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The Charlestown Hillclimb Project


Charlestown Hillclimb is the steep Charlestown Street right-of-way between S. Courtland Place and 37th Ave. S in Southeast Seattle. The Hillclimb is the only pedestrian connection from the valley to the hilltop between S. Andover St. and S. Horton St. (about .7 mile.) Map


In the early 2000s, neighbors landscaped the top of the Hillclimb, installed a bench, widen the path, installed a periscope tree sculpture by Don Fels, with funding from the Seattle Arts Commission, the Washington Insurance Council, and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The community sought additional funds to replace the path with a stairway and to landscape the hillside with native and drought-tolerant plants.

In 2012-13, the Seattle Dept. of Transportation replaced the path with a stairway. In July 2012 Friends of Charlestown Hillclimb (FCH) hired a landscape architect, with funding from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Program of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, to create a landscape design for the Hillclimb. Seattle Department of Transportation approved the design in January 2013 and issued a use permit to implement the design.

In March 2013, FCH received a grant from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Program to clear the hillside, buy plants, and install a temporary irrigation system. Throughout the summer 2013, volunteers cleaned and weeded the hillside, arranged to have the unwanted trees and blackberries removed, and made arrangements to plant in the fall 2013.

On three Saturdays in October and November, 2013, 48 volunteers planted more than 850 plants on the newly cleared hillside. Plants include sword fern, oregon grape, kinnikinnick, native irises, ornamental grasses, thimbleberry, blue and red huckleberry, rhododendron, red twig and yellow twig dogwood, wax myrtle, incense cedar, mountain hemlock, and a Garry oak.

Read the project updates.

For more information about the project or how you can help, email info@charlestownhillclimb.org

News about the Project


  • Email us to be added to the mailing list.
  • Come to monthly weeding parties:
    4th Saturdays,10-12, March-Oct.
Charlestown Hillclimb plan

Charlestown Hillclimb landscape plan. Larger image.