Hilltop, Denver’s highest neighborhood, is bordered on the west by Colorado Boulevard, on the north by Severn Ave and on the south by East Alameda Avenue. The Eastern border is uneven, but includes Monaco Parkway at the northeast corner of the neighborhood and then zigzags south and west to the west of Crestmoor Park. Yet despite its boundaries, Hilltops impact in the area spans generations.
A Sundial and a Diorama in Cranmer
Starting in Cranmer park where you’ll find the historic sundial and mountain range diorama, your walk will head downhill in any direction. The actual Hilltop neighborhood includes Crestmoor Park, several churches and temples, the famous Cableland, the Cinderella House, and even the Shangri-La. But what it contains the most is unique homes custom built by Denver’s wealthy, mostly ranging from the 30s to the 70s with outliers on both sides.
Cranmer Park sits as the centerpiece of Hilltop. Looking west from the sundial, you can see the mountain range laid out in stone on the edge of the steps, identifying popular peaks and ranges. The remainder of the park is open space and flower beds, with soccer and softball fields added seasonally.
George Cranmer, the park’s namesake, strongly impacted the beauty of Denver. He had the vision to create Red Rocks and the Denver Mountain Parks system, including his personal victory, Winter Park. Under Mayor Stapleton, his can-do attitude got him appointed as Denver’s Manager of Parks and Improvements, where he successfully implemented many of the ideas that had risen during Mayor Speer’s reign and purchased land for what became the Stapleton airport. Cranmer came from a ranching family; his father was a Confederate soldier who moved west to get into ranching. His love for the outdoors kept him motivated to tackle the ups and downs of time period, completing projects under budget and with flair.
A Brickyard Leads to An Open Forest
Also in the neighborhood, you’ll find Robinson Park and the larger Crestmoor Park. Thanks to the Robinson family,who donated this land to the City when they moved the Robinson Brick Yard (now owned by General Shale) from this location, you’ll find all the Hilltop kids and their parents enjoying a good snow romp in the wintertime. Gently sloping sides that run into large open space invite small sledders to shred. In the meantime, it’s interesting to note that after the brickyard left the area, the EPA discovered large amounts of radium at the site. They designated it as a Superfund site, cleaned it up, and now generations of kids have run, skipped, and giggled here.
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Nearby, you’ll find Crestmoor Park. Hoping to attract the affluent to a high-end neighborhood, the Crestmoor Realty Co advertised this area as “the choicest” with a protected, residential park in 1936. The park itself, at over 37 acres, has nooks and crannies to enjoy. From a well-appointed set of tennis courts to trails that invite you to look around the playground, forest, and open spaces, you’ll find nice views and active people. On weekend mornings, you’ll find the park buzzing with kids’ soccer games and parents coaching from the sidelines. During the evening, many dog walkers and joggers use the trails to relax into the evening.
One Parkway Flanked by Beauty
Meandering among four parks and along the beautiful 6th Ave Parkway, every home has history, a story, or an angle. From the Cinderella House which was built and then given away to a runaway bride and groom to Cableland, a complex owned by the City and built by a cable baron, you will enjoy each twist and turn in Hilltop.
Cableland, once the bachelor pad of television cable magnate, Bill Daniels, was given to the city of Denver in 1998 to possibly become the Mayor’s residence. So far, no Mayor has taken up the offer to live in the home that had over 88 television sets and a 12-foot fire pole in the master bedroom. But, if you’d like, you can rent the place for your event.
Grand and Grander
Distinct from Country Club and Capital Hill, but serving the same purpose–a getaway for the wealthier–Hilltop was the first neighborhood built in Denver based on an auto scale, not a human scale. You’ll find wide streets with sidewalks leading to a small commercial area within its middle.
No Covenants, Everyone Is Welcome
At one time, because nearby Crestmoor Neighborhood wouldn’t allow Jews and other ethnicities to live within its boundaries, the wealthier Jewish populations settled here in Hilltop’s Cranmer. To accommodate the orthodox Jews, there’s even an eruv positioned around the neighborhood.
No walk through Hilltop is complete without a skip down the nicknamed Hallelujah Hill, which houses the Jewish Community Center, a Lutheran church, a Greek Orthodox church, and a few other religious establishments.
No matter where you walk in Hilltop, you’ll find interesting stories and beautiful homes to admire.
The Route (click for interactive map):
Start in Cranmer Park, where the closest street address is 4501 E. 1st Ave. Go north out of the park along Clermont St to E 6th Ave Parkway. Take a right and walk in the middle of the street in Denver’s longest linear park. Pass the Cinderella House on the right.
Take a right on S Fairfax St. Take a left on E 4th Ave. Take a right S Forest St. Take a left on E 3rd Ave.
Take a right on S Jersey St. Take a left on E 1st Ave. Take a right on Kearney and a right on Southmoor Dr, skirting Crestmoor Park which at one time was a brickyard.
Take a right on E Bayoud, take a left on S Jersey St, take a right on E Cedar Ave.
Take a left on S Fairfax and then a right on E Alameda Ave. Enjoy Hallelujah Hill. Take a right on S Eudora St. Notice the large home on the NW corner with rounded roof edges. Built as a one-bedroom home, after a divorce and a bank repossession, the bank couldn’t sell the home. They added two more rooms, and it sold immediately!
Take a left on E Cedar St. Take a right up the alley. Take a right on E Bayoud then a left on Bellaire.
Take a right on E Ellsworth, then a left on E Dexter Street. Find the foot path on your left back into the park, returning to Cranmer Park, past the original Cranmer House on your right, and back to where you started.
A special thanks to Chris Petty for lead a fabulous walk through Hilltop!
Hallelujah-ing in Hilltop 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.
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See you on the trail!