In 1919, when Evergreen was already a favorite summer retreat, the City County of Denver acquired the ranchlands of Dedisse Ranch as a site for Evergreen Lake. These lands included the Bear Creek valley and spectacular views to the west towards Elephant Butte, Hicks Mountain, and Bergen Peak. These three peaks are protected as Denver Mountain Park Conservation/Wilderness areas. The completion of the Bear Creek road in 1915 preceded the acquisition and laid the foundation for building park facilities.
By 1925, Denver had transformed the western valley of Dedisse Ranch into the 18-hole Evergreen Golf Course, complete with its Keys on the Greens clubhouse. By 1928, the eastern valley was flooded and the construction of the dam, the 65-acre Evergreen Lake, and the road along the lake were completed. The beauty of the lake with its perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains was touted as enriching quaint downtown Evergreen.
Dedisse Park’s 420 acres are bisected by Upper Bear Creek road. Most of the acreage consists of forested ridges and open meadows in the foothills vegetation and habitat zone. The park is rich in ecological diversity and is dominated by mixed ponderosa pine forests with open grassy clearings and shrublands on south-facing slopes. During the 1930s, the area north of Upper Bear Creek Road was developed into a park by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Picnicking sites and a stone and timber shelter were created. The sensitive siting of roads, structures, and overlooks was in keeping with the National Park Service’s rustic naturalistic design ethic. The CCC stone shelter and overlook dominates the Park’s most interesting and breathtaking setting. The log and stone shelter is beautifully integrated into the hillside overlooking Evergreen Lake. Today, the shelter site is regularly used by groups through Denver’s reservation system.
Evergreen Lake and Dedisse Park offer a broad mix of outdoor activities suited to all types of weather. Evergreen Park and Recreation (EPRD) built and manages the Lake House. The Evergreen Nature Center is a recent nonprofit effort providing programs and displays during the summer in the historic Warming House. Warmth and skates are still available during the winter. The park road is closed to motor vehicle after picnic shelter; the old road surface provides a quiet walk through the park with wonderful views of the Evergreen Lake and mountains beyond. The City of Denver manages the 18-hole golf course below Dedisse Park. Jefferson County Open Space’s (paved) Pioneer Trail extends through the park connecting to the Evergreen community and looping around Evergreen Lake. The Dedisse Trail weaves through the western and northern portions of the Park, connecting to multiple use trails in Jefferson County’s Alderfer-Three Sisters Park.