Seattle Stairway Foot Tour

2015 Celestial Edition (100K)

Saturday, June 20 from Sunrise to Sunset. Actually, the Stairways are always there, so explore it anytime.

What is the Seattle Stairway Foot Tour?

Seattle has 650 stairways! Of course the Foot Tour isn’t all about the stairs. It is about moving through the neighborhoods on our own two feet and exploring the City and its history. It is a big place, and we are going to see a ton of great stuff in one big day that will take most people a lifetime to explore.

10150717_667621509977850_2361936410922533123_nThe days will grow old as we cross the Seven Hills of Seattle and finally meet Sunset from the hilltops. The stairways will rise up to meet our feet, the wind will be at our back, the sun will shine overhead, and run or walk, we will make it happen together. May the pleasures of the experience outweigh the discomfort of your feet.

This urban run/hike adventure will take place on one of the longest days of the year in order to traverse Seattle’s public stairways safely in one day. While the public stairways are an incredible asset for Seattle as well as targets to navigate towards, the endeavor will also highlight all the Emerald City has to offer: gorgeous views, natural areas, elevation change, gritty littered streets, tree-lined boulevards, cafes, etc. It will be long and no one has finished it before.

 Stairway History

The seven hills of Seattle is an unofficial designation of several hills that historians claim the city of Seattle was built on and around. There is no firm consensus on precisely which hills constitute the seven hills of Seattle. Coincidentally, we will go up, over and around just about all the ones on the list. Where there are hills, there are stairways. More info from Wikipedia and HistoryLink.

A big Thanks to Doug Beyerlein, Susan Ralph and David Ott, and also Jake and Cathy Jaramillo who started the efforts to inventory, chronicle and advocate for the stairways in Seattle.

1924640_668182713255063_5707223543287021134_nOn the summer solstice of 2014, a small group set out complete a 100 kilometer route that promised 11,000 feet of elevation change, and 15,000 stairs to traverse. It was epic, but everyone fell short of completing the planned route. Stats from the running group: 55 miles, +8167 feet of elevation gain / – 7357 feet of elevation loss over 66 stairways and 9577 steps on stairways. Sticking to a daylight schedule, total time on our feet was 15 hours 38 minutes (average pace 17 minute/miles). See the data here (~13 hours before our battery died). Andrew Lichtman, accompanied by Vivian Doorn, completed 50+ miles over two days of trekking across the Emerald City. They ended their journey in Magnolia’s Discovery Park.

“When one thinks of Seattle’s sights, the Space Needle, Farmer’s market, the waterfront are a few of the sights that may come to mind. But yesterday we experienced the city from Her innards. We experienced Her communities, Her people, connected through a system of stairways, making the City whole. Beautiful Alki in the rising sun, the jovial homeless along the way, the crazy oriental guy in Rainier, the occasional, all-approving occasional drunkards taking another zip of their beer as they saluted us up the stairways, the secret community garden, the goth parade by the cemetery, the pair that took a bet where the entry of said cemetery is, the lost young couple making their way up to the city viewpoint, the guy that recognized my French paratrooper tattoo. We saw neighborhoods I didn’t know existed, we went places that we will probably never come back too. In a few days the heaviness and soreness of our bodies will have come and gone but the sights, smalls and big memories will remain a lifetime.” – Jean-Michel Fouard, ultrarunner and 2014 participant

100K Reference Map

https://goo.gl/Fvu9a5 (mobile-friendly too)

Maps, lists, .gpx files and more at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B45D6AUwz-66Znl5NDBqUWpNRlk&usp=sharing

SEAStairTour100k

1st Section: SW Seattle

Mile 0 to 17 miles, 20 stairways, 2578 ft gain and 2659 loss. Starts at  5:11 AM at SW 98th St Stairway, south of Brace Point and the Fauntleroy Ferry Docks. Link to start location: https://goo.gl/maps/tOd1c

SEA Foot Tour West 100K

Transit to Start: 21 Arbor Heights, 22 Alaska Junction, Gatewood. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

Neighborhood/route overview: The route begins at the SW 98th St street end on Puget Sound, and proceeds up the first set of stairs, and then turns north towards the historic Thistle Stairway and Lincoln Park.

  • SW 98th St Stairway: 115 stairs
    Lower end: 50th Ave SW
    Upper end: 48th Ave SW
    Type: wood
  • Thistle Stairway: 367 stairs
    Lower end: 46th Ave SW
    Upper end: Northrop Pl SW
    Type: concrete
    Parking: Lincoln Park
    Note: Formerly the longest continuous stairway in Seattle (before the Howe Stairway was extended through the mountain bike park).

Please note that trails and Stairways through the parks can be confusing, so refer to the mobile-friendly Reference Map. Ask directions if necessary.

