Old Seattle: Denny Hill & Historic Shoreline

An easy urban walk that visits Seattle's massive Denny Hill Regrades and the original Seattle shoreline.

on the trail

Explore the natural and human history of Denny Hill by circumnavigating the regrade district with a focus on what the hill used to look like and what happened once it was sluiced and carved away. Williams notes in Seattle Walks, "Denny Hill once stood as the great barrier to progress in Seattle" or so said the boosters.  Over 10 million cubic yards of Denny Hill were deposited in Elliott Bay. Start the walk at 2nd Ave and Stewart St and loop around Denny Regrade (~ 2miles).

Then descend Lenora St to Alaskan Way and hike out-and-back (or loop) along the waterfront to South King St (~3 miles (round trip). The former tide flats at South King St trace the original shoreline north to a long-lost peninsula with frequent views to Elliot Bay. Downtown 100+ years ago was dirty—think rats and plague—and dangerous—at least ten pedestrian railway deaths in two years.  If you've not wandered waterfront to 2nd Ave lately, the changes of the past 30 years (since the late 1980's) are remarkable, too.  Some of the walk is tourist territory but locals will find hidden treasures among the old buildings and the newer attractions. 


  • Guidebook:  Seattle Walks by David William's (University of Washington Press, 2017).
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 5.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • 167 ft
  • Land Manager: City of Seattle
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Seattle City Map

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports

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