A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That
Walking the neighborhood of College View will challenge the categorization of your brain. Just when you think you can categorize College View as a neighborhood with homes from the 1970s, you’ll see an old ranch with a few horse stalls, a Habitat for Humanity village, or a few new home builds. The area was originally platted in half-acre sites for use as small family farms
You’ll round the corner of small, plain, single-family homes from the 60s and then stumble upon two estates sharing a driveway. To top it off, you’ll come across a 3-acre iris field and a Buddhist Temple. Huh? Here’s the write-up of a fun, 3.5-mile College View urban hiking adventure.
Not a Lot of Fancy Here
The College View neighborhood’s shape is basically a long, vertical rectangle with an eastern arm and a southern dip. Stretching from Federal to Jewell to Raritan, ducking into Evans, down to Zuni, and to Dartmouth, the fringes of College View house small auto shops, a Walmart, and a few tiny taco stands. Its interior makes up a mishmash of homes, bisected by the West Harvard Gulch Trail running to the Platte River.
The West Harvard Gulch Trail runs Federal to the Platte River on a mostly concrete trail. It’s a nice place to find some shade and trees in the community, and to meander east-west through the neighborhood.
La Lomita Park
What used to be the unnamed park at Asbury and Tejon recently became La Lomita Park. Here on the old Goat Hill, the Abeyta family raised their children and opened a grocery named Evans Height Grocery. It eventually closed but reopened as the La Lomita Cafe, which served traditional New Mexican food. People stood in long lines for Grandma’s food. Eventually, when the city wanted to put a park here, the Abeyta family offered up the name La Lomita, and it took hold.
Iris Bob Colors the Place
And then you’ll turn the corner and stumbled upon 3 acres of soon-to-be bearded irises. Iris Bob, proud owner of Iris4U, cultivates tall bearded irises and has approximately 10,000 seedlings under evaluation at any given time from previous years to current seedlings.
The iris blooms hit their peak in May, although Bob tracks the weather patterns. The warmer the weather, the earlier the bloom. So, plan your Mother’s Day outing to Iris4U’s fields for a gorgeous explosion of color, and, while you’re there, buy your mom a bearded iris.
If you walk by before they bloom, you can see PVC pipe sticking up with the names of the forthcoming bloomers; Vanilla Berry, Taking Chances, and a favorite, Poem of Ecstasy. Many of the names were invited by Iris Bob himself.
Having reached the southern end of the neighborhood, you’ll head back north on Zuni. But soon, you’ll see peeking out to your left, a big yellow and red structure. You want to detour to find the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple. You’ll be rewarded with a colorful pagoda-like structure right in the middle of the neighborhood. Watch for two cats that will greet you with a hello.
What College Is in the View?
So why is the neighborhood called College View? Which college does it view? If you look to the southwest of the neighborhood, you can see where Loretto Heights College used to be. It’s now closed and merged with Regis. Also, to the east, you’ll find the University of Denver. Who knows for sure which college is the “college” in College View? Perhaps it’s both?
The route (click for interactive map):
Start at La Lomita Park (closest address is 2045 W Pacific Place, Denver). Head west, crossing S Vallejo and turning north. At Ashbury, turn left (west) to Zuni, head south. After crossing Zuni, take a right on the south side of W Evans Ave.
Walk two blocks. Turn left on S Clay St, passing the District 4 Denver Cop Shop. Turn right on W Warren St, and continue south on Decatur.
Pass the College View Elementary on the right and the Habitat Village on the left. At Harvard Gulch, turn left and amble along the gulch. At the next intersection, leave the gulch and turn south on S Clay Street for one block. Turn right (west) on W Water St, doubling back to Decatur.
Turn left on W Amherst, making sure to walk on the south side of the street. You’ll soon pass Iris4U. After admiring the irises, continue east then turn north on S Bryant St. Notice the three brand new homes on the left. Turn right on W Yale St and then head north (left) on Zuni.
At W Iliff, take a detour to the west for half a block to see the Buddhist Temple. When finished there, turn back to Zuni and head north.
Cross Evans, then turn right on Ashbury, right on Vallejo, and then left on Pacific, returning back to your start.
Viewing Irises 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 alone.
What did you like about this walk? Post it on Facebook and tag your posts with #denverbyfoot so I can find them.
See you on the trail!
This post was originally written by Chris Englert and has been edited by Lisa Alonge.