  • Lincoln Park Central Stairway: 125 stairs
    Lower end: Near bottom of trail leading down to beach near pool
    Upper end: Trail on top of bluff
    Type: wood and earth
  • Lincoln Park North Beach Stairway: 100 stairs
    Lower end: Lincoln Park beach trail
    Upper end: Lincoln Park bluff trail
    Type: wood and earth

The route proceeds north several miles along Beach Drive. Look for Douglas St after you pass Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and the beach viewpoint. Then, the route and cuts across Alki Point. You will have a few minutes on Alki Beach before climbing the Stairways at Bonair/53rd.

  • Douglas Stairway: 134 stairs
    Lower end: Chilberg Ave SW
    Upper end: Aikins Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Carroll Stairway: 193 stairs
    Lower end: 58th Pl SW
    Upper end: Aikins Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Spokane-61st Stairway: 109
    Lower end: 61st Ave SW
    Upper end: 60th Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Bonair Stairway: 114 stairs
    Lower end: Alki Ave SW
    Upper end: Halleck Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • 53rd Ave SW Stairway: 175 stairs
    Lower end: Halleck Ave SW
    Upper end: Hughes Ave SW
    Type: concrete

You will cut through College Street Ravine as a nice shortcut to access Admiral Way. Once you reach Admiral, take the shortest route southeast to reach SW Hinds and the Spokane St Stairway that leads to the Alki Trail (underneath the West Seattle Freeway).

  • Spokane-Admiral Way Stairway: 106 stairs
    Lower end: 30th Ave SW
    Upper end: Fauntleroy Ave SW
    Type: concrete
    CAUTION Note: Very dangerous crossing of Admiral Way

You travel underneath the Freeway, and then cross a busy intersection at S Spokane St/W Marginal Way. Follow the bike/pedestrian path uphill, climb up via the mossy Charlestown Stairway, and then proceed over Pigeon Point to access numerous Stairways in the Delridge neighborhood.

  • Charlestown Stairway: 227 stairs
    Lower end: Marginal Pl SW
    Upper end: 19th Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Genesee Stairway: 213 stairs
    Lower end: Delridge Ave SW
    Upper end: 21st Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Juneau Stairway: 172 stairs
    Lower end: 23rd Ave SW
    Upper end: 21st Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Graham East Stairway: 134 stairs
    Lower end: 22nd Ave SW
    Upper end: 21st Ave SW
    Type: concrete
    Parking: limited parking on 21st
    Note: East of 21st Ave SW are two additional stairways (the first going down and the second going up), neither of which totals 100 stairs by itself.
  • Graham West Stairway: 140 stairs
    Lower end: 26th Ave SW
    Upper end: High Point Dr SW
    Type: concrete
  • Myrtle West Stairway: 100 stairs
    Lower end: 27th Ave SW
    Upper end: 28th Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Holly Stairway: 110 stairs
    Lower end: Delridge Ave SW
    Upper end: 21st Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • Myrtle East Stairway: 170 stairs
    Lower end: Delridge Way SW
    Upper end: 21st Ave SW
    Type: concrete
  • 19th Ave SW Stairway: 150 stairs
  • Lower end: SW Orchard St
    Upper end: SW Webster St
    Type: concrete
  • Holden Stairway: 135 stairs
    Lower end: Delridge Ave SW
    Upper end: 20th Ave SW
    Type: concrete

You will leave SW Seattle via Holden St, descending forested Highland Park Way to the Duwamish River crossing at the 1st South Bridge.

Estimated end time of the SW Section at S Michigan St (pedestrian walkway at 1st South Bridge): 9:30 AM (approximately 15 min/mi pace).

2nd Section: SE Seattle

Mile 17 to 28, 12 stairways, 1753 ft gain and 1616 loss. Estimate start of this section at 9:30 AM at western end of S Michigan St.

SEA Foot Tour SE 100K

Transit to Start: 131 Burien Transit Center, Highland Park; 132 Burien Transit Center. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov

Neighborhood/route overview: After the crossing of the Duwamish River, run east along busy Michigan Ave to the first aid station at Oxbow Park (Hat n Boots Park). After the aid station, you will proceed north and cross under Interstate 5 on Lucille St. Lucille will lead directly to the Stairway that cross Maple School Ravine, a neighborhood greenbelt.

  • Lucile Stairway: 158 stairs
    Lower end: 18th Ave S
    Upper end: 20th Ave S
    Type: concrete

Topping out into that neighborhood, zig and zag across Beacon Hill in a northeasterly direction to find S Ferdinand St.

  • Ferdinand-53rd Stairway: 171 stairs
    Lower end: 55th Ave S
    Upper end: 53rd Ave S
    Type: concrete
    Parking: Seward Park
    Note: Stairway rebuilt in 2010; new total 171 stairs; to go up all 171 stairs turn south at sidewalk intersection of Ferdinand and 53rd Ave S and go up stairs to 53rd Ave S street end.

Stay on Ferdinand all the way (across Rainier Ave for the first of unfortunately five times; and it might be a good idea to check your water supply, and stop at Lakeview Park if needed) to Lake Washington Boulevard. Enjoy some lake views, and proceed north.

