How to build a wood rope bridge

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to build a wood rope bridge
A simple footpath bridge. (Bridge image by Leopold from

People construct wood rope bridges to cross muddy or wet patches along footpaths in the woods. There are many variations on how to construct a wood rope bridge. You should use a simple construction method whenever possible so you can easily repair the bridge as a section becomes worn or begins to rot. Wood rope bridges can prevent wet feet and more importantly, prevent trail erosion.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Twelve 2-by-4-by-36-inch hardwood boards
  • Drill press
  • 1-inch drill bit
  • Four 80-inch sections of 1-inch rope
  • Four 4-by-4-by-60-inch posts
  • Post hole digger
  • 36-inch wide footpath crossing
  • Four stakes
  • Mallet

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  1. 1

    Set up the drill press to drill through the 4-inch width of both ends of the 2-by-4-by-36-inch hardwood boards, approximately 6 inches in from the ends using a 1-inch drill bit. Drill the 12 boards.

  2. 2

    Thread one 80-inch section of rope through a hole in one side of the board. Leave at least 12 inches of excess rope on the outside of the board. Knot the rope and thread it through the same side on another hole and knot it. Continue with this process until you have threaded the rope through all of one side of each of the 12 boards. Thread the other rope through the other side of the boards using the same process.

  3. 3

    Drill two holes in each 4-by-4-by-60-inch post. Drill one hole 12 inches down from the top of each post. Drill the other hole 16 inches up from the bottom of each post. Use a 1-inch drill bit and drill press to drill the holes.

  4. 4

    Dig a 2-foot deep hole for each of the posts with a post hole digger. Position the posts 36 inches apart on each side of the footpath crossing and in approximately 6 inches from the edge of the crossing.

  5. 5

    Thread one end of the rope through each lower hole in the posts. Tie the rope off using a double knot on the back side of the post. Do this on each of the posts.

  6. 6

    Thread one 80-inch section of 1-inch rope through the top hole of the left-hand side of the post. Pull it across the crossing and through the top hole of the other post. This is the handrail. Leave an even section of rope hanging off each back side of the post. Do the same with the a second 80-inch section of 1-inch rope with the posts on the right-hand side of the bridge. Tie off the excess rope to a stake. Drive the stake into the ground using a mallet. You should drive it at a diagonal back from the post. Do this with each portion of excess rope on each post.

Tips and warnings

  • Only use this bridge to cross shallow wet or muddy areas along a path. Do not use it to cross over high crossings.

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