-Denver architecture, Golda Meir's home, and department offices.

Amusement Parks!

auraria urban hiking eatwalklearn

Shortly following the campus designation, Elitch Gardens moved in (which is moving out in 2021.) Then, not to be outdone by the other large event arenas in the area, the City put in the Pepsi Center in 1999 where Celine Dion opened the venue. Thus by the early 2000s, not much remained of the original neighborhoods but the regional politicking continues.

Neighborhood Boundaries

auraria urban hiking eatwalklearn

The existing Auraria neighborhood boundaries make a  triangle shape of I25, the Cherry Creek and West Colfax.

The Route

To enjoy an urban hike through Auraria and to hit on the top spots mentioned above, you can do a nice 3.5 mile route in and around the campus. Start at the Auraria Library (take public transit to get there, 1100 Lawrence St, Denver, CO 80204.) Head east toward downtown, crossing Speer and catching the ramp down to Cherry Creek. Cross the creek then take a left on the pedestrian path, avoiding the bikes only path on the south side of the creek.

Notice all of the street art along the walls that bank the creek. Funded by the Denver Arts and Venues, these murals change often, so return often. Right before arriving at the confluence of the Platte River and the Cherry Creek, take the ramp up and then across Cherry Creek.

Continue around the bend at the confluence, staying on the east side of the Platte. You'll pass Centennial Gardens, patterned after Gardens of Versailles, that has paths and patterned flowerbeds showcasing native species. You'll then pass Elitch Gardens, an amusement park full of roller coasters, which was once on the outskirts of town and was then relocated to this location in 1995. It's moving again in 2021.

Pass under Bronco bridge, then veer to the left past the small, blue parking building. Cross the railroad tracks and then the light rail tracks, staying on the sidewalk as it bends slightly to the right. You'll arrive back on the Auraria campus. At 8th Street, take a right.

Walk one block, take a left and then take a right on 9th Street. You'll see the 9th Street Historic District in front of you. On the right is the St Cajetan's church. Once the cultural and religious center of the community, it now serves as venue to the universities and community events. Continue down the street, passing Golda Meir's house. Be sure to read the plaques in front of each home, and you'll discover stories of the locals, the architecture and more history of the area.

At the end of the sidewalk, make a u-turn and continue up the other side of 9th Street Historic District, and continue to read the plaques along the way. When you reach the mercantile, take a right on Curtis Street and a left on 10th Street, returning back to where you started at the library.

Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.

Walking Auraria Neighborhood and Supporting Denver By Foot

If you’ve enjoyed this walk, maybe you’ll enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you’ll uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.

Finally, please support Denver By Foot by purchasing Chris Englert’s books, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Discovering Denver Parks. Thank you so much!


52 Denver Urban Hikes--A Week-by-Week Challenge

52 Denver Urban Hikes--A Week-by-Week Challenge

To download this for free, click here.

Want to get to know Denver, get your steps in, and work on your own get-outside goals? Here are 52 urban hikes in Denver listed by the week. Each hike ranges from 3-5 miles and is a loop unless otherwise designated. We hope you'll have a blast getting to know Denver by foot. Please post your pics and tag the with #denverbyfoot so we can see them.

Acclimating to Denver's Altitude

No matter where you hike around Denver, starting inside the Denver city limits is a great way to start acclimating to Denver’s 5280 feet of altitude. Once you feel like you’re not losing your breath every time you move, you might be ready to tackle higher hikes like Three Sisters, Carpenter’s Peak, or even North Table Mountain. For more hikes in and around Denver that will help you adjust, check out these great books about hiking in Denver,  Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Walking Denver’s Neighborhoods. Have fun, enjoy, and breathe!

Looking for more hikes or fewer hikes? Try the Denver By Foot Challenge. For visitors, locals, and transplants alike, these 30 challenges take you to different landmarks, off-the-beaten path treasures, and obscure neighborhoods to learn more about Denver.

52 Hikes 52 Weeks. The Denver By Foot Urban Hiking Calendar

Start the Year with These Winter Urban Hikes

January 1. Start the New Year off where Denver started and higher ed came into vogue. Do the Auraria/Denver loop. Or, kick off the New Year by making new friends and joining a walking group at Walk2Connect's annual New Year's walk. It's free and everyone is invited. Details at www.walk2connect.com.

