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Places in Middle-earth

Road to Dunharrow

Type: Roads, Lanes, Ways

Region: Rohan

Other Names the Stair of the Hold

Location: The road up the Harrowdale valley to the refuge of Dunharrow in the White Mountains of Rohan; it leads to the Dark Door into the Paths of the Dead.


'Harrowdale at last!' said Éomer. 'Our journey is almost at an end.'....

In the deepening dusk they came down into the valley. Here the Snowbourn flowed near to the western walls of the dale, and soon the path led them to a ford where the shallow waters murmured loudly on the stones....

The road now led eastward straight across the valley... in front on the far side of the dale Merry saw a frowning wall, a last outlier of the great roots of the Starkhorn, cloven by the river in ages past....

[The] king's party came up under the looming cliff on the eastern side of the valley; and there suddenly the path began to climb, and Merry looked up in amazement. He was on a road the like of which he had never seen before, a great work of men's hands in years beyond the reach of song. Upwards it wound, coiling like a snake, boring its way across the sheer slope of rock. Steep as a stair, it looped backwards and forwards as it climbed. Up it horses could walk, and wains could be slowly hauled; but no enemy could come that way, except out of the air, if it was defended from above. At each turn of the road there were great standing stones that had been carved in the likeness of men, huge and clumsy-limbed... The Púkel-men they called them....

After a while he looked back and found that he had already climbed some hundreds of feet above the valley....

At last the king's company came to a sharp brink, and the climbing road passed into a cutting between walls of rock, and so went up a short slope and out on to a wide upland. The Firienfeld... [lay among] the great mountains behind: the Starkhorn southwards, and northwards... Írensaga, between which there faced the riders, the grim black wall of the Dwimorberg... rising out of steep slopes of sombre pines. Dividing the upland into two there marched a double line of unshaped standing stones that dwindled into the dusk and vanished in the trees. Those who dared to follow that road came soon to the black Dimholt under Dwimorberg....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

On down the grey road they went beside the Snowbourn... through the hamlets of Underharrow and Upbourn....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

[Said Théoden,] 'Folk say that Dead Men out of the Dark Years guard the [Paths of the Dead] and will suffer no living man to come to their hidden halls; but at whiles they may themselves be seen passing out of the door like shadows and down the stony road. Then the people of Harrowdale shut fast their doors and shroud their windows and are afraid.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

Elena Tiriel 22Dec04
docmon 25Oct05

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