Come With Me To Climb Jacob’s Ladder In Waco

Have you heard of Jacob’s Ladder in Waco? It’s located in Cameron Park, which is one of the largest municipal parks in the entire state of Texas. (It’s home to Cameron Park zoo, disc golf, hiking, biking…etc) Jacob’s Ladder is kind of famous. For a few reasons. 

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A Quick History Of Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is a tall, steep, winding stairway that leads the adventurous climber up the side of a cliff. While it is a stairway now, it really was originally a “ladder.” It was built to provide Waco Country Club members access to the river from the top of the cliff. (Yikes!) 

So yes, it was constructed in the early 1900s. You can look at this old timey photo and see the way that the original steps were built out of wood:

Jacob's Ladder

The rickety wooden stairs were removed in 1963. Thankfully, the steps have been updated. But (womp womp) they’re still pretty torturous to climb! 

Let’s Climb Jacob’s Ladder!

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I decided to stop by on a warm May day in the afternoon. (For the record, I was not wearing workout clothes and I wish I had been…I worked up quite a sweat!) 

There’s ample parking at the lot at the base of Jacob’s Ladder. However, I’ve heard from a few people that the lot fills up like crazy on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice. Just something to know! 

Jacob's Ladder

The archway that leads to Jacob’s Ladder was constructed in 2009 using wood from the park, which is pretty cool. It definitely lends itself to a good photo op. 

And then…I started climbing! 

Jacob's Ladder

First off, the steps are made of concrete. I guess I was assuming they would be dirt and wood, like you see on hikes? But the entire staircase of Jacob’s Ladder is concrete. 

Jacob's Ladder-11

Also, the steps are incredibly uneven. Like, some of the steps are about 4 inches tall, and others are closer to 24 inches. They remind me of the giant steps I use at the gym to do box jumps. (Good practice, I suppose?) 

Jacob's Ladder

The entire climb took about 5 minutes. It’s not really a “hike” so much as it is a short burst of a climb. 

This would be a good way to work up a sweat before going on a longer hike in Cameron Park! You could also go up and down a few times if you want to get in a nice cardio burst. 

Jacob's Ladder

There are two places where benches have been built into the stairway. If you need to stop and rest, these are available. 

There’s also a handrail along the stairs. I highly recommend holding on to it for the downward climb Like I said, these stairs are STEEP! 

Jacob's Ladder

Is There A View At The Top Of Jacob’s Ladder?

They say it’s more about the journey than the destination…which is a good thing because there was literally no view at all from the top of Jacob’s Ladder. 

Just trees. 

(Pretty ones!)

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Jacob's Ladder

There might be a view in the winter months, but then you’d be looking out toward the cold brown water of the river through spindly tree sticks, which doesn’t sound all that beautiful. 

So if you look at the picture above, you can see that no, there’s not a very good view at the top of Jacob’s Ladder because everything is covered with trees. 

Hope you enjoyed the climb! 

Jacob's Ladder

How Many Steps Are At Jacob’s Ladder?

I literally counted every one, because some people say there are “about 100 steps.”

In case you were wondering: there are 88 in total. 

So it’s a pretty quick 5 minute climb, unless you want to stop at one of the benches for a while. 

Jacob's Ladder

Is Jacob’s Ladder Hard To Climb?

It is very very steep! I’m not going to sugar coat that! But it’s not as long as some people make it out to be. It’s a pretty intense 5 minute climb, and then it’s over. 

However, you definitely wouldn’t want to climb this if you have any sort of leg/knee/ankle issue, as some of the steps are very tall. I also wouldn’t recommend this for young children or elderly people. That’s mostly because climbing back down is quite scary and steep! If you slipped and missed a step, you could easily fall for quite a while down the concrete steps. 

Jacob's Ladder

And there you have it! Jacob’s Ladder is definitely one of the best things to do in Waco. But it’s a short experience, so you’ll want to pair it with some other fun Cameron Park activities. Also, be sure to be mindful about injuries, age appropriateness of the climb. And don’t do what I did…be sure to wear proper clothes/shoes! 

Park Hours:

Friday 6 am–12 am
Saturday 6 am–12 am
Sunday 6 am–12 am
Monday 6 am–12 am
Tuesday 6 am–12 am
Wednesday 6 am–12 am
Thursday 6 am–12 am

WEBSITE | 2500 Cameron Park Dr, Waco, TX 76708

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