Walking through Lowry: Part Aeronautical History, Part Urban Redesign.
Walking through Lowry is part aeronautical history and part urban redesign.
This neighborhood, bordered roughly by 11th Ave, Quebec, 1st, and Yosemite, with a jut to the west of Quebec, once housed soldiers who acquired technical skills to sustain Air Force operations through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and Vietnam. Closed in 1994, developers turned the old air field and its operation into a thriving mixed-use neighborhood. Here is where how to enjoy a 3.5-mile walk on an urban hike through Lowry.
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The Lowry Air Force Base once housed soldiers who acquired technical skills to sustain Air Force operations through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and Vietnam. Dwight D Eisenhower would vacation here with his wife Mamie and attend church here on the base. He considered this area the summer white house. Named after Lt Francis B Lowry, who was killed in aerial combat while serving as an aerial photographer in 1918, you can find Lt Lowry’s grave in nearby Fairmont Cemetery. Charles Lindbergh landed here at Lowry Field as part of a publicity stunt to promote aviation.
Many folks have visited Lowry by way of the Wings over the Rockies Museum. Or their children attend one of several private schools in the area, including Stanley British, Denver International, and Bishop Machebeuf High School. The entire neighborhood throws out treats of aviation surprises as you walk through its main downtown.
Just next to the museum is the giant Great Lawn. Here in the park, you’ll find sweeping open spaces, concerts during the summer, toy boat floating, meandering paths, and what might be the world’s largest sundial. The Great Lawn sits next to Kelly Dam to the north. Be sure to visit the natural fields in the fall to see amazing fall color as the grasses turn, and you’ll also hunt for wonderful bird sightings.
What’s easy to miss is the large collection of artwork, the restored military buildings and hangars, or even the church where Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower visited while enjoying summer respites here in Denver. The Eisenhower Chapel, tucked around the corner from the main street of Lowry and its private schools, was never meant to last very long. Four churches were originally built on the air field, and this is the only one that remains from that era.
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How Are Denver and Mongolia Connected?
One of the sweet joys in Lowry is the Denver Sister City of Ulaanbaatar Park. Honoring the fact that Denver has the largest Mongolian population outside of Mongolia, Denver and Ulaanbaatar share an annual student exchange program and foster international trade. The park showcases a large sculpture which interprets the hearth, the center of the home.
Crescent Park, around the corner from Ulaanbaatar, has a small auditorium for kids to act out plays, a playground full of caregivers and kids in the late morning, and a large field where pick up games of Frisbee and football pop up frequently.
From Reservoirs to Planes to Duplexes
No matter what you’re looking for in Lowry, there’s quite a variety to uncover. There’s even a reservoir where birding is best in the Fall, and you can catch some amazing Fall color in the grasses at the Kelly Dam. When folks in the fall are crowding the aspen tree and cottonwood tree views, this is a great place to have your own secret look at unique fall color in Denver.
The Route (click for interactive map):
Start at Wings over the Rockies (7711 East Academy Boulevard Denver, CO 80230-6929). Go north along Spruce St, taking a right on E 1st Ave. Cross over Uinta Way and walk through the soccer field or along its sidewalk to the south toward the Great Lawn.
When you reach the Great Lawn, head north along any of the sidewalks or trails. You’ll make your way to the Lowry Sundial, a giant sundial commissioned by the Lowry Foundation.
Head north along the west side of the reservoir. This is a great place to go birding in the Fall. At Trenton St, just before 11th, turn left.
Follow Trenton to 8th Ave, and walk through Crescent Park. Turn left on Roslyn St.
Continue south on Roslyn St to E 5th Ave, making your way to the City of Ulaanbaatar Park. Turn to the right, passing Stanley British School. At Quebec, go left.
Cross Quebec at E 2nd Ave, walking into the Lowry extension on the west side of Quebec. Turn left on Oneida Court, noticing the changes in the houses on the corners of Oneida and E 1st Ave.
Take a left on E 1st Ave. Cross Quebec. At Roslyn, turn right. Or, if you’re wanting to do a bit more discovery, walk to the left up the Eisenhower Church.
Continue south on Roslyn, and it will turn into E Academy Pkwy. Continue along the parkway until you return to Wings over the Rockies, where you can pop in for a quick visit.
Loving on Lowry 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!
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See you on the trail!