Tucked away and with limited access, Wonderland Hills is well named. It’s a wonderful place to call home in Boulder Colorado. From the East, enter this Boulder neighborhood across from Lucky’s Market on Quince Driver or Poplar Ave. From the South, Linden Park Dr or namesake Wonderland Hills Ave. There are a few other access points, but this is it for over 90% of the community.
Early History Dates To Maxwell Ranch
James P. Maxwell was quite successful and able to purchase thousands of acres of land in North Boulder over a century ago. To this day, there is still a stately home, referred to as The Maxwell House — and surrounded by present day Wonderland Hills. For those interested, the Foothills portion of that property was developed into Pine Brook Hills.
Wonderland Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
Beginning in 1972 and continuing through 1983, Boulder acquired the water rights and nearly eighty acres of land. This is a high traffic/visitation area managed by Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP). Over 389,000 people visits were recorded in 2016-17 — I bet this last year with Covid-19 those numbers spiked. This is one of the crown jewels of Boulder natural beauty. Read more from Boulder Beat News.
Credit Jim Crain, director of open space at the time, with scooping up this parcel. There is a great article in the Daily Camera archives about the sale of the land and lake.
Walk the one and a half mile trail that encircles the lake. You’ll find beautiful views in most every direction and a sense of quiet calm. Public parking is available at 4201 North Broadway. Parking is limited inside the neighborhood – so the lot on Broadway can fill quickly on beautiful Boulder days.
West of the lake is a trail bearing the name. That area is popular with paragliders. The Hiking Project offers a little more information here. Be sure to keep dogs leashed, no swimming in lake. Eagle eyed nature enthusiasts will spot a plethora of wildlife. Every now and again, a mountain like makes the news coming into this area, but with so many people visits, that is rare!
Residential Single Family Homes and Attached Dwellings
There is a mix of housing here. Developed in the Seventies, you’ll find a little bit of everything. One of a kind structures, homes sharing driveways with one another and town house complexes where sales rarely occur. In common, many of these homes boast some of the best views in Boulder. And big lots – especially for homes west of Broadway.
There are pocket parks, swim clubs, tennis courts. Talk to your Boulder Realtor to get the lowdown on who can join which swim or tennis club in the neighborhood!
Being a 70’s subdivision, the trees are big. Mature hardly seems to convey the size of these magnificent trees that provide shade, sanctuary and a sense of peace, quiet and tranquility to Wonderland Hills. The neighborhood came to life as IBM created its campus along the Diagonal Highway, with executives in search of the perfect place to call home!
With all this neighborhood has going for it, don’t be surprised at the price point to own a home in the neighborhood. The mix of attached and single family homes does make this community more approachable. But still, this has always been one of those locations with some sticker shock!
Best Known House: Brenton House
Shaped like mushrooms or mounds of snow, the home was designed by locally renowned architect Charles Haertling in 1971. Each module of the house has a fantastic, and different view. Truly a local landmark. Made forever famous by Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper. See all the futuristic eye candy here.
Besides the red tints – red used to be the color emphasized in photography, you can probably tell this is an older photo because there are no other homes in the frame. These days, this house has another home on either side of it.
Boulder Real Estate News Resource Recommendations
Pennant Investment manages the saltwater pool and tennis court/s: online at https://www.WonderlandHillPoolAndTennis.com/
One of Boulder’s oldest and most beloved neighborhoods: Whittier
Daily Camera article about the purchase of the land and vision of Jim Crain, then open space director in the Seventies: https://www.dailycamera.com/2019/02/16/james-w-leach-i-owned-wonderland-lake-and-gave-it-to-city-as-a-nature-preserve/
Discover more quirky Boulder homes like the Brenton House. Read: https://www.travelboulder.com/quirky-and-unique-houses-in-boulder/