January 8. Don't have transportation or weather not cooperating? Head down to Confluence Park. You can get there by walking from Union Station or start from REI. Head out and walk this loop.

January 15. New to Denver? Continue getting the lay of the land by walking the Union Station neighborhood. Start at Union Station, then head out on this route.

January 22. Music is a big part of Denver's history. Some think Denver's music scene is at Red Rocks, but it actually has roots in the neighborhood of Whittier. Here, you’ll find the George C Morrison Park. It’s a linear park along Martin Luther King, Jr, Blvd which connects you to other wonderful parks that feature portions of Denver’s African-American history. Along with a chain of three other parks dedicated to African-American history in Denver, you’ll find a sweet retreat into the music scene. Beat it to this loop for an intro to some of the best music of Denver.

If you’ve worked up an appetite walking through Whittier, stop in at the Whittier Cafe and get a Denver Egg Burger. Who knew Denver had a Denver Egg Burger?

January 29. Put on your gear and get out on Segment 8 of the 9 Creeks Loop. It's along the Cherry Creek Trail to the Platte River, and the city does a great job on keeping the trail clear of snow and ice. It's a great walk in the winter. This is a one-way hike; or hike it as an out-n-back for as far was you want to walk.

Ready for a challenge? Although this calendar gives you a week-by-week plan, you should really try the Denver By Foot Challenge. 30 Challenges. Do them with friends or by yourself. For locals, natives, and visitors alike. Filled with history, off-the-beaten path treasures, and secret neighborhoods, you'll really know Denver when you're done. Click here and use code "challenge" for 10% off.

February 7. Before the season gets started out at Red Rocks, go enjoy it at the best time of the year. The winter! Do the Red Rocks Trail Loop and then stop in the Trading Post to see the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and at the Red Rocks Visitor Center. Is Red Rocks in Denver? Well, it's technically in Morrison, but it is a Denver Mountain Park and the City of Denver owns the park.

February 14. Grab your lover, best friend, mom or cousin and share the love. Do Denver's most romantic spots. Get your downloadable map here.

February 21. In a deep chill? Warm up on West Colfax and stop in Lake Steam Baths. You'll also learn a little bit about Paco Sanchez on this 3-mile urban hike.

February 28. Leap day is tomorrow. Take a hike from Frog Hollow Park. Start at the trailhead at 2350 W 8th Ave, Denver, and walk up or down the Platte River from Frog Hollow. A small linear park with a great name, you may not find any frogs here. Or maybe you will? It is a great place to take a break from your ride along the Platte or just to sit and enjoy a sandwich. Once a dumping ground for the highway maintenance teams of the past, it was the original home to Lake Archer which supplied a small amount of drinking water for Denver. Perhaps that’s where the frogs were!

March 7. Ditch your car for the day and head to Sloan's Lake (or drive if you'd like.) Bus 28 is your ticket to ride. Take the bus to the W 26th Ave and Vrain St station. Head west on W 26th toward Winona Ct. Turn left onto W Byron Pl. and follow to the lake. Walk in either direction around the lake to make a loop. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, etc. There are plenty of restrooms around the lake. You may also want to venture into the neighborhood and enjoy this walk.

March 14. Denver has one of the largest St Patrick's Day parades in the U.S. Let's see where parts of it go by walking in the Capitol Hill (CapHill) neighborhood. Have fun on this loop in CapHill.

March 21. Spring is coming. Maybe not soon enough, but let's see if any of the tulips and early bloomers are up and out yet in Washington Park's neighborhood. Walk through WashPark and its fabulous gardens, then go check out the rest of the neighborhood.

March 28. Five Points is a giant neighborhood that includes Curtis Park, Ballpark and RiNo, which aren’t “technically” neighborhoods according to the City of Denver. But for music and art lovers, the center of Five Points is the place to uncover. You’ll find all kinds of music history here, along with fabulous art that pays tribute to the entertainment history of Denver. Have a blast on this loop and stop in Curtis Park Deli for lunch.

