Cliffside pathways are paths or trails that lead up or down steep cliffsides, escarpments, or mountainsides. Fictional cliffside pathways may include perilous bridges, tunnels, stairs carved from the stone, and abrupt drop offs. They may lead to mountaintops or high plateaus. They may be a hidden route, may be the only path through a terrain feature, or may be defended. Cliffside pathways may represent a religiously important trial and if so the number of steps they contain may be meaningful. Cliffside pathways may be home to travelers, smugglers, pilgrims, and trolls.
Designing Fictional Cliffside Pathways
When designing cliffside pathways consider who first constructed them, for what reason, and how long ago they were built. Often in fantasy worldbuilding these passages were made in another age and have since fallen into disrepair or have been largely forgotten about. If that is the case, they may be a hidden route.
Fictional cliffside pathways are often the sites of avalanches, storms, and roadside ambushes.
Cliffside pathways often feature switchbacks, or tight turns where the path doubles back on itself. Switchbacks ensure that, while the path becomes much longer, it is not too steep to traverse.