In my native German, there is a word for a tree that has grown in a way that it lends itself perfectly for smaller kids to climb around in it – Kletterbaum, which translates, literally, as 'climbing tree'.

Here's an image of what a great Kletterbaum might look like:

Kletterbaum in Pankow, Germany

Basically any tree with branches that begin low enough for elementary school kids to reach them, and close enough together they can comfortably (and safely) step from one to another.

I've looked around a bit, and online dictionaries suggest the phrase good tree for climbing as the English equivalent. I'm surprised there isn't a more concise term in English for such an essential aspect of childhood.

Or is there?

What do English or American kids and their parents say, when they speak of such a tree?

  • 2
    May we presume that a compound noun like “climbing tree” would be acceptable even though it contains a space?
    – tchrist
    Aug 25, 2018 at 17:54
  • 1
    Good call. In German it's easier to see that you have a compound word than it is in English because we sometimes use a space or a hyphen to separate the two nouns.
    – tchrist
    Aug 25, 2018 at 18:00
  • 10
    When I was a kid it was "a good climbing tree".
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 25, 2018 at 18:03
  • 4
    We just called it a climbing tree (good was implied). Aug 25, 2018 at 18:21
  • 3
    As to what American parents would say about the tree. There are two types. Those who would way, “You be careful in that tree.” and those who would say,”<full middle name address> you get down from there right now.”
    – Jim
    Aug 25, 2018 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


I (like many of the commenters) would call it a climbing tree.

Here are some examples of this expression in use:

TreesLouisville has access to this gorgeous Climbing Tree that is approximately 35 years old.
The Case for a Climbing Tree

Qualities of a Great Climbing Tree

There were a few qualities that I wanted specifically for a climbing tree for our family.
3 of Our Favorite Trees For Climbing

And it got me thinking about what makes a good climbing tree: [...]

Whether it’s from your resting spot or a perch high atop the canopy, a climbing tree should provide you with something wonderful to see.
Climbing Trees


An adjective you can use to describe a tree that can be climbed is climbable.


Other adjectives are scalable, and ascendable, but these don't specifically refer to a tree, or necessarily to the ease of climbing one. You could try also describing it metaphorically as a ladder.

  • I'm not all that fond of scalable or ascendable (I think we lose a lot of the "charm" with a word like that). However, I'm upvoting this answer because of ladder. I can remember using that metaphor even as a kid; my neighbor had a tree in his yard that we would call "the ladder tree".
    – J.R.
    Aug 26, 2018 at 9:52

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