Spring Comes in for These Denver Urban Hikes

April 4. If the flowers weren't blooming yet for Wash Park back in March, try again at Inspiration Park. The best time to do this short hike is at sunset. Park at the entrance to the park at 4901 N. Sheridan Blvd., Denver, and enjoy the tulip bed on the east side, then walk through the park to its western edge to watch the amazing sunset over the Clear Creek Valley. On a clear day, you can see Pikes, Longs, and Evans Peaks.

Thanks for doing the weekly urban hikes, would you like to help underwrite it? Although this calendar gives you a week-by-week plan, please buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. 30 Challenges. Do them with friends or by yourself. For locals, natives, and visitors alike. Filled with history, off-the-beaten path treasures, and secret neighborhoods, you'll really know Denver when you're done. Click here and use code "challenge" for 10% off.

April 11. Paid your taxes yet? Go to People's Park, also known as Civic Center Park, and enjoy the right to assemble. Take a hike through the Central Business District neighborhood (now called Upper Downtown or UpDo) on this 3-mile loop.

April 18. Spring has sprung. Do you have your puffer and flip flops on? Before they take down the Boneyard at Ruby Hill where you can go snowboarding for free, take a walk through the Ruby Hill neighborhood on this 3-mile loop along the Sanderson Gulch.

April 25. How about a good book? Wander through the Stapleton Northfield neighborhood on their Little Free Library Trail. It's a 3-5 mile loop, depending on how many libraries you want to peruse.

Thank you for getting to know Denver by foot. Please support us by clicking on our advertisements, buying the Denver By Foot Challenge, and visiting Amazon for our books.

May 2. For another car-free day, do a one-way, five-mile hike along the Sand Creek Greenway.

For a little bit different adventure, walk the Sand Creek Greenway between the Central Park Station and the Dahlia Street Trailhead. You’ll wander along the Sand Creek, under two major interstates, past a waterfall, and along a quiet greenway where you won’t ever hear or see I270 right next to you. It’s a good contemplative walk or even a place to catch some invertebrates in the water. Be sure to bring binoculars to spy the bird life in the reeds and along the creek bank for this 4-mile wilderness hike in the city.

The A Train is your ticket to ride. Take it to the Central Park Station. From there you have about a 5-minute walk to the trailhead. Walk east along the sidewalk that parallels the train tracks. You’ll cross the old Smith Road bridge that is closed to car traffic. At the east end of the bridge, follow the footpath down the bank. When you reach the concrete tail at the bottom of the footpath, you’ll be on the Sand Creek Greenway. The trailhead starts here and immediately goes north, then west, under the train tracks. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, etc. There are no facilities here. There is a restroom about halfway at the Commerce City Wetland Park. At the Dahlia St. trailhead, you can catch bus 40 which is a 4-minute walk to the Eudora St and 56t St Station.

May 9. Got your bottle of water with you? Did you know that water probably comes from Denver's Marston Lake, which is fed from the Platte River. Go walk the Marston neighborhood and take a gander at Marston Lake.

May 16. Now is the perfect time to get out to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. Filled with bison, deer, ferrets, prairie dogs, hawks, eagles, and over 100 other species, you can spend the day here on the old Army grounds. Stop in the Visitors Center first, then walk this 3-5 mile loop around its lakes.

May 23. Let's give thanks to our Veterans on the upcoming Memorial Day. Take a walk in the Fort Logan Neighborhood and visit Fort Logan National Cemetery on this 3.5-mile loop. Bring a flag with you to decorate a grave.

May 30. School's out for the summer! Let's review some history and understand how Denver was the center of mandatory school busing. The lawsuits started here. Have a walk through Park Hill and get a feel for how segregation played out in Denver Public Schools on this 3-mile loop.

June 6. Jefferson Park neighborhood sits in the shadow of the more popular Highlands. But it's a fun place to discover on this 3-mile urban hike past old homes and great downtown views.

June 13. It's the anniversary of Denver's 1965 flood that took out most the bridges over the Platte River in downtown Denver. Let's remember it by walking the Athmar Park neighborhood to see the flood line on the church and the historic mosaic picnic tables that recall the flood in art form on this 3-mile loop.

