Nanaimo’s “Stairway to Sweatin”

A Look at Some of Nanaimo’s Outdoor Stair Workouts

Our tourism team is pretty active and always coming up with new things to tell visitors about or just get out and try ourselves.  After a summer of exploring, we have realized that there are a number of awesome outdoor staircases in this city. We could almost call ourselves the “City of Stairs”; here’s why!

2015-08-18 19.12.31-2

After our kids are tucked into bed, a few of us (who keep in touchvia a FB group called the “stair sisters”) meet at Vancouver Island University (VIU) to tackle the seemingly endless number of stairs for a quick and intense workout. We often run into other groups doing the same thing and love that VIU has posted signs to look out for runners (in our case walkers) who are following the “Storm the Stairs” route. No wonder the VIU slogan is “Love where you Learn”. I bet the students are always happy and getting good grades from the constant rush of exercise endorphins being released getting from one class to the next! 

If you want to give these stairs a try here are a few tips:

  • Pay parking is in effect 12 months of the year, 8 am – 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays, at ALL parking lots on Campus so be sure to follow parking instructions carefully to avoid a ticket
  • We suggest you take your breaks at the top to enjoy the view while catching your breath
  • Bring water, we haven’t found a water fountain on our route yet
  • Campus security is on site and the stairs are fairly well lit in the evening so we have always felt safe
  • The staircases change heights and width as you go up so it gives your legs a bit of a different challenge along the way – which we like!

stormthestairs stormthestairs2

Most locals know and love Blueback Stairs. Some even refer to them as a mini Grouse Grind. These stairs provide an incredible workout and lead you to a gorgeous, secluded beach. CTV did a neat story about these stairs a while back if you want to see some of the scenery for yourself, watch the clip.

In addition to Blueback, there are three other sets of stairs along the beach you could incorporate into your “stairway to sweatin” workout. We recommend starting at Blueback as there are designated parking spaces available. From there walk or run to the others sets at the bottom of Seabold, Invemere and Waldbank to make one heck of a workout for yourself! Have a look at the MAP below. Don’t forget to take some time to stretch on the beach and soak up some incredible sunsets too. Post your stair pics to instagram and tag with #ExploreNanaimo and we’ll share them!

Stairs Map

Here are a few others you could try:

  • Waterfront Walkway “twirly whirly” staircase go up and up and up!
  • Jack’s Point Park loop has a couple sets of wooden stairs along the trail
  • There are some stairs alongside the Port Theatre that could be added to a run along the 4km waterfront walkway

Waterfront Walkway Staircase Waterfront Walkway

These are just suggestions, please be sure to follow proper signage posted at these locations, listen to your body and be careful as some of the stairs may have uneven footing. We want everyone to be safe and let us know what you find! Get out and #ExploreNanaimo stairs!


Chelsea #ExploreNanaimo

Feature Image Photo by Instagrammer @IanAndrewNelson

4 thoughts on “Nanaimo’s “Stairway to Sweatin”



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