  • Ferdinand-30th Stairway: 125 stairs
    Lower end: 31st Ave S
    Upper end: 30th Ave S
    Type: concrete with middle section of wood and earth

CAUTION on cross traffic: Head west on S Genesee, cross Rainier Ave. to find a couple stairways. You will then have to cross back over Rainier Ave for the third time. Use common sense when negotiating sidewalks and crosswalks around Rainier Ave and Martin Luther King Way. It is a very busy thoroughfare.

  • Adam Stairway: 182 stairs
    Lower end: Letitia Ave S
    Upper end: 34th Ave S
    Type: concrete
  • Lilac Stairway: 113 stairs
    Lower end: Rainier Ave S
    Upper end: 34th Ave S
    Type: concrete

After finding picturesque Horton Hillclimb Corridor (it’s a park and a Stairway!), head west and climb back up onto Beacon Hill.

  • Horton Stairway: 100 stairs
    Lower end: 36th Ave S
    Upper end: 37th Ave S
    Type: concrete
  • Hanford Stairway: 110 stairs
    Lower end: Cheasty Blvd S
    Upper end: 25th Ave S
    Type: concrete

Head north on Beacon Ave, and you may be able to duck into one of the cafes to fill water again here if needed. Once you reach S Atlantic St, you descend back into the Rainier Valley. Stick to S Massachusetts St all the way until you reach the northwest corner of Colman Park.

  • Atlantic Stairway: 120 stairs
    Lower end: 16th Ave S
    Upper end: 15th Ave S
    Type: concrete

When heading downhill through Colman Park stay generally to the right, but always continue in a downhill direction. Go under BOTH ped underpasses before turning south on the pedestrian path along Lake Washington.

  • Colman Park Stairway: 197 stairs
    Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd
    Upper end: 31st Ave S
    Type: concrete and earth (dirt trail)
    Parking: limited parking on 31st
    Note: stairway trail through Colman Park

After you ascend Dose Stairway, turn immediately onto the gravel path (heading back into the south end of Colman Park) at the top of the stairs and stay to the right at trail intersections.

  • Dose Stairway: 138 stairs
    Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd
    Upper end: 34th Ave S
    Type: concrete

Turn right and go under JUST THE FIRST pedestrian underpass and then left onto paved path to Lake Washington Blvd. Water can be found at Mt Baker Beach. There is no sidewalk along Lake Washington Blvd so be careful of cars and bikes until reaching 36th.

Proceed north until Day St, head up and over the Interstate 90 lid to Sam Smith Park. Near the bottom of the Day West Stairway, the route actually turns right and goes past the utility buildings to get to Yakima Ave.

  • Day East Stairway: 198 stairs
    Lower end: 36th Ave S
    Upper end: Lake Washington Blvd
    Type: concrete
  • Day West Stairway: 147 stairs
    Lower end: ped/bike path under Mt Baker Ridge
    Upper end: 31st Ave S
    Type: concrete

Estimated end time of the SE Section at Day West Stairway in Sam Smith Park (31st Ave S near the pedestrian-bike tunnel): 12:30 PM.

3rd Section. Central East Seattle

Mile 28 to 40, 20 stairways, 2651 ft gain and 2783 loss. Estimate start of this section at 12:30 PM at Day West Stairway at Sam Smith Park.

SEA Foot Tour CE 100K

Transit to Start: 14 Mt Baker, Mount Baker Transit Center; 8 Rainier Beach, Martin Luther King Junior Way South. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

Neighborhood/route overview: Leaving Sam Smith Park, you will encounter many Stairways in succession on the ridge above Lake Washington. Utilize the reference map and go at an appropriate pace as you wind through parks and curvy streets. You will travel through Frink Park and Madrona Park via a combination of steps and dirt/gravel paths.

  • Dearborn Stairway: 154 stairs
    Lower end: 32nd Ave S
    Upper end: 30th Ave S
    Type: concrete
  • Frink Park Stairway: 187 stairs
    Lower end: below Lake Washington Blvd
    Upper end: 31st Ave S
    Type: earth and wood (dirt trail) and concrete

CAUTION when wayfinding through parks/departing Stairways on Lake Washington: After the Jackson Stairway the route goes along Lake Washington Blvd. There is no shoulder along this stretch of road. The street sign at the intersection with Erie is missing all of the letters except for the “E”.

  • Jackson Stairway: 135 stairs (rebuilt 2011)
    Lower end: Lakeside Ave S
    Upper end: 35th Ave S
    Type: concrete
  • Randolph Stairway: 125 stairs
    Lower end: Wellington Ave E
    Upper end: Randolph Pl E
    Type: concrete
  • James Stairway: 106 stairs
    Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd
    Upper end: 38th Ave E
    Type: concrete

Water can be found at Madrona Beach Park. On the Madrona Park Stairway trail to Spring St stay to the right at all trail intersections so that you are travelling parallel to Lake Washington Blvd.