Ready for a challenge? Although this calendar gives you a week-by-week plan, you should really try the Denver By Foot Challenge. 30 Challenges. Do them with friends or by yourself. For locals, natives, and visitors alike. Filled with history, off-the-beaten path treasures, and secret neighborhoods, you'll really know Denver when you're done. Click here and use code "challenge" for 10% off.

June 20. The summer solstice is coming. Here's your best summer solstice hike.

June 27. Got kids in our life? Ready for a bit of fun, urban hiking, and nature play? Start at Ruby Hill Park. Depending on the age of your kids, pick the right playground for them to warm up and get started practicing their outdoor voices. Then tie their shoes and urban hike by going west on Florida Ave. Cross over the train tracks and S Platte River Drive, then loop down to the Platte River Trail to go south along the river. Follow on the trail to the south for just about a mile and you’ll reach the super fun Grant Frontier Village Park. Here kids can practice their gold mining, play outdoor musical theater, and hunt for crawdads in the oxbow through the park. They can even drive a wagon! When you’re ready, follow your footsteps back to Ruby Hill Park for just over 2 miles of walking and thousands of steps of playing. Trailhead: 1200 W Florida Ave, Denver, CO

It's Not too Hot for These Summer Urban Hikes in Denver

July 4. It's the 4th. Get to City Park and celebrate. Hike the lakes at City Park.

July 11. Hot? Hike from Cheesman Park to Wash Park in the shade.

July 18. Still hot? Do the Dry Gulch Lollipop loop.

Thank you for getting to know Denver by foot. Please support us by clicking on our advertisements, buying the Denver By Foot Challenge, and visiting Amazon for our books.

July 25. It's not getting any cooler, but this urban walk will help. Enjoy Bible Park.

August 1. In a few weeks, it will be cooler. But probably not today. Cool off on First Creek at DEN trail.

August 8. The Platte River will help you keep cool on this urban hike downtown that starts and finishes with ice cream in Union Station.

August 15. In the Berkeley neighborhood, which originally watered the alfalfa of John Walker’s farm, you’ll find Berkeley Lake in Berkeley Park. Walk around the lake or the neighborhood.

August 22. School starts soon. In the spirit of walking kids to school, let's take on the 1-mile challenge today. You can do it in your neighborhood or a friend's. What will you discover?

August 29. With the kids back in school, do some adulting in Highland. This area, known collectively as Highlands, has great old homes, delicious ice cream, and great places to stop and eat, drink or shop along this 4-mile loop.

September 5. Let's give a shout out to the Unions for the contributions they've made to fair labor laws. Lincoln Park, home to the Laborers International Union, Santa Fe Art District, The Buckhorn, and the Iron Workers Union, has a fascinating history that is told by walking through the Lincoln Park/La Alma Neighborhood on this 3.5-mile loop.

September 12. PT Barnum never lived in Denver. But don't tell the neighors in Barnum! Take this meander though the Barnum neighborhood for some good circus-y fun.

September 19. The old Stapleton airport's runways still exist. See them on this loop through Stapleton's Central Park. You'll find the trail just like you did on May 2, but this time, when you get to the trailhead under Smith Road, you'll go to the left (away from the train tracks.)

September 26. The High Line Canal, Denver's 71-mile urban trail, runs from just south of DIA to Waterton Canyon. Major Denver portions are in Green Valley Ranch, behind Windsor Gardens and through Cherry Creek. In Aurora on the DeLaney Urban Farm portion, you will see prairie dogs, hawks, and maybe a deer or two. Head further south to Windsor Gardens, and you can reflect on the famous Denverites buried in Fairmount Cemetery. If you want a complete cottonwood tunnel, you’ll find it between Centennial and Cherry Hills.

Denver's portions are segments 10 and 14. If you want to enjoy a smorgasbord of delicious wild fruits on the High Line Canal Trail, get yourself hiking especially between mile markers 16-25 (from Fly n B Ranch to Julia deKoevend Park, segments 5, 6, 7.) You’ll also find a plethora of wild apples and plums. Bon appetite!

