305 homemade stone stairs wind their way up the Hamilton escarpment.
The work of a single man, Ulrich (otherwise known as Uli), these 305 stone stairs wind their way up the Hamilton escarpment.
Uli was born in Austria, and formerly owned a steel factory. Upon retirement he spent two (to five, depending on your source) years constructing these stairs by hand, a few hours each day. At the time, there were no other stairs nearby to connect upper and lower Hamilton. These stairs were completed in 2007, despite looking a lot older.
The stairs are constructed primarily from natural stone, but also include what looks like manufactured stone or concrete in a few spots, and the handrails are long tree branches wired into place. The lower portion of the stairs, which begins at Greenhill Ave., just off of the Bruce trail, meets up with the Hamilton Rail Trail halfway up. This section is has a relatively gradual incline, and is easy to navigate.
The stairs continue from the Rail Trail and exit out onto Mountain Brow Blvd. and Fennel Ave. on the “mountain.” This upper section is where the adventure is, since the incline is much sharper and the stairs are very close together, often offering only 3-4 inches of space for your foot.
The stairs are punctuated with handmade benches and rest areas, and garden planters, complete with flowers. Perhaps the most charming part of the stairs are the signs, which look to be also handmade by Uli, warning adventurers of the risk inherent in using the adventure stairs. The City followed suit, posting their own signage basically telling folks not to use the stairs at all. Ignore this, and set off on your own adventure.
Know Before You Go
Park on Greenhill Ave., the entrance is nearby the pool with the "water spider". Look for the City sign warning pedestrians not to use the stairs (ignore this, obviously). You'll go up a hill and hang a right. The entrance to the stairs will be obvious.
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