How to Get the Ladder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Of all the new tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the ladder is probably the one you want the most starting out. It's the only way to reach those tantalizing cliffs lurking just out of reach, with their resources and chances for iron nuggets.
There's no way to buy the ladder or find the DIY recipe in shops. In fact, you won't get the ladder until at least three days into your island experience. Here's how getting the ladder in New Horizons works.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons — How to Get the Ladder
Tom Nook gives you the Ladder DIY Recipe when he asks you to find suitable places for new islanders' homes. There's some disagreement over when and how this happens, though.
Some claim you need to meet and invite three animals before Nook lets you do this, while others say you don't have to invite anyone; it just happens. I invited only one animal, and Nook still asked me to find plots for three houses at a certain point.
I'm guessing that was probably a coincidence, though, because it seems tied to completing Nook's Cranny and not to inviting other animals along. But if you complete Nook's Cranny and nothing happens, pop over to an island using Nook Miles and try to find a new island recruit.
Either way, you'll be making a bridge first before you can get the ladder.
Making a Bridge in New Horizons
The day Nook's Cranny opens, Tom Nook's usual daily broadcast gets interrupted by a phone call. More people want Nook's getaway package, and he promises them furnished homes — the full deluxe treatment.
When you regain control over your character, head to Resident Services.
Speak with Nook until he tells you about his hastiness in promising furnished homes, and he'll ask if you want to be involved. Speak with him again and ask "What Do I Do?" to start the process.
First, he'll tell you the islanders need more space and provides you with a bridge-making kit DIY Recipe. It requires four sets of wooden stakes, four stones, and four lumps of clay.
You can craft one set of wooden stakes with three pieces of regular wood, and clay is a random item that may or may not pop out of rocks when you hit them.
After you've gathered the necessaries and made your bridge kit, don't be hasty about where you build it. This bridge DIY recipe was a one-time thing, and you can't make another one for a while.
Obtaining the Ladder DIY Recpie
After you plunk your bridge down, it won't be ready for another day. Head back to Resident Services anyway, and let Nook know you're finished. He'll give you a run-down of what's next and a ton of new DIY recipes.
One of these recipes is the Ladder (though he doesn't actually tell you it's in there until a bit later).
Unless you've been very industrious with your planting, you'll actually need it to finish getting all the houses ready. One furniture item requires nine tulips, and there just so happens to be an abundance of the lovely flowers on your island's upper levels.
Gather four bits each of wood, hardwood, and softwood, and you're good to go for your Ladder. Fortunately, the Ladder isn't breakable either, or doesn't seem to be. I've used mine a lot, and nothing untoward has happened yet.
That's all you need to know for how to get the Ladder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Make sure to check out our growing collection of Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides to help you get the most out of your island experience, including: