Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Stairway Walks

Here’s another set of walks we’ve done to get out and about this time of year that I first discovered in a book called Seattle Stairway Walks by Cathy and Jack Jaramillo. The book covers walks all over the city but I'm only highlighting the four in West Seattle.

We’ve done some of these walks as part of a bigger adventure and others in different pieces, adjusting them to fit with how much time we had and the different ages of kiddos with us. The thing I loved best about these walks was what we discovered along the way—small parks we never knew about such as College Street Ravine and Pelly Place Natural Area, the “sundial” at the top of Solstice Park and a beautiful mural along the Thistle Street Stairs. 

The links below give you a glimpse of what the walks are like but to get the step-by-step routes you’ll need the book. You can check it out from the library (book or ebook), order a copy directly from the SSW website or visit one of our two local bookstores—Paper Boat Booksellers or Pegasus Book Exchange. We first checked the book out from the library several times—a good sign we needed to buy it—and then found a used copy at Pegasus Book Exchange.

1) Fauntleroy and Morgan Junction (Walk #16)
  • Route highlights: Lincoln Park (woods, playground, beach), Solstice Park, Pelly Place Natural Area, Ida Viewpoint, Thistle Street Stairs (cool mural) and several Little Free Libraries.
  • Mileage: Around 3-4 miles
  • Our notes/edits: We did the walk as written except we started near Lincoln Park around SW Kenyon (instead of CA Ave) with Solistice Park being one of the first stops. Also, at Lowman Beach we headed up the hill to Murray Ave (instead of 48th) and ended up discovering Pelly Place Natural Area.
2) Solstice Park (Walk #17)
  • Route highlights: Solstice Park (sundial-type feature for marking the equinoxes and a p-patch), Ida Viewpoint and possible stops along CA Ave for a treat.
  • Mileage: 1 mile
  • Our notes/edits: This is a shorter version of Walk #16 and would be good for younger ages.
3) Alki from Above (Walk #18)
  • Route highlights: Schmitz Park, Alki Beach, College Street Ravine.
  • Mileage: 3+ miles
  • Our notes/edits: I first did this walk with a friend (as it was in the book but counterclockwise) and then revised it slightly when I did it with kids as a local day adventure. We started at Hiawatha Playfield since our end goal was a treat at Menchies. We walked towards Schmitz Park, down to Whale Tail playground, stopping for lunch and beach play along Alki and then huffed back up the hill through College Street Ravine to our starting point.
4) Longfellow Creek and Pigeon Point (Walk #19)
  • Route highlights: Salmon Bone Bridge, Delridge Playfield (skate park, playground).
  • Milage: Just under 2 miles
  • Our notes/edits: This is one of the walks that we've done in pieces on different days with the Salmon Bone Bridge/Dragonfly Pavilion portion being my favorite. Do note that some parts along Delridge and Genesse can be quite noisy with traffic. 
Other Stairway Walks Resources
  • Seattle All Stairs
    Another cool resource of stairway walks all over the city including five in West Seattle. From the main page, click on "Walks". Each walk I looked at included a downloadable PDF with pictures and step-by-step instructions. Some are even similar to the ones above.
  • Seattle Stairway Walks
    Link to the main page of the Seattle Stairway Walks website.