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

 


Urban Hiking though Denver's Race Barrier in Whittier and Skyland

Urban Hiking through Denver's Race Barrier in Whittier and Skyland

Tucked just east of Five Points is a pair of neighborhoods people often overlook while cruising Martin Luther King Blvd. But that's a shame; Whittier and Skyland have something to say in which all Denverites should listen. Walking these two neighborhoods together is imperative; their history is intertwined in a story of integration. Race Street, particularly, runs through the middle of these two neighborhoods and historically marked Denver's color barrier. Together, these neighborhoods tell the story of remembering. Let's start the story with Whittier.

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Where Is Whittier?

Whittier sits with 23rd Avenue to the south, Martin Luther King Boulevard (32nd) to the north, Downing St. to the west and York St. to the east. Named after John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), an abolitionist poet and a founding member of the American Republican political party, the neighborhood lives and breathes history that melts over from Five Points, jazz music, and Denver's integration story.

The Color Line

While walking the neighborhood, you'll learn many things, including these four interesting treasures. Race St was the historical color line of Denver. In order to recall the history, you can find scant traces of an art project called the Whittier Alley Loop project. from 2015. This project told the story of integration and race through murals, artwork, and stories painted into the street. Although almost completely gone, the Whittier Alley Loop project can still be seen with careful eyes and keen sight.

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The First Female Millionaire and Hair

Along the short loop, you'll learn about treasure number two. Whittier was home to Madam CJ Walker's African-American hair care business. She became the first self-made, female, African-American millionaire, influencing beauty all over the US, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Knocking door to door, she schlepped hair tonic and solutions to an audience who loved her. Although her business didn't stay in Denver, her impact did.

Buffalo Bill's Final Wish

You may know that Buffalo Bill's final wish was to be buried on Lookout Mountain. But did you know he made that wish from right here in Whittier? Treasure number three is an interesting piece of local history as well--the home where Buffalo Bill Cody died! Pony Express rider, war veteran, bison killer and sideshow salesman, the place where he died still remains. Look for his sister's home in the 2900 block of Lafayette. The metal bison in the yard gives him away.

The Local Music Teacher and Political Guru

Morrison Park, named after George C Morrison who is known as the godfather of jazz, centers Whittier as a fourth treasure. Make sure to read the lovely signage and memorial to him, which links him to the historic Five Points jazz scene. He also held political court of many influencers who knew the importance of stopping in to see a community leader.

Jumping to the Skyland

Skyland, more commonly known as North City Park Neighborhood, is bordered by Martin Luther King Boulevard to the north, East 23rd Avenue to the south, Colorado Boulevard to the east and York Street to the west, sitting just east of Whittier and includes the City Park golf course (which currently is closed and is future is uncertain.)

Skyland's neighborhood association, North City Park Civic Association, has been around almost 40 years, and they've posted signs at the neighborhood's entries. Although Skyland doesn't have the more exciting history that Whittier has, it, too has contributed to the area's wax and wane with Five Points and Whittier. While walking in Skyland,, you'll find the typical mix of older homes and 1940s homes, but the 1940s dominate the area. It also includes the historically denoted home of Denver's first black architect (who was blind in one eye!) at 2600 Milwaukee St.

Walking the two neighborhoods together will help you see how the "color line" affected both areas. You'll also see the mix of history, the development of some beautiful pocket parks, and an attempt to keep history alive. This 3.3-mile walk keep you talking about both neighborhoods even after you finish.

 

The Route:

Start at 3019 N Lafayette St. Walk south past the community garden and through the park. Look for the house on the east side of the street that has a buffalo in its yard. That's the death place of Buffalo Bill.

Take a left on E 30th Ave, right on Franklin, then a left on E 29th Ave. Walk south and diagonally through Denver's second oldest park, Fuller Park. Say hello to the dogs in the dog park and pass along Manuel High School. Continue to the east along E 28th Ave.

At the corner of High St and 28th, enjoy the mural on the library. Then, walk up the alley to the west of High Street, seeing the remnants of the Whittler Alley Loop project. Continue up the alley to E 30th.

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Take a right and enjoy the history of Madame CJ. Continue to the east, crossing High and then heading south in the alley behind High St. Take a left on E 28th Ave.

Take a right on Race St, then a left on 26th Ave. Cross York into Skyland. Take a left on Josephine St.

Take a right on E 27t Ave and a left on Elizabeth, a right on E 28th Ave, then a left on Clayton, making your way through Skyland. Notice the variation in homes with the block from turn of the century to modern.

Pass the local schools, then continue to take a right on E 30th Ave, then a left on Fillmore St. Take a left on E 31st Ave, continuing your amble in Skyland.

