Great hill climbs in Seattle?


I enjoy climbing hills, great views, and exploring the city, so I thought it would be fun to brainstorm a tour of Seattle that hits a number of Seattle's neighborhoods and involves climbing some of it's more challenging hills along the way.

I'm hoping to figure out something that involves hitting at least Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, West Seattle, Downtown, Capitol hill, and the Mt. Baker area...

What hills in Seattle do you enjoy climbing? What hills are the best mix of steepness and length? I'm looking to find a good mix of really steep hills and longer hills (i.e. not just the 20 steepest grades in Seattle, most of which are only a block long).

Here are a few hills off the top of my head that could be fun to throw into the mix.

  • Something around 24th from Montlake up to the top of Capitol hill
  • Queene Anne Ave N
  • E Alder St from Lake WA BLVD up into Leschi

What are your favorite Seattle hills? Add 'em to the mix!

Submitted by Jeffrey Job on

If you want a long climb on a good road, start on the very west end of admiral way sw in west seatte and head up east towards California ave.  in fact, from the corner of cal and admiral, you can descend in three directions back down to the water and then head back up the hill again.  Three different levels of climbs.

If you're willing to come out to the Eastside, one of my favorite hill-climbing routes is a 30 loop around Lake Sammamish. It includes Zoo Road. Zoo Road is described elsewhere as "the toughest climb in the Seattle area". Ascending 1200 feet over 2.5 miles, it has an average grade of about 10%, with common gradients in 15% and some sections approaching 20%. This is not a climb to be approached lightly. Or, as one rider noted, “Zoo Hill is the puke-inducing lactate-producing gasp-fest that I avoid unless taunted.”

It looks something like this (I've given a descent down 43rd rather than 212th Way in Sammamish, because 212th is currently closed for repairs):