Bridges space a famous treehouse accessory and include to the adventure and also fun of moving approximately in the trees. A bridge have the right to be offered to accessibility a treehouse from either the ground or an additional tree, or can lead come a various treehouse or platform.

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Types the bridge

A solid bridge is typically wooden and spans A come B as a level walkway v railings. Heavy bridges are minimal in span by the strength of the timber. Long spans can be supported by articles down to the floor or cables up to the trees. A bridge without any extra support would be minimal in practicality to about 10" (3.3m). The beams in the bridge undergo tension and compression pressures in use. The attachment points at each end will have to support the meant weight exhilaration downwards, however will not be under significant tension.

A rope leg is a form of suspension bridge. The rope can be any high strength cable i m sorry has minimal stretch. Nylon rope and steel cable space the most common cables used for treehouse bridges. Rope bridges rely on their relations at each end. Castle are always under tension so attachments require special consideration to take into account both weight (vertical load) and the stress and anxiety of the bridge (acting horizontally).

Solid bridges

A wood bridge have the right to make a great entrance walk come a treehouse developed on a slope. As the tree will move in the wind, one finish of the bridge need to be allowed to move. That is usually easier to have the moving end on solid ground (much choose a ship"s gangway), but the bridge could additionally be solved to the solid ground and enabled to on slide in a distinct bracket in ~ the treehouse end.

Rope bridges

Rope bridges have the right to be dangerous to build and use. They call for skill and common sense to install safely. Fail to architecture a safe system have the right to lead to serious injury or death. For anything other than low, quick spans, contact a professional for further advice or to develop the leg for you - view the list of contact at the end of the page.

The simplest rope bridge is composed of a cable to was standing on and a cable to organize onto through your hands. This style is quick and easy to construct but deserve to be tricky come walk along. The situation can be boosted by offsetting the hand cable to one side, which enables the walker to stand much more vertically.

The next development is to add a second hand cable so the the arms are spread out, enhancing balance. In this design, the shortest cable takes many of the weight. To enhance the stability of the bridge, the foot cable have the right to be tied up to each that the hand cables using brief lengths the cable at continuous intervals forming a railing. This also improves safety and security in instance the walker slips. The higher the hand cable is, the greater the stability, back the highest possible that most world are comfortable using is approximately shoulder height.

Suspended walkway


A much better form of rope bridge, in terms of ease the use, has actually a wooden deck running listed below the hand ropes. When set up correctly, this leg is stable and safe for even tiny children to use. Commonly two high toughness deck cables space strung in between A and also B, in ~ the same height and also with a horizontal separation that 2-3" (30-90cm). The boards for the walkway room then either tied or bolted to the cable so the they can"t move or job-related loose. Two hand cables, which deserve to be of slightly lighter material, are strung 3-5" (90-150cm) over the deck cables. Ties are then linked between the hand rail and also deck rail on every side. The ties have the right to be do from a single rope which operation up and down along the entirety length of the bridge. Separate cables (usually rope), or mesh have the right to be strung follow me the ties to hold them in position and also reduce the threat of everyone slipping the end between adjacent ties.

Cable attachment

Due come the high stress and anxiety in the bridge cables, they must be solved to a sufficiently strong point top top the tree, treehouse or the ground. The attachments points will certainly be under a most pressure, therefore attaching directly to the tree is preferable. A hefty duty eyebolt (see the cables page) is the best fixing point. Slings around the tree room stronger but can cause damage to the bark and restrict growth. In order come get sufficient separation in between the cables you may need to usage a thick item of hardwood as a diffusion to hold the cables in ~ the correct street apart.

Large spans might require extr cabling indigenous the tree in ~ each end of the leg to another suggest such as a tree directly behind. The cable must be fixed lower down on the second tree. This spreads the bridge"s stress over two trees which reduces the push on the key tree and gives a more solid fixture to the bridge. This technique also demands to be supplied if the leg cable is solved to a tiny branch that the tree due to the fact that the branch could snap under high tension. Run an additional cable either earlier to the main trunk if the is behind the branch, or ago to an additional tree.

