Pueblo Ladders | Kiva Ladders | Log Ladders

Darlene Streit

When people visit Santa Fe, they are inspired by the style of homes and the Southwestern décor that adorns the adobe homes. One of those decoration choices is known as a Pueblo ladder and you may see it laying up against an adobe wall or even on an adobe roof. When you see one of these ladders, you may be surprised that they hold deep cultural significance.

What is a Pueblo Ladder?

​​​​​​​A Pueblo ladder is known by many names: Kiva ladder, log ladder southwest pueblo ladder. While it holds many names, a Pueblo ladder is essentially a decorative (and for some, spiritual) log ladder that is has been a part of the Pueblo culture for centuries. The ladder is narrower at the top providing an illusion of being higher than it actually is.

How are Pueblo Ladders Used?

​​​​​​​Pueblo Ladders are used in many ways

  • As an outdoor decorative feature with the ladder resting against an exterior adobe wall. For homes with more than one floor, you will sometimes see a ladder resting on the roof of the first story, leaning up against the wall of the second story.
  • For the decorative display of quilts, rugs, or other material.
  • As a decorative accessory to a room.

Spiritual Role of the Pueblo Ladder

For many, a Pueblo ladder is more than a decorative item. It holds deep spiritual significance. The ladder represents a connection to others, including ancestors. It is about a journey.​​​​​​​

The Style of Pueblo Ladders

In general, Pueblo ladders are made with wood (like aspen or pine) that is hand carved with notched poles and rungs. The ladders have a rustic look and finish, making them a popular choice for southwestern décor. Some people will paint their ladders in popular Santa Fe colors like teal.
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​​​​​​​Pueblo ladders of the past were very functional. However, most Pueblo ladders today are more decorative in nature and not meant for actual use as a ladder.

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