Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship

Franconia Notch State Park - Trail ladder along the Hi-Cannon Trail. This trail leads to the summit of Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Traditional Ladder – Hi-Cannon Trail, Cannon Mountain
 

Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship – Today’s blog article focuses on a keyword search term. I chose one search term, trail ladder, and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents this area of trail stewardship. And because staircases and ladders are often considered to be one and the same among some hikers, I have included trail staircases.

Here in the New Hampshire White Mountains, we have some steep trails. And if it wasn’t for trail ladders we would have a heck of a time hiking up and down some trails. Can you imagine ascending or descending the Six Husbands Trail or the Hi-Cannon Trail without ladders? Six Husbands Trail would be interesting.

Wooden trail ladder on Israel Ridge Path in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Israel Ridge Path – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Trail ladders come in different lengths and styles. And I have always preferred the log ladders (above) over the plank ladders. They seem more natural along the trail system and blend in better with the surroundings than the plank ones. It has been a few years since I last hiked the trail but the ladder on Israel Ridge Path (above) has always been one of my favorites. Some may consider these more steps than a ladder.

A wooden ladder on Lions Head Trail during the summer months in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Lion Head Trail – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
 

Above is what I consider a plank ladder (or staircase) along Lion Head Trail on Mount Washington. I am unsure what the proper terminology is for this style of trail ladder, but it does not matter for this article. I just wanted to include it here so you can see how different it looks from log ladders.

Trail ladders along the Willey Range Trail in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire.
Willey Range Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

The log ladders (and staircases) are usually built right at the site of where the ladder is needed along the trail. And the trees used for the ladders are cut and crafted right at the ladder site. The ladders along the Willey Range Trail (above) are a work of art.

Looking up a trail ladder along Boott Spur Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Boott Spur Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

I was happy when the ladder on Boott Spur Trail (above) was built. I use to have a hard time during the winter months getting up this section of trail with all my camera and hiking gear. And I remember at one point there was a rope tied off to a tree at the top of this steep section that helped us get up and down it. But the ladder makes it easy now.

If you ever come across a professional trail crew building a log ladder along the White Mountain trail system take some time to watch them in action. Because when it comes to trail stewardship, and preserving the trail system these guys are true masters of their craft. You can view more images of trail ladders here.

Happy image making..


 

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image.

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in the environment and historic preservation of New Hampshire. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society. His blog articles are intended to create awareness for historic preservation and land conservation.

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