Green Valley Ranch Urban Hiking Denver

Perhaps the Best Views in Denver

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If you know Green Valley Ranch at all, you probably think of it as the neighborhood you pass on the way to Denver International Airport. But this large neighborhood, soon to be larger, plays home to the last segment of the High Line Canal (from mile markers 66 to 71), has amazing farm history, and plans to be Denver’s largest neighborhood. Here’s my write up of our urban hike through Green Valley Ranch, a rectangle-shaped neighborhood bounded by 56th Ave, Piccadilly, Tower, and 40th Ave.

A Ranch Becomes the Ranch

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Back in the mid 1800s, the Ebert family cobbled together acre after acre of farmland to ultimately create a 1400 acre farm. Through its middle ran the Colorado Eastern Railroad, a small-gauge track moving coal to Denver’s smelters. Time passed, the High Line Canal dried up, and the farmers barely scraped a living. Eventually, Denver annexed the land in 1973, and developers in the 1980s bartered with the school board to market the neighborhood in a diverse manner to get around mandated desegregation.

One Big Boxy House after the Next

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Soon, Green Valley Ranch and its old homestead gave way to the Green Valley Ranch subdivision. The developer, in his negotiations with the last remaining farmer, built a home for the farmer and his family, and his farm house was demolished. Now, with about 10,000 homes, Green Valley is but 30% built out with many new subdivisions planned in Aurora to abut Denver’s Green Valley and to squeeze in around the soon-to-be Gaylord Rockies Convention Center.

A planned subdivision, Green Valley Ranch has a variety of new build homes for every budget and family size. Think double-car garage with a yard, throw on a house, and you’ve got acres and acres of suburban living at its affordable best. Developers’ signs beckon from every corner.

And Still No Water

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The irony of the neighborhood? The end of the High Line Canal peters out at 64th Ave because water could no longer get out this far in the canal. The Canal’s end is just a few hundred yards south of the Gaylord’s water park. So, where water could not get to in the past, water will now flood an area that never should have had water in the first place. Never the less, the High Line Canal trail will eventually reappear once the Painted Prairie subdivision is finished, and it will connect to trails heading to DIA and beyond.


Click here to see the route, map, and turn by turn directions.


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