We're grateful you're enjoying these 52 urban hikes. Support us by also doing the Denver By Foot Challenge. 30 Challenges. Do them with friends or by yourself. For locals, natives, and visitors alike. Filled with history, off-the-beaten path treasures, and secret neighborhoods, you'll really know Denver when you're done. Click here and use code "challenge" for 10% off.

Fall Might Be the Best Time for These Denver Urban Hikes

October 3. Fall is the perfect time to put lots of steps in along the Platte River, where you'll see some great fall color. This one-way hike is about 5 miles, or do it as an out-n-back for as long as you want. Here, on the banks of the Platte, you'll find a flush of cottonwood brilliance. If you make it all the way to Carpio Sanguinette Park (previously Northside Park) you’ll be treated to wonderful sayings of optimism embedded in the concrete paths within the park. Head out on the 9 Creeks Loop on Segment 1.

October 10. To get another flush of grassy fall color, you don’t have to travel far. Check out this urban hike in Lowry for some great fall color via the grassy plains. It’s a great place to hear smaller song birds, too. A great time to do this hike is at dusk. The sun will be setting, birds will be fluttering, and you can get a high vantage point at low altitude via the Kelly Dam. You'll do a 3.5-mile loop.

October 17. Wondering what's going on with the I-70 expansion? It's impacting the neighborhoods below it, which are some of the most fascinating in Denver. Learn about Elyria and Swansea and meander on this 2.5-mile loop through the neighborhood, getting a first-hand experience of the interstate's impact. (Please note that due to construction, you may need to veer from this route.)

October 24. Let's tromp through Regis neighborhood's college campus,  on this loop that includes Regis University.

October 31. Happy Halloween. Rumor has it that one of the best houses to see decorated is the Montclair Mansion in Montclair neighborhood. Go check it out while enjoying this east neighborhood full of fabulous turn-of-the-century homes.

November 7. The Lowry neighborhood used to be an old Air Force base, teaching aerial photography. Its aviation history remains. Do this loop in Lowry to learn a bit about President Eisenhower's stay and to see what might be the world's largest sundial.

November 14. Last week, you said hi to Dwight Eisenhower. This week, meet his Denver-based wife, Mamie. Walk the University Hills/Wellshire neighborhood and visit Mamie D Eisenhower Park on this 3.75-mile loop.

November 21. Thanksgiving is upon us. Do you have family coming in town? Help them acclimate to the altitude, then go show off Denver. Arrive at Union Station. Walk out its front door and up 17th Street to the Brown Palace, then walk back down the 16th Street Mall back to Union Station. Add in a bit extra by walking over to the Capitol from Brown Palace and show off our 5280' markers on the Capitol steps.

Buy Experiences, not Gifts. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, please support Denver By Foot and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. 30 Challenges. Do them with friends or by yourself. For locals, natives, and visitors alike. Filled with history, off-the-beaten path treasures, and secret neighborhoods, you'll really know Denver when you're done. Click here and use code "challenge" for 10% off.

November 28. Hilltop tops Denve as its highest neighborhood and has a great Jewish history. Visit this plush neighborhood and its fun Cranmar Park with its historic sun dial and mountain range diorama on this 3.5-mile loop.

Belcaro urban hiking eatwalklearn

December 5. The Country Club Neighborhood has a giant mansion and custom homes. They decorate their homes for show. Take a 3-mile loop hike through the 'hood, get into the holiday mood and learn why there's no 2nd Avenue through Country Club.

December 12. The Belcaro Neighborhood also technically includes Bonnie Brae, according to the City of Denver. Whether you agree or not, you will admit that there's some gorgeously decorated houses here, including another castle. Take a 3-mile loop hike through these two icons and get in the holiday mood.

December 19. Feeling a little stressed about the holidays? Escape onto segment 7 of the 9 Creeks Loop. You'll pass a bevy of Sister City Parks and enjoy some quiet time on the Cherry Creek. This is a one-way, 5-mile hike. Feel free to turn it into an out-n-back or grab a Lyft at the end to get back to your start.

December 26. Congratulations. You've walked 52 urban hikes in Denver, counting today. To finish up this adventure, enjoy the Hale neighborhood on this 3-mile loop through a quickly changing area of central Denver.

