High Brow-ing through Regis Neighborhood’s Urban Hike
Sitting on the hill just north of I70 is Regis, a neighborhood that broke itself off from its southern celery farmers in Berkeley. Bounded by 52nd St to the north, Federal to the east, Harlan to the west and I70 to the south, Regis separated from Berkeley in order to become its own enclave of higher society. Regardless of the reasons to live in Regis, it’s a great neighborhood for an interesting urban hike of over 4 miles.
Custom Homes and Homes for Everyone
Originally, William Lang, who designed many houses in Denver including the Molly Brown House and Castle Marne, built 35 beautiful custom homes to attract the middle class away from the smokey bottoms of the Platte River and away from snooty Cap Hill. Although only a few of those original homes still stand, the neighborhood’s big features now are the Willis Case Golf Course and Regis University.
And a University, Too!
The Jesuit school, Regis University, attracts students from all backgrounds and religions. Although it was originally Las Vegas College in New Mexico and the College of the Sacred Heart in Morrison, it eventually found its home here by way of a land donation from the controversial and fantastical John Brisben Walker (who started Red Rocks Park.) Upon its move north of Berkeley, the school became Regis College and then Regis University, ultimately becoming the namesake of the neighborhood. It also swallowed up several programs from competing colleges, including the nursing program from Loretto Heights College, which was in Loretto Heights.
But Wait, There’s More!
Across from Regis sits the antique-school-turned-housing, Berkeley School apartments. At one time, a tunnel ran from the main school building to its northern expansion, and the children practiced bomb sheltering in the tunnel. Each class had its own spot along the wall to gather to wait out the bomb drills.
Fun and Frivolity
To the very west end of the neighborhood is Inspiration Point Park–known by many Denver teenagers. During the day, the views across the front range hold imaginations of adventure and travel. Mayor Speer created the area as part of his City Beautiful campaign. At dusk, you can catch a great sunset view. Be sure to check out Inspiration Park’s gardens on the east end and historical markers on the north side.
This walk takes you through some of the major and a few minor features of this interesting neighborhood.
The Route (click for interactive map):
Start at 5000 Tennyson. Walk to the west along 50th where it ends at the El Jezbel temple, now becoming a condo complex and is across from the Willis Case Golf Course club house. Return back to Tennyson and head south.
Pass some of the original homes built in the former North Denver nee Berkeley Hills nee Regis. Take a left on W 49th Ave, walking past more beautiful, original homes. At Newton St, take a left, heading north.
At W 50th Ave, take a right then a left on Lowell Blvd. Notice the old Berkeley School on the left and then cross over Lowell into the Regis University Campus.
Make your way to the center of the campus to look north at the original Regis building. Read the various plaques, then make your way behind the building. Just to the north and west of the building is a small foot path that takes you to a secluded, private area. In this area is a small table and a statue of Jesus Christ. The statue has a very different perspective of how Jesus appeared. When finished, return to the south of the historic building.
Make your way easterly across the main campus courtyard to the Admissions Building. Just to the north of the building is a statue to James Joyce, and it’s worth an interesting stop.
When finished thinking about the Dubliners and other Joyce novels, continue south to the front of the campus and enjoy additional religion-inspired artwork. When finished exploring the campus, exit it on W 50th Ave, continuing to the east.
Take a right on Grove St, then a right on W 49th Ave.
Take a left on Julian Street then a right on W 48th Ave. Pass the monastery. At the end of 48th, there is a little sidewalk path that sneaks to Lowell Blvd.
At Lowell, turn north (right). Pass the famous Goldspot Brewing Company and the Noshery. As you continue north along this street where the trolley once ran, also notice the old and older gas stations along the way. Take a left on W 50th Ave.
Take a right on Meade St. Take a left on W 51st St. You’ll be walking in the newer section of Regis, dating from the 1950s or so. Take a left on Raleigh St. Watch out for pirates!
Take a right on W 50th returning back to your start.
High Browing through Regis 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!