Sloan Lake Urban Hiking Denver

Sloan’s Leaky Lake

Let’s first start with what the official name of this neighborhood is. Well, actually, we have to go back to before that…it was 1860 and Thomas M Sloan decided he needed some water for his farm. So he drilled a well, and “supposedly” punched a whole into the unknown aquifer below. It sprang a leak, and 24 hours later, the lake was born.

What’s It Really Called?

It had names. Sloan’s Leak, Sloan Lake, and Sloan’s Lake. For decades, the names interchanged. In the early 1990s, the local residents gathered together a petition for the name to officially be Sloan’s Lake. The City of Denver then changed all the names designating the neighborhood to be Sloan’s Lake Park. But someone forgot to tell the copy writer in the City, and thus, the City officially calls the neighborhood, “Sloan Lake.” Since this blog is about tempting you with fun walks in all of Denver’s official 78 neighborhoods, we’ll go with Sloan Lake.

 It’s Big


Thus, Sloan Lake neighborhood’s boundaries are 29th Avenue to the North, 17th Avenue to the South, Federal Boulevard to East, and Sheridan Boulevard to the West. The lake is the largest in the City, encompassing both Compass Lake and Sloan Lake for a total of 177 acres. The surrounding park around the lake makes the entire area be Denver’s second largest park. But, now that the Northfield Parks are open in north Stapleton, I wonder if its second in size will change.

Ostrich-drawn Cinderella Carriages?

Lots of fun has been had on the lake. From the historic Manhattan Beach, which housed circles acts, ostrich-drawn Cinderella sleds, elephants, and even flying human cannons, to pleasure boats that cruised the lake yet ultimately sank, Sloan Lake has invited Denverites to its shores for over a century. Now the banks have sail boats, paddle boats, and if it ever gets cold enough again for the lake to freeze for consecutive days, ice skating.

A Square, a Victorian and a WWII…

Surrounding the lake is a neighborhood that has waxed and waned with the times. Surprisingly, the homes on each block can vary from recent moderns to Denver Squares with WWII housing sprinkled in between. One block had a modern on the corner, two WWII houses in the middle, a Denver Square, a brick Victorian, and a Santa Fe adobe style home.

And a Centrally Located School

The original high school turned junior high is actually outside of the official Denver boundaries of Sloan Lake. But an elementary school with vibrant playground walls sits in the middle of the neighborhood, anchoring the neighborhood northeast of the lake.

Despite its un-agreed-upon name, our 3.3 mile walk took us through this fun and architecturally intriguing neighborhood, Sloan Lake.


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


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