Swallow Cliff North Stairs

MODERATE 11 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.

4 months ago

Nice 11k run!

10 months ago

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.
I will be back and will try and break 2,000 stairs.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017