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

Entries in Burke-Gilman (4)


University of Washington

This stairway walk shows off all the "U-Dub" chestnuts like Red Square, the magnificent Gothic-style Suzzallo Library, Rainier Vista, The Quad, and Drumheller Fountain. But you'll also get to explore places seldom seen by the casual visitor to the University of Washington: the lengthy Wahkiakum Lane stairway; the "Stairs to Nowhere" near the School of Architecture; curving twin stairways oddly suspended just above the ground, with a wooden staircase filling in the gap; a surreal outdoor amphitheater, and literally tons of campus art.

Extra website pictures, referenced in the book, are contained in the slideshow below (as indicated by the "www" icon). Scroll further for even more scenes of this UW version of Seattle stairs.


The Story of Those Sylvan Theater Columns:

The University of Washington had a tough time at the beginning. Financial problems shut it down three times before its first student, Clara Witt, graduated n 1876. By 1895 the University was stable and growing, and moved to a new building on today's campus: Denny Hall, just to the north of The Quad (see below). When the original downtown building was set to be razed Edmond Meany, the History Department chair, led an effort to save the portico columns and move them over to the new campus. Over the years they've had rough adventures; two of the columns were blown over before all four were safely secured to a concrete base. The original cedar scrollwork at the tops didn't make it. What you will see are fiberglas replacements, installed in 1958.


These are the "Stairs to Nowhere," a project of students from the School of Architecture

The Spiral Stairs will take you past the Henry Gallery to a footbridge over 15th Avenue NE, and on to "The Ave"

The Ave is a busy student hangout, with lots of food places and different types of ethnic cuisine. There's a brewry and alehouse too, as well as the University Bookstore, which is a fun place to hang out browse.

The Ave is not to be missed - busy with students, stores and good places to eat... this, Alladin Gyro-cery, one of our favorite shawarma spots

Back on campus, springtime in The Quad brings a spectacular explosion among the Yoshino Cherry trees

The buildings around The Quad are decorated with easily-missed grotesques like these

Looking back up at part of the Wahkiakum Lane stairs, toward the end of the walk


Cedar Park and the Burke-Gilman Trail

NOTE: A major stairway on this route was replaced in early 2013. This posting shows the old stairway; for pictures of the new stairway plus several additional pictures along this route, click here.

This is another tour of Seattle stairs that is hugely influenced by the relationship of Lake Washington and the bluffs above it. Here, up in the northwest corner of the lake, the neighborhood of Cedar Park spills over the bluff down to the water. While Lake City Way is an important auto route up and over Lake Washington, there's not a lot of reason for your average car-driving Seattleite to venture here, between Lake City Way and Lake Washington. The streets aren't as dense or numerous as elsewhere, and further progress is blocked by the lake. But, for us adventurous urban hikers, this provides  the perfect opportunity to explore a completely charming spot we probably wouldn't see otherwise.
The walk starts out with vistas of northern Lake Washington from a long, steep stairway. Then there's a set of half-hidden stairs meandering toward the lake, interrupted in the middle by a pathway running down a quiet, shallow ravine. You'll spend some time lakeside, walking along the incomparable Burke-Gilman Trail - one of the finest rail-trails in the nation. You'll leave the trail to head back up the bluff and check out the rest of the scenic neighborhood. If time is a limiting factor, the book details an optional route that keeps the stairs, but shortens the neighborhood exploration.

The "www" icon marks additional pictoral content referenced in the book.

A view of Lake Washington as you descend the first stairway's 196 steps

A hanging moss garden flourishes on a salvaged concrete retaining wall


The top of the NE 130th Street stairs is not easy to spot on its way toward the lake; watch for an opening in the traffic barrier

The final flight of the NE 130th Street stairs ends at the Burke-Gilman Trail

Along some parts of the Burke-Gilman trail you can see signs of slope movement (note leaning trees); wildlife abounds right next to lakeside houses

Residents use landscaping in a variety of ways to capture views and reflect their surroundings

The walk begins and ends at Cedar Park - the park, that is

Cedar Park has a nice play area and portable restrooms