  • Madrona Park Stairway: 100 stairs
    Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd
    Upper end: E Grand Ave
    Type: wood and earth
  • 38th Ave E Stairway: 136 stairs
    Lower end: E Newport Way
    Upper end: E Union St
    Type: concrete
  • 37th Ave E Stairway: 101 stairs
    Lower end: Dorffel Dr E
    Upper end: E High Lane
    Type: concrete
  • Thomas Stairway: 125 stairs
    Lower end: 26th Ave E
    Upper end: 25th Ave E (west sidewalk)
    Type: concrete
    CAUTION Note: use caution crossing Madison, a very busy street.

Once you reach Madison St, there is a good ascent up and over Capitol Hill to downtown. Utilize the reference map and go an appropriate pace as you wind through Freeway Park and Pike Place Market. In order not to backtrack through Freeway Park, you descend straight through on University St, and once you reach 6th Ave, you will head south to loop back north into the park on 7th Ave. Enjoy the brutalist architecture and greenery of Freeway Park. Interstate 5 runs underneath this downtown park.

  • Freeway Park Stairway: 122 stairs
    Lower end: 6th Ave and University St
    Upper end: 9th Ave and University St
    Type: concrete
  • Convention Center Stairway: 111 stairs
    Lower end: 7th Ave and Union St
    Upper end: Freeway Park
    Type: concrete

Leaving Freeway Park, find University St again and head downhill towards Puget Sound. Feel free to go down the steps along University by Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Art Museum. Continue until you reach Alaskan Way (under the Viaduct), passing through the beautiful Harbor Steps.

  • The Harbor Steps: 107 stairs
    Lower end: Western Ave
    Upper end: 1st Ave
    Type: concrete
    Note: “Private Property – Public Welcome”

Head north to the Pike St Hillclimb. You can expect the Market to be BUSY, so be prepared to get cozy with the tourists. You will climb up to and through the Market, exiting on 1st Ave.

  • Pike Street Hillclimb: 163 stairs
    Lower end: Alaskan Way
    Upper end: Pike Place Market
    Type: concrete
    Note: Stairs go through Public Market; upper inside section 54 stairs lower, outside section has 109 stairs. You will cross the Western Ave overpass.

Head downhill (southerly direction) to Union, and turn west to descend the Union Stairway.

  • Union Stairway: 141 stairs
    Lower end: Alaskan Way
    Upper end: 1st Ave
    Type: metal to Western; concrete Western to 1st

Turn back uphill and proceed until you reach the Lower Market Stairway. Head up again up to and through the Market again. The Market is a great spot to find much-deserved water, snacks and other refreshments. 

  • Lower Market Stairway: 110 stairs
    Lower end: Western Ave
    Upper end: Pike Place Market
    Type: concrete and wood
    Note: 56 outside stairs and 54 inside market stairs. Check out the Gum Wall in lower Post Alley before descending.

Leave downtown heading east via Stewart St, and follow it until you hit Yale Ave at a busy intersection with with Denny Way. You survived downtown metro! Make your way to Eastlake Ave, and follow the Lakeview Boulevard overpass over Interstate 5. Enjoy views of Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill. Follow Lakeview until you encounter a greenbelt. Watch for Egan House, a traingular-shaped architectural landmark. CAUTION on traversing the greenbelts: Follow the faint path that leads steeply up into the ravine. It is recommended to travel in groups. Wind your way up into the parking lot of St. Mark’s Cathedral, and then head north along 10th Ave. Enjoy descending Blaine St Stairway and the Howe Steps – these are some of the biggest and best Stairways that Seattle has to offer.

  • Blaine Stairway: 293 stairs
    Lower end: Lakeview Ave E
    Upper end: 10th Ave E
    Type: concrete
  • Howe Stairway: 388 stairs (longest continuous outdoor public stairway in Seattle)
    Lower end: Franklin Ave E
    Upper end: 10th Ave E
    Type: concrete
    Note: stairway goes through City of Seattle Mountain Bike Skills Park under I-5.

Head east, up and over Capitol Hill to enter Interlaken Park via Galer St. Behind the potty (sorry, only available for use by Metro bus drivers), there will be wooden steps that descend through the ravine until you encounter Interlaken Boulevard, which is closed to car traffic.

  • Crescent Stairway: 103 stairs
    Lower end: E Interlaken Blvd
    Upper end: Interlake Dr E
    Type: wood and earth

Head west, and ascend the stairway that you will find on your uphill side (NOTE the grove of Redwood trees. You will be back here shortly). Follow the Stairway uphill until you meet the other end of Interlaken Boulevard.

  • Interlaken Stairway: 101 stairs
    Lower end: 22nd Ave E
    Upper end: Interlaken Dr E
    Type: wood/stone and earth

Turn north and continue until you reach a path on your right that descends/doubles back towards the grove of Redwoods. Here the trail descends going north and exits onto 22nd Ave. Follow 22nd Ave until you reach the Montlake Boulevard/Montlake Cut.