Thank you for getting to know Denver by foot. Please support us by clicking on our advertisements, buying the Denver By Foot Challenge, and visiting Amazon for our books.


Denver Hikes for New Visitors

Denver Hikes for Visitors

*note: A version of this article first appeared as a Guest Post at www.ottsworld.com.

New to Denver or just visiting?

Does hiking in 10,000 feet of elevation worry you? What about just 5280 feet, like Denver's Mile High?

A little freaked out about the altitude and all of the suggestions to go up in the mountains to hike? Want to get outside on a local hike first that’s a bit more practical for first-time visitors to Denver?

We get it. Adjusting to the Denver altitude is no joke, especially if you're visiting from Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago or New York. Sea level may be fun for water sports and beach breaks, but when coming to the mile-high city from sea level, it can be a bit of a challenge.

Be like locals. Carry water. Everywhere.

You’ll want to take it easy for the first few days. Drink lots of water and gets lots of sleep. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you and guzzle it as often as you can stand. As for hiking, you’ll need to follow similar advice.

Acclimating to Denver Hiking

The best way to enjoy higher altitude hiking up in Conifer, Vail or Rocky Mountain National Park is to start acclimating in Denver first. Locals will tell you there are some great hikes right here in Denver to get you started.

We give you three.

One in a park, one on a trail, and one in a neighborhood.

You pick the adventure you want, or all three! Walking these three urban hikes will help you adjust to altitude at 5280 feet and get you ready for the higher stuff up in the front range (which includes Golden, Boulder, Breckenridge and beyond.

Hiking in Denver’s City Park

If you've warmed up your legs in Union Station Neighborhood in LoDo (in the hike below), head on over to Denver's largest park, City Park. This giant park, filled with a zoo and a nature & science museum, enjoys a lake for paddle boating, fishing, and SUP'ing, tennis courts, rose gardens, historic monuments, and outdoor sculpture.

But its best feature is the flat 5280 trail that meanders on soft and hard surfaces through the park for a good 5K, or 3.1 miles. You can hop on the path and make a giant loop through the park, enjoying the oaks, pines, elms, and maples while watching kids play, locals fish, and teens talk.  Some of Denver’s best monuments are in the park; be sure to take a pensive moment at the Martin Luther King, Jr monument and then giggle some at the Six Legs statue. After you’ve enjoyed the loop, rent a paddle boat to peddle out to the pelican rookery or drop into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

The 5280 trail is easy to find. Park at the Martin Luther King Jr statue in City Park. The trail circles the west side of the monument. Catch it going south around Ferril Lake and stay on the marked trail throughout the park.

Hiking Denver’s Historic Trails

Had your fill of people and buildings and just want to get on a trail? The city of Denver is loaded with them. Four main trails circle the city, including the Platte River Trail, the Sand Creek Greenway, the Cherry Creek Trail and the granddaddy of them all, High Line Canal Trail (a whopping 71-miler!) We love all of our trails for so many reasons from having wilderness in the city to an urban meander through the treasures of metro Denver. And what’s great? You can hike them year round.

If you walked the Union Station Neighborhood adventure below, you've stepped on to the Platte River Trail and the Cherry Creek Trail already. If you're really ambitious, you can loop all the trails together and do the 42-mile, 9 Creeks Loop.

But if you've only got an afternoon, we recommend several segments of the High Line Canal in the Fall. You'll like segments 6, 7, 8. These flat segments on soft surface range from 6-8 miles and will bring you through towering cottonwoods, along historic preserves, and next to amazing front range views. Yes, these hikes are one-way, but feel free to do them as round-trips, doubling your mileage, or call a Lyft and meet a local to get back to your trailhead.

Hiking Denver’s Union Station Neighborhood

One of Denver's most fun neighborhoods to walk through which will keep you distracted from your higher-altitude symptoms like thirst, shortness of breath and fatigue is right in the center of town. If you took the A Train from Denver International Airport to downtown, you've already been there.

