Swallow Cliff is a 100ft-high bluff that formed around 12,000 years ago from glacial action. Today it is best known by its 125 limestone stairs built in 1930 as part of a CCC project. The original limestone stairway is historic and allows visiting athletes to work out in a natural setting. Whether visitors take just one trip or beat personal records with 17 trips, the 125-step staircase is a non-stop challenging workout.
The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) took note of the popularity of this fitness attraction and wanted to expand for visitors and reduce congestion. ! In 2016, Upland designed a second set of stairs and an access path to complete the unique fitness circuit.
Adding the second set, FPCC aimed to complete the workout circuit, providing a one-way incline and decline while reducing the congestion on the hill.
The second set of 168 limestone stairs designed by Upland sits just west of the original incline. With versatility in mind, this new addition offers patrons a landing every 10 steps. Many who come enjoy the chance to rest at any point without interrupting the flow of traffic. With the current COVID pandemic, the Forest Preserve has signed the well-used double stairway for one-way use.
Palos Park celebrated the official ribbon-cutting of Upland’s design on June 25, 2016. Since then, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the opportunity to Go Outside for their workouts.
In early July of 2020, Swallow Cliff reopened to the public after a 4-month closure due to COVID-19. By 8 am on that day, the stairs already had 200 visitors. While hiking packs now include masks, the Swallow Cliff Fitness Stairs are an ideal place to enjoy nature and get the body moving.