  • 22nd Ave E Stairway: 107 stairs
    Lower end: E Blaine St
    Upper end: E Howe St
    Type: concrete

There is a grocery at the corner of the busy Montlake intersection to acquire some water, snacks and other refreshments.

Estimated end time of the Central Section at Montlake Cut: 4:00 PM.

4th Section. N/NE Seattle

Mile 40 to 46, 4 stairways, 776 ft gain and 716 loss. Estimated start time of this section at Montlake Bridge at 4:00 PM.

SEA Foot Tour NE 100K

Transit to Start: 43 Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill/University District, Montlake; 48 Loyal Heights, University District/Mount Baker Transit Center, University District. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

Neighborhood/route overview: Heading north along the east side of Montlake Boulevard, you will pass University of Washington (UW) Husky Stadium. Then, you will reach UW Wahkiakum Lane Stairway at the north end of the basketball stadium. Take the overpass across Mountlake Boulevard. Following the route, you will wind back and forth along the eastern edge of the UW campus using Stairways and overpasses.

  • UW Wahkiakum Lane Stairway: 174 stairs
    Lower end: UW Montlake parking lot
    Upper end: Stevens Way (UW campus)
    Type: concrete
  • UW Padelford Stairway: 131 stairs
    Lower end: parking garage entrance at Mason Rd
    Upper end: Stevens Way at Padelford Hall
    Type: concrete
    Note: stairway goes through Padelford Hall parking garage
  • UW Whatcom Lane Stairway: 108 stairs
    Lower end: UW Montlake parking lot
    Upper end: Pend Oreille Rd (UW campus)

After the UW Whatcom Lane Stairway, you will have to negotiate a busy crossing Montlake Boulevard/25 Ave NE to make it over to the Burke Gilman Trail. Follow the Burke Gilman Trail north to NE 51st St.

  • NE 52nd St Stairway: 233 stairs (215 before reconstruction)
    Lower end: Ravenna Ave NE
    Upper end: 20th Ave NE
    Type: concrete

Once you ascend the 52nd Ave Stairway, make moves southwest towards Aurora Ave/N 36th St. You can cross back over Interstate 5 at NE 50th St and NE 45th St. Off of Bridge Way, you will find a wooded path and minor staircase that will lead you down to visit the Fremont Troll.

Estimated end time of the N/NE Section at Aurora Avenue & 36th St: 5:15 PM.

5th Section. Mostly Magnolia

Mile 46 to 57, 9 stairways, 2171 ft gain and 2212 loss. Estimated start time at 5:15 PM at Aurora & 36th St at the Fremont Troll.

SEA Foot Tour Mag 100K

Transit to Start: 16 Northgate, Wallingford; 26 East Green Lake; 82 East Green Lake. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

Neighborhood/route overview: From the Troll, make your way downhill to Fremont Ave and cross the Fremont Bridge on the west side of the road. Take the first right by the funeral home and then head north onto the Ship Canal Trail. Travel along the Trail until you reach 33rd Ave. Then, head south to Bertona St. Welcome to the north side of Queen Anne Hill! Follow Bertona St west until you reach the Stairway that leads to a very busy 15th Ave W. CAUTION on the exit onto the sidewalks. Head north and ascend the Ruffner Stairway.

  • Bertona Stairway: 112 stairs
    Lower end: 15th Ave W
    Upper end: 14th Ave W
    Type: concrete
    Note: These stairs are often overrun with blackberry vines and need maintenance.
  • Ruffner Stairway: 107 stairs
    Lower end: 14th Ave W
    Upper end: 13th Ave W (east sidewalk)
    Type: concrete
    Note: Stairs have been rebuilt since 1999; no. of stairs reduced from 138 to 107.

Make your way north to Emerson and negotiate the traffic around the cloverleaf around W Nickerson St, while you find the underpass that goes under 15th Ave W. Keep heading westerly along Emerson St. until you reach Gilman Ave W. Head north and this becomes W Government Way. More than likely there will be water (and maybe SNACKS) at the Seven Hills Running Shop

Continue on Government Way into Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest! Turn into the parking lot of the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), and there will be a kiosk (it would be handy to pick up a trail map here and water at the front of the ELC if needed) at the trailhead that leads north. Follow the wayfinding signage onto the Loop Trail. Follow the Loop Trail north and then west past THREE road crossings. You will reach a fourth paved road, and you will see a forested meadow and bench. Turn NORTH and this path will turn into a dirt path, which you will follow. Keep a look out for the Discovery Park North Bluff Stairway that descends to the beach.

