Seattle Urban Walk Committee

Seattle Urban Walk Committee

Seattle Urban Walk Committee offers scores of walks in the urban/suburban area. We walk in parks and greenbelts, along city streets, and seek to better understand and protect our cultural and natural heritage.

Why Urban Walks? Scores of Mountaineers Urban Walks are led each year although some are yet labeled “Day Hikes” and others “Urban Adventures.” Urban Adventures are less than 2 miles while Urban Walks are 2 or more miles, within the urban/suburban shadow, have good cell reception and reliable emergency responder access/ egress. Urban Walks have Clubwide standards and an Activity Council Charter (2023).

 Where is the urban/back country line? Each branch decides where to designate urban/suburban vs. backcountry outings. Seattle and Foothills declare the Issaquah Alps Day Hikes. But St Edward and Salt Water State Parks are Urban Walks.

Different Safety Skills? Pedestrian safety is paramount as fatalities have increased nationwide in recent years. Parties stay intact with a lead and sweep, not dispersed. Headlamps are required at night. Leaders research local data about crime or homeless camps. Footwear choice can be critical in Greenbelts.

Are they all “walks in the park?” Many are. But guidebooks like Urban Trails Seattle, Seattle Walks, and Seattle Stairways Walks suggest unique routes. Seattle explores P-Patches, the CD and Chinatown ID, sunsets, really long walks (>20 miles), stairways conditioners, walks for seniors... Naturalists and photographers lead intense urban walks.

Urban Adventures? Urban Adventures  (excursions less than 2 miles) are not managed by Seattle Urban Walk Committee.

Which First Aid Providers?  Urban Walk Leaders are expected to practice First Aid skills relevant to the urban environment where emergency access and response is readily available. 

Urban walk leaders who lead trips during The Mountaineers fiscal year (Oct through Sept) at levels determined by the committee will be reimbursed at least 50% of their certification fees.

Committee approved local First Aid/CPR providers:

CPR Northwest Washington

CPR Seattle                                    

Medic One Foundation

American Red Cross Northwest Region

Urban Stewardship.  

Urban Walk leaders are required to earn the Stewardship Badge and participants are encouraged to do so. Two three-hour sessions or a single six-hour session satisfy the requirement. 


While stewardship outside the urban/suburban area is honored, we hope members will include service in our urban walking areas.

Seattle Urban Walk Stewardship Providers

Carkeek Park STARS (Streams, Trails and Restoration Stewards)

EarthCorps (Seattle)

Friends of Cheasty Greenspace (Mountain View)

Green Seattle Partnerships

The Mountaineers

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

Seattle Parks and Recreation

Shadow Lake Nature Preserve

Washington Trails Association

Seattle Olmsted 50 Trail

Seattle Urban Walks  in collaboration with Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks, has plotted a GaiaGPS route and is field testing  turn-by-turn directions for a new, 50km urban trail in five sections.  Fleets of Mountaineers urban walkers volunteer each week as critical friends offering edits and ideas. Each section is divided into smaller sections with public transportation and public toilets available at boundaries. 

Walkers are guided by PDFs of turn-by-turn directions, street maps and gpx files -- no on the ground signage. We are building new Mountaineers Routes and Places descriptions for each section from Ballard Locks to Rainier Beach Playfield along the string of Olmsted parks and boulevards.

We seek unique neighborhood businesses such as brewpubs, bakeries, coffee shops, ice cream parlors where hungry or thirsty walkers could stop in.

Elevation gain is minimized and barrier free access portions are called out as "stroller friendly." Pedestrian safety is a first concern but memorable sights and interactions are noted, too.  We seek cultural, civic and naturalist institutions to be friends or partners as is Seattle Parks and Recreation.

We anticipate the Seattle Olmsted 50 will grow beyond a Mountaineers route as have our colleagues' similar long trails in San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia.

First round development work will conclude Fall 2023 and we anticipate more public facing access, e.g. Google Maps, All Trails and a public web site for an international audience. 

 November 2023 marks the 120th Anniversary of Seattle City Council approving the Olmsted parks plan for Seattle which now ranks as one of the 10 best city parks in the U.S.