Cross York again, then at High, take a right. At MLK, take a left, walking through Morrison park and stopping to read its history. At Lafayette, take a left, returning back to your start.

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

Walking Whittier and Skyland 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!

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An Urban Hike with Trains! Trails! Tales! at Union Station Denver

An Urban Hike with Trains! Trails! Tales! at Union Station Denver

Union Station neighborhood, which is basically what the locals call "LoDo," is a small and very dense neighborhood around Union Station. If you've ever taken the train into Union Station, you've ridden right through the neighborhood.

The boundaries of the Union Station Neighborhood are the Platte River, 14th St, 20th St and Larimer St. When walking this neighborhood, arrive at Union Station via the train or public transit and save yourself the headaches of trying to park. Taking an urban hike around Union Station, you'll learn about some of Denver's very beginnings, see amazing artwork, transport yourself to the glory days of railroad, and possibly grab a great bite to eat.

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Where Denver Began

The Union Station neighborhood is loaded with Denver's most fun restaurants, the fabulous Union Station, awe-inspiring new apartment and condo buildings, good parks, great pedestrian bridges, the 16th St Mall, and views all around. But before you even head out of the station, if you did in fact arrive by train, be sure to spend some time in the train station itself.

Visit The Trains and Their Station First

Union Station out survived all the other train stations that competed to get the train traffic in Denver. An original train station built in 1881 burned in 1894 to be replaced in two stages by the current Romanesque Revival, which was updated, restored, and reopened in 2014. At one point, over 150 trains ran through the station. Now with the new RTD station, the commuter trains and light rail are back, competing with Amtrak and freight trains.

As you tour around Union Station (this is also a great walk to do at night), be sure to not only go to the second floor and look out the Cooper Bar windows up 17th Street, marvel at the restored chandeliers, gobble good eats from any of the restaurants, and maker sure to buy a copy of my book, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver, from the Tattered Cover inside Union Station! You'll want to escape to the basement and find the old bathrooms. It's kinda fun down there. You might even stop at the info stand and quiz the volunteer, or if you're feeling ritzy, check into the new Crawford Hotel, built by Dana Crawford, who also restored Larimer Square.

An Urban Hike through Union Station Neighborhood

On this particular urban hike, you'll walk through Larimer Square, to Coors Field, and across several pedestrian bridges. The route is only about two miles, but there are a few things you'll want to spend time enjoying.

Don't Miss the Masquerade Ball...

(Note: currently, the Evolution of the Ball is being protected in storage while Coors Field undergoes renovation. It should be back up to the public in summer 2020. Instead, spend time finding Red Velvet.)

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Be sure not to miss the darling and often overlooked Evolution of the Ball sculpture at the entry into the Coors Field ballpark, which happens to be in the Five Points neighborhood but its entry is officially in Union Station's neighborhood. See if you can find The Masquerade Ball! It's a two-column piece of art made with ceramic tiles that have different baseballs embedded in them. Be sure to read the name of the balls and correlate them to the chart denoting why the balls are named as they are.

Larimer Square Awaits You

On the route, you'll walk through Larimer Square. Originally home to some of Denver's original buildings, and lovingly restored by Dana Crawford, you'll want to take time admiring a few things. On the east side of the street you'll see a courtyard about mid-block. Enter it to enjoy some artwork on the ceilings and get exposed to the Larimer Square walking tour. On the west side of the street, stop in The Market for the best desserts in this part of town, then make your way to the alley behind the west side of the buildings for an alley cat surprise.

Trains Run through It

As you cross the three pedestrian bridges on this route, be sure to eye the north/south views along the train tracks and the east/west views up the Streets and to the Rockies. This walk arguably has the best views in Denver, seconded only by Green Valley Ranch's! At one time, the employee responsible for raising and lowering the arm for pedestrian traffic at Union Station did it every 7 seconds due to the amount of trains coming through Denver.

The Route:

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.

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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 (in storage until summer 2020). 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.

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

Walking LoDo Union Station 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!


Auraria Denver Urban Hike Through Denver's Historical Beginnings

Auraria Denver Urban Hike Through Denver's Historical Beginnings

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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?

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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!

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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

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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!


A Quaint Urban Hike through Athmar Park Denver

A Quaint Urban Hike through Athmar Park

Quaint and Quiet Athmar Park

Tucked away just south of Alameda and west of I25 sits a quaint neighborhood subtly making its way into the 21st century, Athmar Park.

athmar park urban hiking denver

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Founded by two developers who annexed smaller neighborhoods into Athmar Park, and named after their wives by using the first couple letters of each first name, this mostly rectangular-shaped neighborhood remembers its early settlement and 1965 flood history. You’ll find mosaics in the neighborhood parks reflecting the flooding tragedy, and you’ll throw back to the 60s in the Athmar Park shopping center. Homes from the 1940-60s dominate the character of the neighborhood, although older homes decorate a few blocks and corners.