  • Discovery Park North Bluff Stairway: 201 stairs
    Lower end: North Shore Trail
    Upper end: Loop Trail
    Type: wood and earth

At the bottom, head west and follow the path towards the Discovery Park lighthouse. Keep on the path around the Sewage Treatment Plant and find yourself in a parking lot (this is the western end of Discovery Park Boulevard). Head east and uphill, following path/sidewalk along the Boulevard until you reach a kiosk on the west side of the road. Head north onto the Hidden Valley Trail. Follow that trail uphill. You will find water at the restrooms along the way. finding wooden stairs, and staying left.

  • Discovery Park Hidden Valley Stairway: 108 stairs
    Lower end: Utah Ave
    Upper end: Loop Trail
    Type: wood and earth

You will find a fairly new trail reroute that has a surface of crushed gravel. Continue east to the same paved Loop Trail junction with the bench. Here you will double back to the southeast and find wayfinding signage onto the Loop Trail. Stay on the Loop Trail until it joins a two-way road (this is Discovery Park Boulevard). Follow the sidewalk down Discovery Park Boulevard back towards the beach. Towards the bottom of the hill, you will pass the kiosk again and keep a lookout for a set of stairs on the west side of the road. Take those stairs, and you will wind around and ascend the South Beach Trail and Discovery Park South Bluff Stairway. Keep on climbing, and you will reach the South Bluff viewpoint and again rejoin the Loop Trail.

  • Discovery Park South Bluff Stairway: 216 stairs
    Lower end: Utah Ave
    Upper end: Loop Trail
    Type: wood and earth

Continue south on the Loop Trail; on the other side of the “sandbox” you will find a path of crushed rock that you will follow east through the South Meadow and across the Parade Ground. Skirt the south side of the large, yellow homes and make your way northeast along dirt path to the Discovery Park Stairway.

  • Discovery Park Stairway: 112 stairs
    Lower end: Loop Trail (in park)
    Upper end: Louisana St (in park)
    Type: concrete

At the bottom of the Stairway, head south on the paved service road. Stay on the pavement, which will lead you to the very southeastern edge of the park. When you cannot go east any longer, take the trail south out of the park to W Emerson St. Continue south on 36th Ave until you reach Dravus St. Ascend the Dravus Stairway and follow the street until 42nd Ave.

  • Dravus Stairway: 119 stairs
    Lower end: 36th Ave W
    Upper end: 37th Ave W
    Type: concrete

Then, travel south until you reach Glenmont Ln. Follow Glenmont downhill towards Magnolia Bluff. On the other side of the Magnolia Boulevard, find and descend Glenmont Stairway. At the bottom, head south to find Montevista Stairway.

  • Glenmont Stairway: 202 stairs
    Lower end: Perkins Lane W
    Upper end: Magnolia Blvd W
    Type: lower stairs concrete; upper stairs wood
    CAUTION Note: Lower concrete stairs very steep and uneven.
  • Montevista Stairway: 154 stairs
    Lower end: Perkins Lane W
    Upper end: Magnolia Blvd W (parking lot)
    Type: concrete
    Parking: Viewpoint parking lot at top of stairs
    CAUTION Note: Stairs very steep and uneven.

At the top of Montevista, turn south onto Magnolia Boulevard and continue until you reach Howe St. Continue east on Howe St. until you reach Thorndyke Ave, and take that street downhill to Dravus St. Continue east, cross the overpass to get into Queen Anne!

Estimated end time of the NW/W Section at Dravus St & 15th Ave W: 7:45 PM.

6th Section. Queen Anne (Stair Country)!

Mile 57 to 65, 12 stairways, 1563 ft gain and 1515 ft loss. Estimated start time of the Queen Anne Section at Dravus & 15th at 7:45 PM.

SEA Foot Tour QA 100K

Transit to Start: 32 Seattle Center, Fremont; D Line Downtown Seattle, Uptown. More at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

Neighborhood/route overview: Moving south along Dravus St, you will find Barrett, Raye and Wheeler Stairways off of 15th Ave.

  • Barrett Stairway: 122 stairs
    Lower end: 15th Ave W
    Upper end: 14th Ave W
    Type: concrete
  • Raye Stairway: 106 stairs
    Lower end: 15th Ave W
    Upper end: 14th Ave W (upper)
    Type: concrete
  • Wheeler Stairway: 125 stairs
    Lower end: 15th Ave W
    Upper end: 13th Ave W (upper)
    Type: concrete

Ascending Wheeler St, you will turn south at the quaint, Soundview Terrace park at 11th Ave. Make your way south to Lee St, and ascend the Lee St Stairway.

  • Lee Stairway: 108 stairs
    Lower end: 9th Ave W
    Upper end: 8th Ave W
    Type: concrete

You will encounter a beautiful wall at 8th Ave, which is the base of Queen Anne Boulevard. You can either proceed directly south to the Highland Stairway, or we would suggest you take the ornate minor stairway up to the Boulevard. Once at the top, continue south on the sidewalk until you reach the viewpoint at Marshall Park. There you can enjoy the view, and then descend another minor stairway back down to 8th Ave W. You will have to walk south a bit to find a paved path above the Highland Stairway.

