The city is a big place that can take a lifetime to explore. Seattle has over 650 public stairs of varying lengths and elevation challenges, which allows us both an opportunity to see the Emerald City’s incredible assets as well as some great forests that you might not otherwise visit.

Hilly History: The seven hills of Seattle is an unofficial designation that gives a nod to our local topography left behind by the retreat of glaciers in the past and the fact that the city of Seattle was built on and around these prominent topographical features. Where there are steep hills, one can generally find some forest and…Stairways.

Disco South Bluff Stairway

Disco South Bluff Stairway

Stair Country Chronicles: 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.

Safety First: The public Stairways on the list below have 100 or more stairs (hence Stairways with a big “S”), which distinguishes them from other minor staircases in the city, and cross through 16 different Seattle parks. While most of these areas are very safe, please be aware of your surroundings at all times; Stairways are better explored during daylight hours. Some of the Stairways are within Seattle’s forested parkland, which offers a good variety of terrain and its own challenges with footing.

Trails and Stairways through the parks can be also confusing, so refer to this great, mobile-friendly Reference Map and ask directions if necessary. Here are a few of our favorite Stairways  – grab your sneakers and check some out!

Charlestown Stairway

Charlestown Stairway leading between Pigeon Point neighborhood and the Duwamish/Alki Trail junction

  • LincolnParkStairwaysThere are two major stairways in Lincoln Park that lead you up and down the western bluff near Colman Pool and the North Bluff. You can take some time to compare the North Bluff (in active forest restoration) vs. the Central Stairway (much of this section has yet to receive restoration work). Friends of Lincoln Park is a group of volunteers who are active in this regional park.

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

Surface: wood and earth

 

Lincoln Park North Beach Stairway: 100 stairs

Lower end: Lincoln Park beach trail

Upper end: Lincoln Park bluff trail

Surface: wood and earth

  • CharlestownStairwayCharlestown Stairway traverses the north end of the West Duwamish Greenbelt between the Pigeon Point neighborhood and the intersection of the Alki & Duwamish Trails. This is a fairly steep Stairway, in an obscure part of West Seattle that we often glance at while driving westbound from the West Seattle Freeway.

Charlestown Stairway: 227 stairs

Lower end: Marginal Place SW

Upper end: 19th Avenue SW

Surface: concrete

Graham West Stairway: 140 stairs

Lower end: 26th Avenue SW

Upper end: High Point Dr SW

Surface: concrete

  • Myrtle EastMyrtle East Stairway runs along the southern boundary of Delridge & Myrtle Greenspace. This greenspace is appropriately named because it lies at the junction with Delridge Way and Myrtle Street. A youth crew from the Student Conservation Association completed some invasive plant removal here in 2013, and then subsequently Seattle Parks Naturalists and Forest Stewards have hosted work parties here with students from Sanislo Elementary School (as part of the Urban Forestry Project) and Boren STEM.

Myrtle East Stairway: 170 stairs

Lower end: Delridge Way SW

Upper end: 21st Avenue SW

Surface: concrete

  • Lucile StairwayLucile Stairway traverses Maple School Ravine, a neighborhood natural area on the western edge of Beacon Hill. Walking distance from Cleveland High School, this park is regularly visited by the eco-club with YMCA Earth Service Corps staff, but we still need a dedicated volunteer Forest Steward here. Let us know if you are interested by contacting info@greenseattle.org!

Lucile Stairway: 158 stairs

Lower end: 18th Avenue S

Upper end: 20th Avenue S

Surface: concrete

Hanford Stairway: 110 stairs

Lower end: Cheasty Boulevardd S

Upper end: 25th Avenue S

Surface: concrete

  • Colman StairwayColman Park Stairway through Colman Park highlights the P-Patch and twisty Lake Washington Boulevard. You get the chance to stroll through underpass tunnels and wooded trails.

Colman Park Stairway: 197 stairs

Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd

Upper end: 31st Avenue S

Surface: concrete and earth (dirt trail)

Parking: limited parking on 31st

  • Dose StairwayDose Stairway connects Mount Baker neighborhood to Mount Baker Beach through the middle of Colman Park (north side) and Mount Baker Park (south side).

