Capitol Hill

Explore Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhoods, Volunteer Park, the conservatory, Lakeview Cemetery, and many other Seattle gems. Some include a good workout on the city's many stairways.

on the trail

The Arboretum, Interlaken Park & Volunteer Park

4.2 miles round trip, 550 feet of elevation gain

Start at the west edge of Washington Park Arboretum and walk through forested Interlaken Park and the Montlake, Stevens and Broadway neighborhoods to reach Volunteer Park. Follow Walk 14 in Seattle Stairway Walks with variations as desired.  Rain, snow or sun, the way is kind to feet.

  • On street parking is available.
  • Beware Husky football No Parking days.
  • Toilet facilities at start and high point.

Volunteer Park & Capitol Hill

4.1 miles round trip, 800 feet of elevation gain

Explore the north end of Capitol Hill, following parts of Seattle Walks Hike #13.  Add the Blaine and Howe stairways to visit Lake Union (Seattle Stairway Walks Hike 9).  Volunteer Park is full of natural and cultural spaces including the Water Tower, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park Conservatory and Black Sun sculpture.  The civil war veterans cemetery is little known as is the city designated Harvard-Belmont Historic District.  Millionaire's Row gives views of current and days past opulence.

Capitol Hill to Queen Anne Hill Circuit

5-mile loop with 950 feet of elevation gain

This urban adventure maximizes city view opportunities with ascent and descent of Seattle's most significant hills, Capitol and Queen Anne.  Three well-loved stairway routes are captured—Howe, Blaine, and Galer.
Start at the little known Grand Army of the Republic post Civil War cemetery near Volunteer Park and descend Howe Street stairs leading to Lake Union.  Follow the Chesiahud Trail around the south end of Lake Union to the Galer Street stair climb up Queen Anne Hill.  Near the top, swing south to walk up through Bhy Kracke Park for fabulous views  back towards Capitol Hill. Near the summit of Queen Anne Hill, head back down the Galer Stairs to retrace the route across the lake.  Climb back up Capitol Hill through the Freeway Park on the parallel Howe Street Stairs, Seattle's longest continuous stairway with 388 steps.

howe stairs

282 steps an 153 feet of elevation gain

A popular training location among both serious and casual athletes and fitness buffs seeking to improve strength and cardiovascular fitness, the Howe Street Stairs are a public staircase located near Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.  There are 388 total ateps, but most people frequent the portion comprised of 282 steps between Lakeview Blvd E and 10th Ave E. The stairs are concrete and were constructed in 1911 to provide a pedestrian path between two different streetcar lines. They are now primarily used for commuting, exercise, and fitness.

Capitol Hill Circuit

4.2 mile loop with 313 feet of elevation gain

Start at Cal Anderson Park near the Link Light Rail Station. Learn about how Streissguth Gardens came about, see the Grand  Army of the Republic Cemetery, and visit historic graves in Lakeview Cemetery. Climb the Water Tower in Volunteer Park, then pass Millionaire's Row as you head back to Cal Anderson Park. If clear, you can see spectacular views from Louisa Boren Park. This walk takes about 3 hours. There are restrooms near the beginning and near the half way point of the walk. This route is well-suited for using transit, as it begins and ends near a Link Light Rail Station. Parking is also available in lots and on the street. 


  • Guidebook: Seattle Walks by David Williams (University of Washington Press 2017).

Information for Leaders


  • This route allows multiple bookings. Please check scheduled trips listed below in the "Activities" tab to see if there is another group already booked on the same day. Leaders are expected to contact the leader(s) of existing trips to ensure there are no concerns or conflicts, according to The Mountaineers Outdoor Ethics Policy. Please review our Group Size & Multiple Bookings page for guidance.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 0.5 mi
  • Land Manager: Seattle Parks and Recreation
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 20
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Seattle City Map
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Volunteer Park Conservatory
  • Volunteer Park Conservatory & Lakeview Cemetery
  • The Arboretum, Interlaken Park & Volunteer Park
  • Volunteer Park & Capitol Hill
  • Capitol Hill to Queen Anne Hill Circuit
  • Howe Stairs
  • Howe Street Stairs
  • Blaine Stairs
  • Blaine Street Stairs
  • Captiol Hill Circuit

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.