This what I'm referring to:

enter image description here

I guess the starting section can be called wooden steps, but as it goes further, it's no longer a step but a "path." What do you call the whole structure? (I'm looking for a common-easy-to-understand term, rather than a technical one).

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    You do find some lovely images, I have to say. Where is this place? EDIT Oops, ermanen has answered that already. – Mari-Lou A May 7 '14 at 8:36
  • janoChen, do you remember my comment under your question at this link? english.stackexchange.com/questions/160110/… – Tristan r May 7 '14 at 11:09
  • @Tristan r Oh my, what's wrong with my memory. I should go see a specialist. – janoChen May 7 '14 at 13:00
  • janoChen, probably. You also need to edit the last sentence in the question. – Tristan r May 7 '14 at 13:22
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    @ Tristan r OK done. I think I'll remember from now on. – janoChen May 7 '14 at 13:23

The U.S. National Park Service uses them extensively In Everglades National Park. (obviously without the steps.) They are described as boardwalks in both the Park Service literature and by those of us who use the Park. I realize the word is also used to describe a similar structure along a beach, but "context is everything."

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  • I, too, thought of boardwalk, but the etymology appears to be more recent than wooden walkways. I wonder what they were called before boardwalks? – anongoodnurse May 7 '14 at 1:42
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    There is a road in Cleveland, Ohio, actually Parma, Ohio, called Plank Road. Back in the day, it was paved with wooden planks. – Michael Owen Sartin May 7 '14 at 1:44
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    @medica: Most of the (online) dictionaries I just checked say that the earliest attested use of boardwalk in this sense is from the 1870s; I've no idea what they were called before that. – Ilmari Karonen May 7 '14 at 9:37
  • @IlmariKaronen possibly "bridge" since that's what boardwalks ultimately are. – msam May 7 '14 at 10:44
  • I would associate a boardwalk with water in some way, as at the beach, and I assume the Everglades too. I'm not saying that is definitive in any way, just the impression the word conjures up in my mind. – AdamV May 7 '14 at 10:57

I would call that a [wooden] walkway.

I have most often encountered them in national parks or other scenic areas where they have been used to allow walkers to cross over swampland without getting their feet wet or damaging the ground and plants.

Another possibility is decking.

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  • I'd call it a walkway as well, rather than a boardwalk. Just curious, do you use US English, or British or Australian English? – Andrew Grimm May 8 '14 at 13:20
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    Mostly British; but as I've now been living in the US for over a decade I've become familiar with some of the subtler differences in usage between BrE and AmE. – Erik Kowal May 8 '14 at 17:16

I think you already found the most common and easy-to-understand term. It is a wooden path. (you can also call it a "wooden pathway").

The whole structure can be called a path or a pathway also. A path can be elevated and it can have stairs, steps and rails.

The wooden path in your picture can be called a wooden trail or a wooden plank trail also. The photo is from Alishan National Scenic Area in Taiwan. Its official website calls it a wooden plank trail too.

A close up of the new wooden path leading up from Dersingham Bog

enter image description here

More examples:

enter image description here enter image description here

Note: Also mentioned as "tree top way" or "tree top walk".

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northampton/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8298000/8298665.stm

enter image description here

Source: http://www.archcityhomes.com/2011/07/29/st-louis-in-pictures-forest-park/

enter image description here

Source: http://www.globaltravelmate.com/asia/thailand/hua-hin/hua-hin-to-do/621-hua-hin-pranburi-forest-park.html

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    I used Google "Search by image" feature. I wish the answer was "I've been there". – ermanen May 7 '14 at 3:25
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    Not my downvote but I believe wooden path is too generic, although understandable it is misleading. +1 for finding the location and "wooden plank trail" – Mari-Lou A May 7 '14 at 8:44
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    Technically the most accurate answer as this is specifically what the owners of the path call it! Upvoted. – Joe Harper May 7 '14 at 12:41
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    This does not appear to be a wooden path/walkway. It is on the ground and is only using wood for railings and step risers. The OP showed an elevated wooden deck/stairs with railings, which keeps walkers dry and stops erosion/compaction of the soil. That is also different from a corduroy or plank road/path, which is at surface level. – Phil Perry May 7 '14 at 16:42
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    @Phil: You do not know the whole structure. It is just a part of it and an example. There are pictures you can find similar to what OP put also. As I mentioned in my answer, path can be elevated also. Yes, path itself makes you think a way on the ground but not necessarily. – ermanen May 7 '14 at 16:55

I have heard the term "corduroy roads" used to describe log laid roadways in the colonial era of the US. Hardening of hiking trails is also accomplished with a series of 2 parallel laid logs with a flattened top surface, referred to often as "bog bridges". In some places these extend for hundreds of meters and minimize erosion in seasonally or permanently wet areas with fragile soils.

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  • That is a new one for me. It makes sense, but if I had heard the term out of context, I don't think I would have made the association with a boardwalk or log-path. – Tonny May 7 '14 at 13:58
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    These are good words, but both of them are rather different from what the OP is describing. – Nate Eldredge May 7 '14 at 14:48

Some elevated platforms built with planks to keep hikers/bikers out of the mud are called puncheons.

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    Hi, jeanette. This is a very promising answer—and puncheon is a word that I've heard in the past without ever knowing what it meant. Please consider adding a relevant dictionary definition of puncheon to your answer so that readers will be able to see why it's a good suggestion, without having to resort to a dictionary themselves. If you make that addition, I will happily upvote the answer. Thanks! – Sven Yargs Oct 8 '18 at 19:28
  • Here's some factual support for this answer: a U.S. Forest Service publication explaining how these are built. fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/htmlpubs/htm04232825/page25.htm – MetaEd Oct 8 '18 at 20:21
  • To show that yours is the right answer, please edit to include explanation, context, and supporting facts. You can offer evidence, such as the definition from a good online dictionary, or contrast your answer with other answers. Whatever will make this the “right” answer. This is what makes answers useful – to the asker, and to future visitors. See: “Real questions have answers, not items or ideas or opinions”. – MetaEd Oct 8 '18 at 20:29

I know of several words for this.

Already mentioned: Boardwalk, wooden (plank) path.
(Boardwalk is, afaik, derived from "walkway made out of boards", board being an old synonym for plank.)

What I haven't seen yet: Log-path or log-road.
These have been in use for thousands of years in European swamps/bogs and were usually made of 4' to 6' sections of log, often split length-wise with the split-side facing up to get a more even surface.
In the Netherlands/Germany they are also known by the term knuppel-pad (Dutch) or Knupfelpfad (German). Knuppel/Knupfel means "big stick of wood" like a bat or a rod. Small log would sort of fit the bill in translation for that.
In modern days the rough logs get replaced by neat planking, but the basic idea is still the same and the name remains.
I have seen the term log-path used in Ireland, Scotland and on maps/signs in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Germany where a English text was provided for the tourists.

Please note: Log-road can also mean "(temporary) road used by loggers to get access to the forest area where they are working."

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  • Yes, if I heard the term log road I might think it meant logging road, a rough dirt road used by logging trucks. – Jeanne Pindar May 7 '14 at 13:10

In Australia, it would be raised walkway or overhead walkway.

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Causeway - From Merriam-Webster online: a raised way across wet ground or water;

rephrased for English language learners: a raised road or path that goes across wet ground or water

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