We're talking Union Station Neighborhood! This fun area that the locals sometimes refer to as "LoDo" (lower Denver) will have you walking on sidewalks and paved trails through history, by art, and along the river. What could be more fun? Plus, if you get tired, there are plenty of places to grab a drink or a bite as you settle into your higher-altitude rhythms (see Sherry Ott’s review of Tupelo Honey for one of these great places to eat in Denver.) See below for the exact turn-by-turn directions you'll follow to walk Union Station Neighborhood.

Acclimate in Denver First

No matter where you hike around Denver, starting inside the Denver city limits is a great way to start acclimating to Denver’s 5280 feet of altitude. Once you feel like you’re not losing your breath every time you move, you might be ready to tackle higher hikes like Three Sisters, Carpenter’s Peak, or even North Table Mountain. For more hikes in and around Denver that will help you adjust, check out these great books about hiking in Denver,  Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Walking Denver’s Neighborhoods . Have fun, enjoy, and breathe!

Turn-by-turn Directions for Union Station Neighborhood (and map!)

Turn-by-turn Directions: Start inside Union Station at 1701 Wynkoop St. Tour the station, making sure you go upstairs to the lounge and look east up 17th St. Admire the chandeliers from the second floor, go to the basement and see the old bathrooms, and generally just explore the station.

When you’re ready, exit the rear of the station, go to the right, and take the left up the stairs over the train tracks. Exit the stairs onto 18th St, heading westerly and crossing Wewatta and Chestnut.

Take the second set of stairs over the freight rail tracks, exiting onto 18th and crossing Bassett. At Little Raven, take a left.

Walk through the park toward the south, following the trails and enjoying the Platte River. Work your way back toward Little Raven to use the pedestrian bridge, also known as Millennial Bridge. Play in the large red reed sculpture at the foot of the steps, then go up the steps, crossing back over the tracks and down to 16th Street.

Take a right on  Chestnut Pl and then a right on Delgany. Cross 15th St and pass the Museum of Contemporary Art and its Toxic Schizophrenia piece. Right before Cherry Creek take a left, walking easterly above the Creek.

Continue along the Creek, taking the ramp down to the Creek. At Larimer, take the ramp back up to 15th Street, and continue on Larimer toward 16th St.

Walk through historic Larimer Square. There are various plaques on the buildings telling historical moments that you may enjoy. Continue on Larimer to 16th St, take a left.

Walk along 16th St to Blake St and take a right. Take a left on 17th, enjoying the views of Union Station. You’ll pass the Oxford Hotel. If you’re in the mood, visit the lobby of the Oxford to enjoy their fabulous western art collection, and peek into the Cruise room to see their Art Deco wall sconces.

Leave the Oxford, walking down the alley between Wynkoop and Wazee toward 20th. At 20th, approach the entry to the Ballfield to find the Evolution of the Ball sculpture (this area is temporarily under construction and the sculpture may not be accessible.). Once you’ve enjoyed the artwork, turn toward Wynkoop.

Walk along Wynkoop, passing the original Union Station on the right and Wynkoop Brewery, founded by Governor Hickenlooper before he was Governor, on your left. Return back to Union Station where you started. Get a delicious Beet Burger at Next Door!

~See you on the trail,

Chris

 

Chris Englert, the Walking Traveler and Denver's Urban Hiker, believes walking is the platform for life. Volunteered into wanderlusting at age 5, she's since traveled all 50 US states and 52 countries. Chris shares her love of walking while traveling via blogs, books, and presentations. A natural storyteller, she invites you along as she explores the world, one walk at a time. Follow Chris' urban hikes in Denver at @DenverByFoot at her blog at www.DenverByFoot.com. Follow Chris' world travel and her 50 Hikes 50 States Project at @EatWalkLearn, at her blog at www.EatWalkLearn.com. Watch Chris on YouTube.

Find more hiking recommendations in Chris' books, Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Walking Denver's Neighborhoods on Amazon. And take her Denver By Foot Challenge! 30 Challenges to discover or rediscover Denver. Click here for more details.


The Walk Your Kid to School 1-mile Radius Challenge

The Walk Your Kid to School 1-mile Radius Challenge

With school starting and the temperatures in Denver pleasant, why not do two things to start the school year as we all head back to school? And with National Walk to School Day just around the corner, it's the perfect time to give a walk to school a try! Your kids are ready! Are you?