  • Highland Stairway: 112 stairs
    Lower end: below 9th Ave W
    Upper end: 8th Ave W (lower)
    Type: concrete
    Note: Lower end leads to residences and is included on city’s official stair inventory

Emerging at the bottom at Olympic Place, travel south until your reach Kinnear Park. Enter the park, and find a path that leads east to the other end of the park. At the eastern end, you will find the new, wooden Kinnear Stairway. Follow it down into Lower Kinnear, and bear left at the tennis court.

  • Kinnear Stairway
    Lower end: Lower Kinnear, near Roy St end
    Upper end: W Olympic Pl, just west of 5th Ave N
    Type: wood and earth

You will end up on W Roy St. Find your way to 3rd Ave W, and ascend until you reach Kerry Park and the most stereotypical Seattle view. Savor the view for the last push! Continue east on Highland Drive across Queen Anne Ave. Follow the jogs until you reach the top end of 2nd Ave N. Descend 2nd Ave via several Stairways until you reach Ward St. Jog one block east to 3rd Ave N, and descend the Stairway to Aloha St.

  • 2nd Ave N Stairway: 111 stairs
    Lower end: Prospect St
    Upper end: Highland Drive
    Type: concrete
  • 3rd Ave N Stairway: 121 stairs
    Lower end: Aloha St
    Upper end: Ward St (upper part of divided road)
    Type: concrete

Find your way south to Mercer St and take the underpass to cross Aurora Ave. Once across Aurora, make your way northeasterly to the bike/pedestrian path that runs along South Lake Union. Continue north until you reach the Lower Galer Stairway. This is the beginning of the end: the Westlake Stairclimb (4 consecutive stairways, and the biggest and best for last at 536 steps). Follow Galer and these stairs/overpass all the way up to the top of Queen Anne.

  • Lower Galer Stairway: 105 stairs
    Lower end: Westlake Ave N (east sidewalk)
    Upper end: Dexter Ave N
    Type: concrete
    Note: connects Lake Union to Queen Anne Hill via Middle Galer Stairway and Upper Galer Stairway. The total (including 38 between Taylor (lower level) and Taylor (upper level)) is 504.
  • Middle Galer Stairway: 179 stairs
    Lower end: Dexter Ave N
    Upper end: 6th Ave N
    Type: concrete
    Note: Stairway crosses Aurora Ave on pedestrian overpass.

There is a jog to the north in the route when you reach 6th Ave at the condo complex, which leads you to the Garfield Stairway)!

  • Garfield Stairway: 170 stairs (public stairs only)
    Lower end: Cascade Terrace Apts driveway
    Upper end: 5th Ave N
    Type: concrete

The complex of Stairways officially ends at Galer St/4th Ave. You may continue up to the communications towers and the highest point in Queen Anne.

  • Upper Galer Stairway: 182 stairs
    Lower end: 5th Ave N
    Upper end: 4th Ave N
    Type: concrete

Happy Solstice! Congratulations!

Estimated end time of the Queen Anne Section at the high point of Galer: The Sweet Seattle Sunset.

The Rules

The Foot Tour adopts Doug Beyerlein’s method for counting public stairways. These can be found at: http://www.publicstairs.com/index_000001.htm. The most pronounced distinction is that the public stairways on the Foot Tour have 100 or more stairs, which distinguishes them from the minor stairways in the city.

  1. “Stairways start at the bottom and end at the top and must be continuous. Sounds simple.  When they cross a street they still count as one stairway if they are not broken by a length of roadway along which one must travel to continue up the stairs….
  2. Curbs do not count as stairs. When stairs start at the bottom they start at the sidewalk, not the street.  And when stairways cross streets the step down the curb and the step back up the other side are not counted.
  3. All stairs are equal. Some have only an inch or two of rise (how high you have to step up).  Others are very steep and have six inches or more of rise.  For counting purposes they are equal.
  4. Stairways must be available for public access. Stairways on private property are not counted unless they are signed as open to the public and are free (no access fee charged). Stairways on the University of Washington campus in Seattle are considered open to public access, as are the Pike Street Hillclimb stairs in downtown Seattle….
  5. Stairways must be primarily outdoors. Stairways inside public or private buildings do not count.  The Padelford Hall parking garage stairway on the University of Washington campus is considered primarily outdoors even though much of it is undercover because it is not climate controlled.  A similar situation exists for the Pike Street Hillclimb stairway.
  6. Sidewalk bars are not counted as stairs. Some sidewalks on steep Seattle streets have slightly raised concrete bars across them.  These bars give the pedestrian more traction going up or down the hill.  These sidewalks and their bars are not stairways.
  7. Major stairways must have 100 or more stairs. To be considered a major stairway and included on the list and map a stairway must have at least 100 continuous stairs.  That is a totally arbitrary decision on my part, but it is a good way to separate the major stairways from the minor ones.”
  8. Added Rule: We only go UP or DOWN a public stairway in order to avoid out-and-back routes, which generally add mileage to the route.

