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Animal Crossing Ladder unlocking: How to get a ladder to climb cliff ledges in New Horizons

How to unlock the elusive tool as soon as possible.

Animal Crossing's Ladder is one of the more elusive Tools to get in the early game of New Horizons.

Despite having access to seemingly everything else in the first couple of days thanks to Tom Nook, the ability to climb cliff ledges will evade you until you run through a specific set of steps.

Thankfully, as long as you're progressing through the game's series of island unlocks you can't miss it - but if you want to know exactly what to do to get there, this page on how to unlock the Ladder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has you covered.

On this page:

How to get the Ladder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

To get the ladder, you need to have unlocked Nook's Cranny and started placing new Villager houses around the island.

To break this down from the beginning - Nook's Cranny is the shop which Timmy and Tommy request you build in the early game, which requires 30 pieces of each type of Wood material, as well as 30 Iron Nuggets, to set up.

It's the latter you might have trouble getting quickly; our Iron Nuggets farm advice can explain how to get this within a day or two of first visiting the island.

Once you have upgraded the shop and decided where it should go, it will be constructed the next day. At the same time, Nook will take a phone call during his usual opening announcement - hinting more Villagers are on the way.

(If he does not get a phone call at this point, it's possible you might also have to have the fully constructed Museum on your island as well - a fairly straightforward process which you can do alongside getting Nook's Cranny up and running.)

After this phone call, visit Nook in Resident Services. Talk to him to learn about new Villagers, then do so again, choosing 'What should I do?'.

This starts the process of seeing more Villagers arrive. But before the Villagers can, you need to place your first bridge. Nook will give you the DIY Recipe to build one. Since it uses natural resources on the island, shouldn't take too long. Though you need to wait a day for the bridge to be built, you can continue with Nook's Villager problem straight away - and in turn, get the Ladder.

Once the bridge has been built, return to Nook, and he will give you three house plots to place.

Decide where you want to put them, and after the second house has been placed, Nook will give you a phone call, saying the furniture you need to craft for these houses need materials from flowers on top of cliffs - which is why you need a Ladder.

Nook will send you the Ladder DIY receipt there and then. Finally! To craft it, you need the following materials:

  • 4x Wood
  • 4x Hardwood
  • 4x Softwood

With that done, it's then in your inventory and ready to use.

How to get the Ladder as fast as possible in Animal Crossing

Though you could technically get the Ladder in a couple of days, there are a lot of materials to farm to get there. If you want it as soon as your second day, there is a way - and that's with the help of friends in multiplayer.

Simply put - once you have a friend who has unlocked a Ladder, they can craft one and post it to you provided you are Best Friends. As soon as you get the Ladder, it's possible Nook Cranny can stock a DIY recipe for it also - which you can post to them, or have you come round to purchase yourself.

There is technically nothing 'game-breaking' about having the Ladder early - so if you're keen to have it as soon as possible, there's no reason not to. And a benefit of doing so is having access to different types of Fish, Insects, and more rocks and fossils to mine.

If you're playing in the month of launch, it's worth noting there is a type of Fish disappearing at the end of the month only found in the pool at the top of the cliffs - in case you needed another incentive to get a move on.

The Animal Crossing 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise is here! We can help you with the new additions - including where to find Brewster, Gyroids, new villagers, ordinances, new fences, storage shed, new hairstyles, Froggy Chair, group stretching and Kapp'n boat tours. Cooking is now unlockable, so you need to know how to make both flour and sugar, as well as how to grow carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Meanwhile, if you're new to Animal Crossing, our New Horizons tips can help with the basics. From the off, there's fish and bugs to catch, flowers and fruit to grow with. One long term goal is building your Happy Home Academy score. Finally, you need tools such as the new ladder and vaulting pole to fully explore.

How to climb cliff ledges using the Ladder

Once you have the Ladder, you can start exploring those higher elevations in the north of the island.

To use it, stand facing and against the cliff face, then pull out the Ladder like any other tool. Your villager will then climb up. Simple as that!

You also have to use the Ladder every time you want to climb down as well - there's no quick and easy way to leap down. Guess you don't want your Villager to hurt themselves.

Though the new found sense of exploration is liberating, like using the Vaulting Pole over Rivers, you'll grow tired of having to use a tool to get around. Thankfully, you can unlock the ability to build slopes in time.

But again, this requires another wait - so keep playing!

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About the Author
Matthew Reynolds avatar

Matthew Reynolds


Matthew Reynolds edited guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer from 2010 - 2023. When he wasn't doing that, he was out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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