First, walk your kids or grandkids to school. Imagine the conversations you could have if you had a few minutes with your kids that were uninterrupted by cell phones, video games, toys, or other distractions. What might your kid say to you that can't be said at the dinner table or from the back seat of your car?

Second, take the 1-mile radius challenge. You'll get the chance to see your neighborhood from your kids' point of view. Maybe you'll discover a new favorite place, or perhaps your kid will share her secret go-to place that she thinks she only knows about?

Wake Up and Walk

Wouldn't it feel great to get a few steps in with your kid before school started? It doesn't take that long to walk. There are many research studies that show that walking your kid to school is not only quicker than driving, but it improves your relationship, reduces pollution around the school, and creates a better sense of community.

Set that alarm just a few minutes earlier, and you can probably find the time you need to walk your kid to school. Shoot, it might even be faster than driving to the kiss n go lane, waiting in line to drop, dropping, and driving away. Plus, your kids will start to learn the ritual of a morning walk. It's the morning quiet among the chaos that just might settle them into a better day with better attention.

Or, if you can't afford the extra few minutes to walk your kid, how about at least parking a few blocks away and walking with your child the last few blocks rather than idling in the kiss n go lane? Even a few blocks are worthwhile. Plus, you'll be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Need some evidence that walking your kid to school is good for you and your kid?

Read 5 Reasons to Walk Your Kid to School. The first reason is reason enough!

Wondering if your kid is old enough to walk alone?

Read Walking and Biking to School. You'll be surprised at how ready they are and at how young!

How should your kid walk to school?

Get a buddy and read Should Your Child Walk to School? Maybe you will find your own buddy as your kid finds hers!

Is the route safe to school?

Read Safe Routes to School. Sadly, not all routes are safe, but there are great resources available to make your school route safer.

Got anxious kids?

Read Anxious Kids? Let Them Walk to School. Oh, the science!

Take the 1-mile Radius Challenge

Walking to school benefits you, your family, and your community. It reduces pollution around schools, opens up the neighborhood, and increases overall happiness for everyone. Granted, you may have to put on an extra layer of clothes, find a lost glove, or tie a different shoelace, but wouldn't you have to do that anyway sometime in the day?

So once you've tackled the challenge of walking to school, try doing it on Mondays and Fridays. Then add in Wednesday. And soon enough, you'll be walking to school five days a week. Perhaps you'll even find the time to start walking your kids home from school, too. Could you actually achieve the impossible? Walk to and fro every day of the week?

Finally, if you've gotten the itch to walk to school, there are other locations within a mile or two of your house where you can also walk. Expand your walking world beyond the few blocks to school and take the 1-mile radius walking challenge (click for instructions.)

In the 1-mile walking challenge, you turn your neighborhood into your own urban hiking jungle. Within that jungle, you might find steps, bridges, streams, highways, streets, and sidewalks. Along the way is your mailbox. Next to that might be a post office.

Or a grocery store. Dentist. Doctor. Friend. Family. Vet.

Perhaps you might even find a new favorite spot on top of a hill or next to a creek where you can take a deep breath and relax from your day? Would having just five minutes of me time change your attitude for your next meeting or business call?

Crazier yet, perhaps you take on the 1-mile challenge on the walk to get your kids from school? Or maybe you get them and together, you take the challenge with them. Is the ice cream store within a mile? the tutor? the after-school activity?

So, for this fall, as the weather turns and we all get back into our regular schedules, how about we all take the time to change one habit or one behavior? Let's pick walking more as the one change that benefits everyone. You'll get some exercise, your kids will get some quality time with you, the community will open up and you'll see and hear things you miss in the car, and traffic and pollution will reduce near your kids' school. After all, isn't that how we're all trying to improve the world in our own little ways? One person, one hug, one wave at a time?

I hope you'll discover your neighborhood by foot, and perhaps you'll post some great shots of you walking with your kids to or/and from school. Or perhaps you'll post a few shots of you enjoying the 1-mile challenge, in a zen pose, in your favorite secret hide-a-way in your neighborhood. If you do, please be sure to tag #denverbyfoot so I can see them!

Discover your neighborhood by foot.

Let me know how it goes!

~Chris