Getting Quirky on this Baker Urban Hike in Denver

baker urban hiking eatwalklearn

Dinosaurs and Welcome Signs

Quirky. Diversified. Historic. Those may not be the three ways that you’d describe Baker, but after this neighborhood walk, you might pick up these descriptors.

Founded on the banks of the Platte River by William and Elizabeth Byers in 1859, just north of where James Beckwourth, a former slave, settled the same year, Baker neighborhood squares out with Sixth Avenue, Lincoln Street, Mississippi Avenue, and the South Platte River. Enjoy this urban hike, perhaps one of Denver’s quirkiest, which takes you on a 2.5 mile meander.

baker urban hiking eatwalklearn

Although Baker started as the neighborhood where the “Rocky” news editor lived, it has had opportunities to morph and change. When the 1965 flood that took out many of the communities along the Platte River and the following-along building of the Higher Ed complex in Auraria, many of the Hispanic community members either moved away or joined the communities already along Santa Fe, including Baker.

baker urban hiking eatwalklearn

Blending with the historic homes throughout Baker, a walk through this area brings about quirky dinosaur gardens, dried red pepper bouquets, and “painted lady” homes. Around every corner is a surprise. The common denominator throughout the neighborhood is a sense of welcome-ness, with many bilingual “Welcome” signs throughout.

Save up to 30% on New Deals from Brands You Love on Hurry, limited time. End dates vary.

baker urban hiking eatwalklearn

Variety Is the Name of the Game

Abutting the east side of Baker is the area many call “SoBo” on South Broadway. Whether hunting for a good fish and chips or an unique second-hand top, you can get both on the way to the historic Mayan Theater. Don’t want to drive? Jump on any of the buses on Broadway, hop onto the light rail at Alameda, or walk along well-established and maintained sidewalks.

I wear these shoes and I get them from REI, where you can return shoes for up to a year.

baker urban hiking eatwalklearn

Park It and Read

You’ll walk by the historic, 100+ year old, Dailey Park. Named after the editor and co-found of the Rocky Mountain News, nicknamed The Rocky, the park has historic shelters and buildings designed by SR DeBoer, who influenced much of the park aesthetic throughout Denver. Dailey sat on the parks board, was Araphoe County’s treasurer, and was Denver’s first chief deputy county clerk. This 2.5 mile amble through Baker will serve up a variety of interesting and quirky views.

Take 10% off your next order over $100 from KEEN with promo code 10PercentKEEN2020. Save now! Coupon Code: 10PercentKEEN2020

The Rocky eventually folded in 2009, losing out to the competing Denver Post. Its final Pulitzer prize was for the moving images it published after the Columbine High School shooting. Interesting, The Rocky was the first regional paper to run an advice column, “Dear Mrs Mayfield.”

The route (click for interactive map):

Park at Dailey Park, which is at the intersections of Cherokee St and W Ellsworth Ave. The closest address is the Christ Triumphant Lutheran Church, (290 W Ellsworth Ave; Denver, Colorado 80223.) Walk west on W Ellsworth to the next street, Elati Street. Make your way northwesterly, stair-stepping your way on each block until arriving at Santa Fe and W 3rd Ave. Notice how the housing changes by decades and styles, moving in and out of historic homes and 1960 duplexes.

At the corner of Santa Fe and W 3rd, head north. Notice the wonderful “Bienvenidos” sign on the NE corner at the hotdog stand. Continue north to W 4th, and go right or east. Enjoy the beautiful street art, which can change on moment’s notice, along the way on both sides of the street.

I wear these shoes and I get them from REI, where you can return shoes for up to a year.

Take a right on Delaware. When you get to W 2nd St, make sure to notice the “tiny house” on the NW corner. Cross 2nd, and turn left, or east so you are walking on the south side of 2nd toward Broadway.  You’ll pass the Episcopal Church of St Peter and St Mary, built in 1891 and designed by Charles Lee who also designed the original Elitch Gardens Theatre in the Highlands. Shortly afterward, you’ll pass Denver Fire Station No 11, built in 1936.

At Broadway, go right, or south. Admire the Mayan Theater, built in 1930 and saved from demolition in 1984, on your left. Eye a restaurant or two that you’ll want to stop in later, and pick up a cute shirt or pair of shoes. At W Ellsworth, take a right. Then at S Bannock St, take a left. You’ll be heading south toward Alameda.

Notice, again, the variety of homes and architecture along Bannock. You may even see a dinosaur or two along the sidewalk in a fantasy garden. Continue to W Byers Place. Cross Bannock to your west, and notice the old Byers school on the NW corner of Byers and Bannock. Named after co-founder of the Rocky Mountain News, this building still draws local interest.

At S Cherokee Street, turn right or north. Continue along this light industrial and mixed-use area, noticing the row of duplexes and their simple architecture on the left. You’ll arrive back at Dailey park, named after the other co-founder of the Rocky.

A Quirky Urban Hike in Baker and Supporting DenverByFoot

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, or even along during our lock down.

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!

I hope to see you on the trail,