Hidden Lake is located on the south edge of Westminster, at West 68th Avenue between Lowell and Sheridan boulevards.
The 87.8-acre body of water is surrounded by residences, along with Westminster High School to the north and the 8.6-acre Hidden Lake Open Space to the west. Many of the homes around the lake include boat docks.
While much of the lakeshore is private property, public access to the western shoreline is found by parking along West 69th Avenue off Sheridan Boulevard. Hidden Lake Park, located on its eastern shore along Lowell Boulevard and West 66th Avenue, also provides a point of access.
Water enters the lake from the northwest and comes primarily from stormwater runoff. This may be supplemented by the Reno Juchem Ditch, which originates from Clear Creek. Excess water exits the lake through a spillway located along the short eastern dam wall near Hidden Lake Park. From there it enters a storm drain and ends up in Clear Creek.
The lake and its water have not been used in decades other than for recreational purposes. Today the lakebed is owned by four different entities and these are separate from the surface recreational rights. Ownership and access issues involved litigation that took place over many years.
When Colorado was first settled in the 1860s, there was just dry land and no lake at this location. However, one appeared there by the late 1880s – how this came about is not currently known.
Over the following decade, this shallow body of water came to be known as Westminster Lake or Mayham Reservoir. It appears to have been about the same size that it is today. These early names indicate that the lake was originally named after Westminster University and not the town of Westminster, which was founded years later in 1911. Westminster University was a Presbyterian college located two miles north of Hidden Lake between Federal and Lowell boulevards (the landmark facility later became associated with the Pillar of Fire Church and Belleview College and remains standing today). Throughout the 1890s, New York philanthropist Henry Mayham (1851-1927) was busy promoting the school. In addition to raising funds and working with architects, he speculated in area properties and development schemes. Through means that are no longer clear but may be attributed to Henry Mayham himself, the large shallow lake south of the college became known as Westminster Lake or Mayham Reservoir, names that stuck with it for some time.
By the 1930s, the lake had become known as Mud Lake, a more fitting designation because it was actually a very shallow, silted-in body of water that was largely a mud flat. Open fields and country residences surrounded the lake, which by then was situated one-half mile south of the original town of Westminster. A marsh occupied the grounds to the west, between the lake and Sheridan Boulevard.
During the 1950s, a greenhouse operation was constructed along the lake’s north shore, possibly to take advantage of the nearby water. It also appears that the eastern shore was reshaped during this period to form an earthen dam wall.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, the lake retreated somewhat from its earlier shoreline as it became silted-in and shallower. Residences began to appear along the south shore during the 1960s and in 1976 Westminster High School was constructed to the north (this building was demolished and replaced with the new high school found there today which opened in 2010). During the mid-1980s, the lake was dredged and deepened.
Over the following several years, the soils excavated from the lakebed were used by the Colorado Department of Transportation to construct the nearby segment of Interstate 76 between Lowell Boulevard and Interstate 25.
Deepening of the lake improved its overall health and appearance and it remains a place of recreation and scenic beauty today.