How long is the route?

One may choose to complete the route as a “thru-hike” or break the route up into sections. The proposed route moves more-or-less counterclockwise around the city, covering more than a 100 kilometers, approximately 65 miles.

We have excluded the following Stairways in the farthest corners of the city in order to complete the 100K during daylight hours running/hiking:

  • Golden Gardens Park Stairway Trail: 119 stairs Lower end: Golden Gardens Park Upper end: Golden Gardens Park Type: concrete on dirt trail
  • NW 85th St Stairway: 287 stairs Lower end: Golden Gardens Dr NW (lower end) Upper end: 32nd Ave NW Type: concrete with some dirt stairs and dirt path
  • NE 135th Stairway: 196 stairs Lower end: 42nd Ave NE Upper end: 40th Ave NE Type: concrete
  • NE 95th St Stairway: 132 stairs Lower end: Lake City Way NE Upper end: 20th Ave NE Type: concrete
  • Redwing Stairway: 103 stairs Lower end: Rainier Ave S Upper end: Water Ave S Type: concrete
  • Cooper Stairway: 215 stairs Lower end: Rainier Ave S Upper end: Water Ave S Type: concrete

The Stairways named above do show on the Reference Map, so they are worth exploring. Stay tuned for a Foot Tour Guide of the “Big Round” that includes all these Stairways, which includes more miles and more stairs!

1797485_670193779720623_5266597833664994874_nNotes on safety

We designed the recommended route to balance 1) shortest route between the public stairways, 2) safest/less congested route between the public stairways (using Seattle’s official and proposed Greenways to the greatest extent practical), and 3) the Seattle experience and sights along the way. The route passes by a variety of parks, public buildings and businesses for bathrooms, water and food. There will be sections of the route of approximately 2-3 miles at most, particularly in the deepest residential corners of the city, that lack some of the basic comforts.

Like any city, this is a dense urban area, which we feel is largely safe. Please be aware of your surroundings at all times and think about safety, particularly when crossing streets or walking in the roadway in neighborhoods lacking sidewalks. Some of the stairways are within Seattle’s forested parkland, which offers a good variety of terrain and its own challenges with footing. While most sections are better covered during daylight hours, there are several stairways that one should traverse with caution due to personal experiences and reports from these areas. We will note the word CAUTION and provide alternate routes as appropriate.

We have excluded the following Stairways (due to safety):

  • Bayview Stairway, located on the west side of Beacon Hill: 115 stairs
    Lower end: below 13th Ave S
    Upper end: 14th Ave S
    Type: concrete
  • 8th Ave Stairway, located off Yesler and the International District: 154 stairs
    Lower end: S Jackson St
    Upper end: S Washington St
    Type: concrete

Resources

Beyerlein, Doug. Seattle Stairs. Community Walk. http://www.communitywalk.com/seattle/wa/seattle_stairs/map/388644#0004p4@c

Beyerlein, Doug. Stairs of the Pacific Northwest. Northwest Runner. October 2009. http://www.publicstairs.com/index_000019.htm

Fonda, Laura. Epic Stairway Run makes its way through Queen Anne this Saturday. Queen Anne View. June 14, 2014. http://www.queenanneview.com/2014/06/16/epic-stairway-run-makes-its-way-through-queen-anne-next-saturday

Horton, Thomas. Queen Anne Public Stairs. http://qastairs.com/index.html

Jaramillo, Jake and Cathy. Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-And-Down Guide To City Neighborhoods. Mountaineer Books. November 12, 2012.

Koeppel, Dan. “I Climbed Los Angeles: One small step for our stair-obsessed man, one giant leap for fitness freaks everywhere.” Backpacker Magazine, June 2004. http://www.backpacker.com/gear/electronics/gps-units/i-climbed-los-angeles/#sthash.i1qNtcW6.dpuf

PublicStairs.com. http://www.publicstairs.com

Seattle Stairway Foot Tour Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/seastairrun

Seattle Stairway Foot Tour Google Map https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zRqVEVOvaI2Y.kmPbInSmwhfk

Seattle Stairway Walks. http://www.seattlestairwaywalks.com

Thomas, Liz. “Walking the world’s first urban thru-hike.” Liz Thomas: Long Distance Adventure Hiking. May 7, 2013. http://www.eathomas.com/2013/05/07/walking-the-worlds-first-urban-thru-hike

Wiley Lane, Kelly. Adventures by Foot Blog. February 2015. http://adventuresbyfoot.blogspot.com

Winn, Yitka. “Mission accomplished! Seattle’s 525 staircases ascended.” Outdoors NW. July/August 2010. http://sleepinglady.com/pdfs/Outdoors%20NW%20JulyAugust%202010.pdf

Yandel, Jeannie. The Hidden Legacy of Seattle Stairways. February 8, 2013. http://kuow.org/post/hidden-legacy-seattle-stairways

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