Swallow Cliff North Stairs

MODERATE 26 reviews

Swallow Cliff North Stairs is a 0.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Palos, Illinois that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

0.2 miles
36 feet

dogs on leash

nature trips

trail running



Best known for its 100-foot bluff and demanding stair workout. Constructed in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, 125 limestone stairs lead to the top of a former toboggan run at Swallow Cliff North (the runs were closed in 2004). Some stair climbers build pebble piles at the top of the stairs to keep track of their trips up and down. The Cook County Forest Preserve recognized its increasing popularity, however, and decided to add to it with 168 more stairs. Now, the bluff has 293 steps, and because it is slightly west of the other set, there are more landings to rest. During the winter, the bluff still serves as an active sledding hill. The stairs are cleared and salted.

27 days ago

Loved this new spot! I got 20 full laps in, very demanding, but that’s what I came for. I’ll be back.

4 months ago

Not as strenuous as I thought it would be. I go to a place in Michigan called Palisades Park, they have a set of steps that are killer.

5 months ago

Great workout, fun environment with people of varying fitness levels using the space provided to cross-train and socialize. New additions to the stairs include abacus beads for keeping track of laps/flights, another set of stairs for better traffic flow, bathrooms, and a warming shelter.

What a great workout. Still feeling the burn on Friday. Did the stairs twice and hiked 5 miles. It was very beautiful.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Nice 11k run!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I'm no runner or fitness buff, in fact i'm old, over weight and have too many injuries to list, but i still like a challenge. My personal best climbing stairs was 802 @ Matthiessen State Park last year (along with 4.5 miles). I read about Swallow Cliff earlier this year, thought if there was a good weather day, i'd check it out. Well, that day came (6/19/17) so i drove the 25 miles to get there and try my luck.
There were more people there than i would have thought for a Monday, even so i didn't have any problems with anyone there. Just walking, no racing for me, really didn't being lapped by so many, maybe cause so many were very nice.
Up one set of stairs, down the other will give you 293 Stairs. I wanted 2 "Laps", but hoped for 3....I did 4. But then decided to do a half lap up the longer side (168 stairs) and like a fool, i went to the top and back down with a day total of 1,508 Stairs.
Today is the 20th & I hurt; getting out of a chair hurts, going up and down stairs in house hurt, but I'm damn glad i did 5 trips up and down.
2017 i did go back, on 7/14 i returned and did 2,016 stairs.
2018, not a good year with bad knee, feet and a fall in late 2017 that helped to pack lbs back on. With a daily average walking about 60% of previous years, i wanted to get back to those stairs. 7/23/18 i made it back.
I have to say a HUGE Thanks to the people that are on those stairs. I easily outweighed the next heavy person by 100+ lbs. With my increased pain and anxiety of weight and pain, i wasn't sure how i would do there. But the more i was on the stairs, the more people that said Good Job, Keep It Up or just gave me thumbs up. A few stopped and talked to me, which allowed me a nice little break. I have found on some trails, i get the same response and it helps. I can be so self defeating, having people that are so fit be so supportive is awesome. Bad Knee and all, i did 1,622 stairs; beat one of my trips last year and i was in pain for a week plus, but it was worth it.
I'll be back, i want to beat that 2016!! Thank You Swallow Cliffs

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Monday, December 25, 2017

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Monday, February 20, 2017

recorded Recording - Oct 13, 12:35 PM

Friday, October 14, 2016

Saturday, July 09, 2016