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The Athmar Park Parks

In the neighborhood are several parks; Aspgren, Huston Lake, Vanderbilt Park and Habitat Park. Click on these links to see videos about the parks.

Aspgren Park video

Huston Lake video

Vanderbilt Park video

Aspgren: Although this park, named after Clifford Aspgren a former Colorado State Congressman, does not have many amenities, it plays an important role in telling the story of the 1965 flood through Athmar Park. Here, you’ll find three tables with mosaic tops. These tops tell the story of how the community came together after the flood. Three additional tables are in Huston Lake Park just to the west. At Aspgren Park, the three tables hold special memories. The first commemorate the 1965 flood, the second references love, and the third is a modern design.

Huston Lake: With stunning views across the lake to the west of the Rockies, Huston Park, the jewel of the Athmar Park neighborhood welcomes you. Named after  N.K. Huston, an original landowner in the area, the swampy area was originally called “Frenchie’s Lake” and was where neighbors gathered to ice skate and swim.  Now, the park’s amenities attract football, soccer, baseball, softball and basketball players. Tennis lovers volley in the courts, and walkers and runners scoot around the lake for a mile loop. In the summer, grab your horseshoes or bring your camera to photograph the flower beds and bird life. The playgrounds welcome small and big kids, and the fitness area finds folks doing chin ups and sit ups.

Vanderbilt Park: People come here to play ball. Whether for softball or baseball, their team and their leagues enjoy great evenings and afternoons of batter up. With diamonds that sit opposite each other, the hit ball can go almost as far as it wants.

Where is Athmar Park?

Athmar Park's neighborhood boundaries are North: W Alameda Ave, West: S Federal Blvd, South: W Mississippi Ave, East: The South Platte River (roughly I25).

A Good Curated Urban Hike through Athmar Park

The best way to get to know Athmar Park is to walk it. The neighborhood sits on a hill, so you'll have some ups and downs to enjoy as you meander though its streets. You'll find sidewalks and relatively calm streets that are easy to navigate. This route takes you by the major parks, near the famous mosaic tables, and by a few of the oldest houses in the neighborhood.

The Athmar Park Route:

Start at Huston Lake, named after an early resident, making your way east to S Vallejo St. Turn left (north). Look to your left and enjoy the fantastic view over the lake toward the Rockies. Take a right on W Exposition Ave, crossing Tejon. Take a left on S Shoeshone St, catching spectacular views of downtown Denver. At W Virginia St, take a left one block to S Tejon St and then go right. Walk up S Tejon St to W Nevada Place, take a right.

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Notice the home at 1597 W Nevada Place. Built in 1912, this is one of a few remaining original farm homes. Most farms in this area harvested celery and wheat. Continue along Nevada to 1395 W Nevada Place, another home from that time period. Turn right on S Navajo Street.

Pass St Rose of Lima Church on the right. The 1965 flood completely engulfed the church, moving its way all the way west through the 1400 block. Continue up the hill to Aspgren Park. Named after a Colorado State Representative from Hilltop who served in the House in the 50s, this park has 3 picnic tables on its western end. Pay close attention to the mosaics on the tables. One commemorates the 1965 flood, the second shows hearts and reflects love, the third embraces a modern pattern.

Continue to W Exposition Ave, take a right. Take a left on S Pecos. Take a right on W Ohio St. Take a left on S Quivas St. Take a right on W Kentucky Ave. Take a left on S Tejon. Before approaching Mississippi, look to your left at the 1959 Athmar Park sign in front of the shopping center.

Turn right on Mississippi and notice the Athmar Park library. Moved into this restored church in 1999, admire the sculpture, kinetic wind sculpture by Robert Mangold, which originally showed at the Denver Art Museum.

Continue west to Zuni Street. Return back to Lake Huston and notice the three picnic tables under the pine trees just to the east. These three also have mosaic tops commemorating: 1. The ladies of Valverde Presbyterian church who quilted here for 40 years, 2. The mountain view across the lake conceived by well-known Colorado oil painter and neighborhood resident, Brenda Hendrix,  and 3. A mosaic flower table created by Valverde Elementary school children.

When finished admiring the mosaics, take one last look at the lake. Originally called Frenchie’s Lake, this lake entertained swimmer and ice skaters year round in the mid 1950s.

Walking Athmar 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 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!