Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods 

by Jake & Cathy Jaramillo

* The only guidebook to stairway walks in Seattle
* Explore Seattle neighborhoods in a new way with these interesting walks in Seattle
* Written for people of all ages who want to get outside, exercise, and explore
*Learn more --> 


Links & Media

* Seattle Channel's City Stream: Seattle Stairways (2016) 

* KPLU 88.1 "Tourist in Your Own Town" - Mount Baker Stairway Walk (2013)

* KING 5 Evening Magazine - Discover the Secret Stairways of Seattle (2013)

* KUOW News - The Hidden Legacy of Seattle Stairways (2013)

* AAA Journey - Last Stop: Stair Attraction (2012)

* Seattle Times - Guidebook Authors Show Ups and Downs. . . (2012)

Feet First - Seattle Walkability Advocates

* Sound Steps - Great Walking Groups for Over-50s!

* WalkOn inBellWa! - Walking Routes in Bellevue's Parks and Neighborhoods

Inventory of Seattle Stairs of 100 Steps or More website by Doug Beyerlein

* All Stairs Seattle Guide website by Susan Ott & Dave Ralph

* Year of Walking Seattle's Parks blog by Linnea Westerlind

*KOMO News - Year of Mapping Seattle's Stairs (2011)

*Seattle Times -  Queen Anne Stairways Map (2009)

* Washington Trails Association Magazine -  Urban Hiking (2007)

* Seattle Times - Seattle Stairways: Taking Time to Learn More About the City (2003)

* Seattle Weekly - Stairway Weekend (1999)

The Mountaineers as well as our publisher, Mountaineers Books


Golden Gardens

If you're looking for a shorter Seattle stairway walk, the Golden Gardens route is a good choice. Like the Solstice Park walk in West Seattle, it's scenic and full of interest, yet it can take less than an hour. It starts at the edge of the Loyal Heights neighborhood and descends 272 steps to Golden Gardens beach, with glorious views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound from there.

Loyal Heights is centrally located with respect to other northside neighborhoods and neighborhood attractions, which aren't mentioned in detail in the book, but are expanded on here, if you scroll down toward the bottom of this post.

The "www" icon shows where book readers can get extra pictorial or text content not included in the book.


The stairway down the bluff meets Golden Gardens Drive NW for the first time

Ready to head back up the Lower Bluff stairs from Golden Gardens Drive NW

From top of Lower Bluff stairs, looking over Golden Gardens Drive to Upper Bluff stairs

The Upper Bluff stairs under WPA construction in 1936

Ending the up-and-back route near Caffe Fiore

The book mentions in passing that there are several nearby attractions worth visiting. They're generally too far to include on the walk, and only one of them features stairways, but they do open a window on the other neighborhoods in the area and they're fun to explore. See directions and descriptions to these nearby attractions below. Each one begins from the starting point of the main route, at NW 85th Street and 32nd Avenue NW.

North Beach/Blue Ridge Neighborhood: This nearby side trip gives a more northward-looking view of the Sound and Olympic Mountains. It's easy to do it on foot, doubling your walking distance to a total of 2.8 miles (or you can drive it). Start at the junction of NW 85th Street and 32nd Avenue NW where you start the main route. Take 32nd north, going about 2/10 of a mile until you reach a three-way intersection. Take the middle street straight ahead, which puts you on Loyal Avenue NW. You'll begin a gradual downhill curve to the right until Loyal Avenue ends at View Avenue NW. At this point take a right onto View Avenue for excellent sightlines as far as 31st Avenue NW. You can return to your start either by retracing your steps or by turning right up 31st and making a loop back to NW 85th Street.

Crown Hill Glen Park: This is the first of two very cool attractions you can find heading east along NW 85th Street, in the Crown Hill neighborhood. Crown Hill Glen Park features 34 timber stairs overlooking a beautiful native garden, with more stairways connecting additional levels within the park. To get there, turn left onto 19th Avenue NW, which dead-ends right at Crown Hill Glen Park. The park consists of four lots of land the city bought in 1997 from the estate of George and Theodora Plumis under the Open Space bond program. During WWII the Plumis' used the property as a Victory Garden, and planted fruit trees and blackberries here as well. Today volunteers have restored the Glen with native vegetation and careful landscaping. It's a peaceful, scenic neighborhood haven for people and birds.

Baker Park: Baker Park is also in the Crown Hill neighborhood. It's located east of Crown Hill Glen Park, two blocks past busy 15th Avenue NW. Turn right (south) onto 14th Avenue, and you'll find the park just past the corner on the right. It extends a full block back, from 14th to Mary Avenue, where there's another park exit/entrance. The land was acquired by the Open Space bond program the same year as Crown Hill Glen Park, and it too was built with heavy community involvement. There's a small butterfly garden, and don't miss the unusual totem pole in the back. It was carved from a dead Monkey Puzzle tree, right on the spot.

Sunset Hill Park: From the start of the main stairway walk route, drive south on 32nd Avenue NW to explore the nearby Sunset Hill neighborhood. Sunset Hill Park is popular with the locals, for its broad views from Shilshole Marina across the Sound to the Olympic Mountains. From 32nd turn right onto NW 75th Street. Two blocks straight ahead, the street runs right into the park. Turn right onto 34th Avenue NW, and you'll find plenty of streetside parking.

Farther south in Sunset Hill, you can learn about this area's deep Norwegian roots at the Nordic Heritage Museum. To get there from Sunset Hill park, go south on 32nd Avenue NW, turning left onto NW 68th Street. The museum entrance is on the right.

Nearby attractions are shown by yellow pins

Stone birdbaths at Crown Hill Glen Park

Baker Park's 14th Avenue entrance

The locals enjoy gorgeous views from tucked-away Sunset Hill Park

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Reader Comments (4)

There are tons of stairways leading up from the west side of Lake Washington to the neighborhoods above. I continue to discover new ones all the time.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

All these side trips look really interesting. Makes for a full day of exploration! Thanks.

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercathy

Baker Park was actually purchased well before Crown Hill Glen, in 1992 (I think) through the King County Open Space and Trails bond.

The side trip to the Nordic Heritage Museum should also include Webster Park, carved out of the west half of the museum's parking lot, and now owned by Seattle Parks. See more on these and other area parks at

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave Boyd

Those Golden Garden stairs make for one heck of a workout when you incorporate them in a nice jog through the neighborhood.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanPanic

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