Tensioning cables

Rope bridges call for tension to keep them together level as feasible and to avoid excessive sway. This provides a effectively tensioned bridge simple to go across. Unfortunately, a bridge with a wooden deck deserve to become an extremely heavy after just a short span, so that becomes difficult to get enough tension in the cables by hand toughness alone. Girlfriend can acquire round the problem using a block and tackle system, turnbuckles or a ratchet mechanism. A block and tackle allows you to increase the tension number of times higher than friend can normally pull by hand. Turnbuckles permit extra slack to be taken up when the cable has actually been tensioned, however as they have only a restricted distance volume they are finest used through steel cables which don"t big as much as rope. A ratchet system is a steel machine that deserve to be cranked through a lever to gradually draw in the excess cable. You have the right to buy ratchet mechanisms for zip lines i m sorry will work-related well top top a bridge, or you deserve to adapt the system from a high capacity ratchet strap.

It is an extremely important the all her hardware is rated to stand up to the tension gathered in a rope bridge, as it can take only one part to fail for the bridge to collapse. The anxiety in the cables have the right to be reasonably high even before anybody adds their weight by walking across and will rise even much more as the wind blows the tree backwards and forwards. The necessary thing is to preserve a an excellent safety margin so that the hardware you usage is well within its working limits. Attachment points and also mechanisms need to be frequently inspected and adjusted. Only one person at a time must use a treehouse suspension bridge.

The attachment points

For a rely deck bridge, you will have 4 cables at each finish of the bridge. Each of this cables should be addressed to something that have the right to withstand the tension and also vertical fill of the bridge, even in a storm. The cables could be attached to the tribe of the tree, a branch, part of the treehouse, to the ground, or come a structure fixed to the ground.

The cables themselves have to not be fixed directly to the support, but rather to an anchor suggest such together an eye bolt or sling. Attachments to components of the tree need to be made closely to prevent damaging the bark. If you use slings, they should be traction tight to prevent movement in use and also should be removed and inspected each year to prevent restrictions to the tree"s growth. Eye bolts have tendency to cause less damage than pack ropes or slings roughly the tree and also can be left in location permanently. Eye bolts in the format of lag bolts (ie a 6-8" threaded section), must be fitted at 45-90° to the direction that pull. This lowers the threat of the bolt pulling the end under load, but requires one-of-a-kind attention come the working pack of the bolt under angular forces. Lengthy bolts passing all the means through the tree deserve to take much greater loads since they can be lined up through the cable.

If you attach the cables come the treehouse itself you will need to ensure that the parts have the right to transmit the tensile force of the cables safely into the tree. Tie the cables to the leaf of the deck or to a railing is no safe and can fail if the components are not reinforced.

Practical advice for building rope bridges

Reinforce the attachments points in ~ each finish to ensure lock can conveniently take the stress in the cable.Unless you are going to take it the leg down every year for adjustment, use eye bolts instead of straps/ropes around branches to prevent tree damage.Use a backup cable because that each hand and deck cable in case of unanticipated failure.Climbing rope is a high stamin cable material, however must it is in of the non-elastic kind, sometimes dubbed a "static" rope.If making use of rope, use a length that can expectancy the space in one go. Knots will lower the strength.Ensure decking is smooth wherein it will call the cable to prevent damage.Attach any decking come the cables utilizing U-bolts for steel cable or rope/straps because that rope cables.


Test the bridge over a few days using some dead weight in the middle, eg timber, big containers of water or sand bags.Stay turn off the leg in stormy weather.One person at a time.Children should always be supervised.Consider installation a gate if you have actually young children.

Example treehouse bridges

Cedar Creek "Rainbow Bridge" and "Sun Bridge" - huge scale cable bridges developed at ground level and raised to 80 feet.Nelson Treehouse - video of several of their bridge projects.

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Professional rope bridge builders

For the highest level of safety, have your rope bridge built for friend by specialists with endure in this area. For long or high spans this is essential.