Exploring Stairways in Seattle

A new walking guide maps out Seattle’s best public staircases.
Brangien Davis  |   January 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

If it seems like you can’t take a walk in Seattle without encountering an enormous set of stairs along the way, there’s good reason: Our hilly city features approximately 600 publicly accessible outdoor stairways, many of which have been around for more than 100 years. A new guidebook, Seattle Stairway Walks (Mountaineers Books, $15.95), celebrates this fact, mapping out 25 scenic and urban walks across the city, including mileage, approximate walking time and the number of steps up and down. (Stair junkies, take note: The most steps are found in the Southwest Queen Anne hike, a 2.6-mile loop that clocks 588 steps down and 477 up.)

Local writers Jake and Cathy Jaramillo are outdoor enthusiasts but also realists—they include tips on where to stop for coffee (or beer!) and advice on whether kids are likely to enjoy each walk. They also offer fascinating historical tidbits about the sights you’ll see along the way, such as how Bhy Kracke Park got its weird name. Onward and upward.