Hamilton Escarpment Stairs

If you use the escarpment stairs please help take care of them. The Escarpment Project cleans up the escarpment stairs, trails, waterfalls and other areas every year on the last Sunday of every April. Join us this year or help by clicking here and making a donation.

There are 5 sets of city built escarpment stairs in Hamilton. They are all high traffic areas which serve different purposes, from commuting to and from work to exercising. This is a general overview of each set of stairs.

Chedoke Stairs Jan 2016

Chedoke Stairs

Location
At the top of the escarpment they are located at the foot of Upper Paradise. At the bottom of the escarpment they are located at Chedoke Municipal Golf Course and can be accessed from the parking lot off of Beddoe Dr or the Chedoke Radial Trail.
There are parking lots at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Number of Stairs – 289

There are 2 lanes of 289 stairs which allows for lots of room on the stairs. There are also bicycle tire troughs which allows a person to transport a bicycle up or down the escarpment fairly easily. At about the half way point there are several long platforms that are each separated by 10 stairs. The landings on the stairs are also well sized and give people ample room to rest. These stairs are spacious compared to others making it more easy to traverse with groups of friends.
The stairs are evenly spaced and have teeth in them for more secure grip when it is slippery. These teeth can be hard on the foot pads of dogs.

There are no interruptions in the stairs such as roads and plenty of trees on either side of the stairs to provide shelter from the elements. The trees make it a very scenic place to travel and waterfalls beside the stairs add to the ambiance.
At the bottom of the stairs you can access the Chedoke Radial Trail. Eastward the trail will take you to Dundurn Street and the Dundurn Stairs. Westward the trail will take you on a very scenic route past the 403 into Ancaster.
When accessing the stairs by trail keep in mind that the trails are not maintained in winter months.

Many people walk, jog or run the stairs and from a fitness perspective these stairs are good for people of all fitness levels. When combined with walking or running the Radial Trail and adding the Dundurn Stairs you can have some great workouts. They seem to be the most popular of the escarpment stairs in Hamilton.

Difficulty Level – 3 out of 5

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Chedoke Stairs

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Chedoke Stairs 43.245140, -79.907384

Dundurn Stairs

Dundurn Stairs

Location

At the bottom of the escarpment the stairs are located at the South end of Dundurn St. At the top of the escarpment they are located at the foot of Garth St at Beckett Drive. There is some street parking at the bottom of the escarpment on Dundurn St.

Number of Stairs – 326

There are 326 stairs and only one lane. There is no tire trough to bring a bicycle up or down the stairs and you would have to carry it on your shoulder. This can be inconvenient when someone passes in either direction for both the person carrying the bicycle or the person passing by. It is in good form for the person carrying the bicycle to wait on one of the landings to allow the other person to pass easily and safely. The stairs start with several platforms separated by 12 stairs at the bottom and then ascend up the side of the escarpment. The stairs are spaced fairly evenly apart and there are no interruptions.

Trees on either side of the stairs do provide some natural shelter from the elements and as with other stairs there is a nice view from the top. There are also teeth on the stairs which help with foot traction in slippery conditions. As with other stairs the teeth can be tough on the pads of a dog’s paws.

At the bottom of the stairs you have direct access to Dundurn Street and the bus loop as well as the Radial Trail to the West and Bruce Trail to the East.

These stairs are of medium length and do provide a decent workout especially when combined with the Chedoke Radial trail and Chedoke Stairs.

Difficulty Level 2 -3 out of 5.

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Dundurn Stairs

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Dundurn Stairs 43.245187, -79.895432

James Stairs Jan 2016

James St Stairs

Location
These stairs originate at Southam Park at the top of the escarpment by the Claremont Access. At the bottom of the escarpment they can be accessed from Freeman Pl. which is located at the South end of James St.

Number of Stairs – 227
There are 227 steps spaced evenly apart. There is no tire trough to transport a bicycle up or down the stairs and you would have to carry it on your shoulder. This can be inconvenient when someone passes in either direction for both the person carrying the bicycle or the person passing by. It is in good form for the person carrying the bicycle to wait on one of the landings to allow the other person to pass easily and safely. The landings are small in size.

There are no interruptions at these escarpment stairs and trees provide a natural cover from the elements. There are a type of teeth on these stairs for grip but they do not seem to be as effective as the teeth found on the Chedoke, Dundurn or Kenilworth Stairs.

