The Ladder Hills are a ridge of rolling moorlands with broad summits. Some exceed 760m in height and are the most north easterly hills of their altitude in the British Isles. The Ladder Hills hills are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Golden Plover, Dunlin, Dotterel and Raven may all be found here. The Ladder Hills are a significant feeding area for raptors such as Peregrine, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle. Large populations of Red Grouse and Mountain Hare live on the hillsides alongside typical Scottish upland mammals including Red Deer and Roe Deer. During winter Snow Bunting can be seen at the Lecht and Ptarmigan on the tops.
The lower slopes of dry heather heath are a particularly fine example of a nationally threatened semi-natural vegetation type. Higher up there are Blaeberry snowbed communities which also contain mountain plants such as Chickweed Wintergreen, Dwarf Cornel, Bog Blaeberry and Cloudberry. On the summit plateau, sphagnum moss grows in the heather, cotton sedge blanket bog. This is one of the most important places in Britain for grey lichens of the reindeer moss group, which are widespread and include the rare Alectoria Sarmentosa.