Mar Lee and Westwood Urban Hiking Denver

A Pair of Denver Twins

Sitting next to each other like twins, the Mar Lee and Westwood neighborhoods in West Denver are two forgotten treasures. They share Federal and Sheridan as their east/west borders, with Westwood to the north starting at Alameda, stopping at Mississippi where Mar Lee starts, ending at Jewell. We took a 5-mile amble through these two neighborhoods, meeting kind people, walking along two gulches, and getting to know these secret areas of west Denver.

The Shinier Westwood

Westwood has gotten more attention in the news than its southern neighbor, Mar Lee. With Morrison Road running diagonally through it and home to Westwood Park, the City of Denver plans to spend almost $1 million upgrading, renovating, and beautifying the area. Westwood homes several large night clubs featuring Spanish-speaking artists, many local Mexican restaurants, and World War II housing.

Been Here a Long Time

While walking along, we came across a yard sale. The owner had lived in her home since she was 3 (or for 63 years!) She stated that her house was the first home built in the neighborhood. She said it originally was a barrack. Considering how the neighborhood grew in response to rise of the Ordnance factory in what is now Lakewood, it’s no surprise a few barracks-turned-homes show up in Westwood.

Hello Mar Lee

Crossing into Mar Lee over Mississippi was uneventful. Yards became a bit neater, and many of the tiny WWII homes still stand. Some not even 1000 square feet, these 1940 doll-house sized homes give way to 1960s brick split levels as we made our way toward Sanderson Gulch.

Enjoy the Gulches!

 

Sanderson Gulch, a nice trail that leads to the Platte River, runs along the southern end of Mar Lee. Together with the Weir Gulch in Westwood, it’s easy to make a large 5-mile loop between the two neighborhoods. We took advantage of both, hooking up through Mar Lee to Westwood via the fabulous Garfield Park.

A Single-track Activity Trail?

Did you know Garfield Park has a brand new single-track activity trail? We watched it being installed, and it will be opened in the next few days!

A Few New Places, But Not Many

Walking through Mar Lee and Westwood was a pleasant surprise. Although these neighborhoods were quickly thrown up in the 1940s with limited thought for code or longevity, they have survived the wax and wane of neighborhood growth and change. We did see a new higher density set of buildings going in, but for the most part, the neighborhood homes have stayed the same. After walking neighborhoods like Highland, Hale, and Jefferson Park, it’s nice to see things stay the same.


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


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