There is a sewage system at the bottom of the stairs which at times can be unpleasant to smell especially while exercising.

These stairs have the least number of steps making them the easiest of all the stairs to climb.

Difficulty Level – 1-2 out of 5

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James Street Stairs

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James Street Stairs 43.245703, -79.874339

Wentworth Stairs Jan 2016

Wentworth Stairs

Location
At the bottom of the escarpment they are located at the South end of Wentworth St S. At the top of the escarpment they are located at the very bottom of Upper Wentworth St. at Mountain Park Ave. (If you are arriving via Upper Wentworth St there is a small jog at Concession St and Upper Wentworth St begins again to the right at Concession St.) There are also community bikes located at the bottom of the stairs. These are the most used escarpment stairs in Hamilton.

There is no automobile parking at the bottom of the stairs and limited parking at the top of the stairs along Mountain Park Ave.

Number of Stairs 498
There are 498 steps separated by the Sherman Access.
The stairs are not evenly spaced apart. On the lower half of the stairs the steps are closer together while above the road they get further apart. There is a lot of shelter from the elements by the trees and natural cliff face near the top of the escarpment.

There is one lane and no tire trough to transport a bicycle up or down and you would have to carry it on your shoulder. This can be inconvenient when someone passes in either direction for both the person carrying the bicycle or the person passing by. It is in good form for the person carrying the bicycle to wait on one of the landings to allow the other person to pass easily and safely. Most of the landings are average in size but there are some smaller ones.

While having to cross a street may seem like a negative thing, when exercising it can give you a few seconds break which will allow you to recover slightly before climbing the 2nd half of the stairs. It is also a natural turnaround point for people that do not wish to climb all of the stairs.

Difficulty Level – 5 out of 5

These steps are the most difficult to climb for several reasons. With almost 500 steps they are the longest set of escarpment stairs. The stairs start out just a few inches apart and gradually get further apart on the upper portion of stairs so as you become more fatigued you actually have to put more effort into climbing the stairs. This will help increase a person’s VO2 Max. (Maximum intake of oxygen into the lungs.) When doing these stairs on a regular basis you may notice an improvement in your fitness level more readily than if you did any of the other escarpment stairs. This could be because the stairs are more difficult and because there are more of them. (I.e. If you were to do these escarpment stairs once every other day you could notice a difference in your ability to climb more stairs at this location in just two weeks because of your increased fitness level)

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Wentworth Stairs

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Wentworth Stairs 43.243483, -79.852281

Upper Kenilworth Stairs

Kenilworth Stairs

Location
At the bottom of the escarpment the stairs begin on Kimberly Drive at the base of Kenilworth Ave by the Kenilworth traffic circle. On the top of the escarpment the stairs begin at Mountain Brow Blvd and Margate Ave. There is some street parking at both the top and bottom of the stairs.

Number of Stairs – 387

There are 2 lanes of 387 stairs in total separated by about 200 meters along the Rail trail. (228 stairs on the bottom & 159 on the top) There are also bicycle tire troughs which allows a person to transport a bicycle up or down the escarpment fairly easily.  The landings on the stairs are  well sized and give people ample room to rest and take in the view across the Red Hill Valley near the top of the stairs. These stairs are spacious compared to others making it more easy to traverse with groups of friends.
The stairs have teeth in them for more secure grip when it is slippery. These teeth can be hard on the foot pads of dogs.The lower stairs are evenly spaced but closer together than the upper stairs.

The side of the escarpment and  trees offer some protection from the elements. The tree canopy over the Rail Trail offers quite a bit of protection from the sun on hot summer days. Fall colours add to the enjoyment of using the stairs and trail during autumn. In winter months the trail is not maintained and can be quite slippery due to ice or snow.

Many people walk, jog or run the stairs and from a fitness perspective these stairs are good for people of all fitness levels. When combined with walking, running or cycling the Rail Trail you can have some great workouts. The trail between the upper and lower area offers a natural place for people to use as a half way point or an area for people to stretch or recover slightly before running up the upper level of stairs. It is also a natural turn around point for people who only wish to climb on portion of the stairs.

These stairs seem to be one of the most popular of the escarpment stairs in Hamilton.

Difficulty Level 3-4 out of 5.

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Kenilworth Stairs

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Kenilworth Stairs 43.228757, -79.814687