Building Stream Ladders for Extreme Sports Enthusiasts

Have you ever been hiking and come to a stream that was just too deep to cross without getting wet? Or, have you been exploring a new place and found a stream that you wanted to follow but there was no easy way to get down to the water? In both of these cases, a stream ladder can be a helpful tool.

Stream ladders are most commonly used in the backcountry for crossing streams or getting down steep embankments to the water. They can also be used in your own backyard if you have a stream that you want to explore or provide access to for your kids or pets. Whatever your reason for needing a stream ladder, they are relatively easy to build and use.

How to Build a Stream Ladder

Building a streamladder is a relatively simple process. The first step is to find two sturdy trees that are relatively close together and at the same height on either side of the stream. Next, you’ll need to cut two lengths of rope or cordage that are long enough to reach from one tree to the other. Once you have your rope, tie one end securely around each tree.

Now it’s time to start building your ladder. The easiest way to do this is to use pre-made rungs, such as those made from 2x4s. If you don’t have any rungs on hand, you can also fashion them from branches or rocks. Once you have your rungs, tie them securely onto the rope between the two trees, making sure that they are evenly spaced apart.

You can now test your ladder by gently placing your weight on the first rung and then proceeding cautiously until you reach the other side. If everything feels secure, congratulations! You’ve just built yourself a functional stream ladder.


Stream ladders offer a safe and easy way to cross streams or explore new places. They can be built in just a few minutes using materials that can easily be found in most forests or yards. So next time you’re out exploring, don’t let a little water stop you from getting where you want to go—build yourself a stream ladder and enjoy all that nature has to offer.


Ivy Skye Marshall: Ivy, a social justice reporter, covers human rights issues, social movements, and stories of community resilience.