Dose Stairway: 138 stairs

Lower end: Lake Washington Blvd

Upper end: 34th Avenue S

Surface: concrete

Frink Park Stairway: 187 stairs

Lower end: below Lake Washington Boulevard

Upper end: 31st Avenue South

Surface: earth and wood (dirt trail) and concrete

  • Madrona StairwayMadrona Park Stairway through Madrona Woods, sometimes referred to as the “Stairway to Heaven,” which one can follow from one end of the park to the other.

Madrona Park Stairway: 100 stairs

Lower end: Lake Washington Boulelvard

Upper end: East Grand Ave

Surface: wood and earth

  • Blaine StairwayBlaine Stairway through St. Marks Greenbelt is one of the tallest Stairways in the city. You can take a short side trip through the gorgeous Streissguth Gardens and a small, adjacent restoration area to the south.

Blaine Stairway: 293 stairs

Lower end: Lakeview Avenue E

Upper end: 10th Avenue E

Surface: concrete

Crescent Stairway: 103 stairs

Lower end: E Interlaken Boulevard

Upper end: Interlake Drive E

Surface: wood and earth

 

Interlaken Stairway: 101 stairs

Lower end: 22nd Avenue E

Upper end: Interlaken Drive E

Surface: wood/stone and earth

  • TGolden Gardens Stairwayshere are two big Stairways at Golden Gardens. These are a couple of our favorites: the Golden Gardens Park Stairway Trail in the northern part of the park, and the NW 85th Stairway that gains several hundred feet from Golden Gardens Drive (past the aqueduct) up to 32nd Ave/85th St.

Golden Gardens Park Stairway Trail: 119 stairs

Lower end: Golden Gardens Park

Upper end: Golden Gardens Park

Surface: concrete on dirt trail

 

NW 85th St Stairway: 287 stairs

Lower end: Golden Gardens Drive NW (lower end)

Upper end: 32nd Avenue NW

Surface: concrete with some dirt stairs and dirt path

  • Disco StairwaysDiscovery Park North Bluff, South Bluff, Hidden Valley and Kennedy 500 East are four Stairways that meander through the 534-acre Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest park. This place has it all: bluffs, creeks, madrone forests, and lots of elevation change. Check the GSP calendar – various Forest Stewards and partner organizations host work parties in Discovery every month.

Discovery Park North Bluff Stairway: 201 stairs

Lower end: North Shore Trail

Upper end: Loop Trail

Surface: wood and earth

 

Discovery Park Hidden Valley Stairway: 108 stairs

Lower end: Utah Avenue

Upper end: Loop Trail

Surface: wood and earth

 

Discovery Park South Bluff Stairway: 216 stairs

Lower end: Utah Avenue

Upper end: Loop Trail

Surface: wood and earth

 

Discovery Park Stairway: 112 stairs

Lower end: Loop Trail (in park)

Upper end: Louisana St (in park)

Surface: concrete

Kinnear Stairway: 108 stairs

Lower end: Lower Kinnear, near Roy Street end

Upper end: W Olympic Place, just west of 5th Avenue N

Surface: wood and earth

  • Galer StairwayMiddle Galer Stairway is part of the Galer Stairclimb complex. As one crosses Aurora Ave on the pedestrian overpass, there is a small greenspace on the west side of the highway/south side of the Stairway. You could make a side trip to nearby NE Queen Anne Greenbelt.

Middle Galer Stairway: 179 stairs

Lower end: Dexter Avenue N

Upper end: 6th Avenue N

Surface: concrete

Note: Stairway crosses Aurora Avenue on pedestrian overpass.

KinnearParkStairway

Explore More about Seattle’s Stairways

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

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.

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

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

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

Michael Yadrick

Plant Ecologist, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Michael joined the Green Seattle Partnership team (GSP) in 2011. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bolivia ’02-’04) and former AmeriCorps volunteer. He also worked with several land trusts before returning home to Seattle. Michael currently coordinates professional crews for the steep slope and wetland restorations. He is jumpstarting the Madrone Recovery Project. Professional tree-hugging during the week, you can also find Michael running in the local mountains and frequenting park playgrounds with his 7-yr old son.