Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
4,000.00 ft (1,219.20 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This is a strange adventure, born out of the shelter-at-home mandates and public land closures resulting from the early Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Pandemic or not, if you are in or around Seattle this urban stair climbing loop is an effective way to maintain fitness for outdoor pursuits. The goal of these trips is not efficiency, it's maximum exploration and vertical. Seattle is a great city for this sort of thing as it's very hilly. 

The Queen Anne Loop was inspired by Dan Gutierrez's phenomenal blog post on his website "SoCal Stair Climbers". For those who don't live in Seattle, Queen Anne is one of the fancier neighborhoods in the city, and perches on top of a ~450' hill. This route is a totally unique way to see all the different aspects of this area of Seattle, whether you're a local or a visitor. If you choose to take this route on, you'll climb up and down 100+ stairways, traveling almost 18 miles, and gaining around 4,000'.

Notes before you begin:

  • Navigation - Navigating the route is honestly the trickiest part of this whole excursion. The route constantly winds in loops and up and down stairs, sometimes requiring you to climb and descend the same stairway. The .gpx attached to this adventure will help, as every stairway is marked (along with the number of steps up or down), but you'll need to follow along closely in a navigation app to make sure you're going the proper way. Alternatively, you can visit Dan's website mentioned above and use the Google Map he designed.

  • Amenities - there are restaurants and parks scattered all along the route, and you'll be able to find water, restrooms, and snacks almost constantly.

The route begins near the south side of Fremont Bridge, and drops immediately down a stairway before climbing it again immediately. This is perfectly representative of how absurd the rest of this trip will be. The route then works its way up and down the east side of the Queen Anne Hill, making its way down to Eastlake and the shores of Lake Union before climbing over a unique bridge (over the four-lane Aurora Avenue). The houses in this area become increasingly expensive and beautiful. From here, the route takes a few strange loops before heading down to Lower Queen Anne, then climbing up the Queen Anne Hill and heading toward Kerry Park, where there's an iconic view of Mount Rainier, the Space Needle, and the Seattle Downtown. Take lunch at Kerry Park and enjoy the scenery before dropping off the west side of the neighborhood. The trail cuts through a variety of parks and unique stairways between houses (as the hill is too steep for normal sidewalks). Due to all the vert, this section takes a long time.

You'll finally reach the northwest part of the loop, and you'll head into the home stretch, with longer distances between stairs. You'll climb and descend through the campus of Seattle Pacific University, before climbing through a parking structure to the east. From here, you'll only have a few more stairways before you finish the loop!

Congratulations, you just did 4,000 feet of elevation gain without leaving the 2.8 square miles that make up the Queen Anne neighborhood! Celebrate by crossing the Fremont bridge and getting a drink at one of the great breweries in the area.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Effective urban training for climbers. Fun way to see a beautiful part of Seattle.

Cons

Almost all on pavement.

Trailhead Elevation

20.00 ft (6.10 m)

Highest point

470.00 ft (143.26 m)

Features

Historically significant
Near lake or river
Flushing toilets
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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