||Soil and water conservation (SWC) practices have been promoted in the highlands of Ethiopia during the last four decades. However, the level of adoption of SWC practices varies greatly. This paper examines the drivers of different stages of adoption of SWC technologies in the north-western highlands of Ethiopia. This study is based on a detailed farm survey among 298 households in three watersheds. Simple descriptive statistics were applied to analyze the stages of adoption. An ordered probit model was used to analyze the drivers of different stages of adoption of SWC. This model is used to analyze more than two outcomes of an ordinal dependent variable. The results indicate that sampled households are found in different phases of adoption, i.e., dis-adoption/non-adoption (18.5 %), initial adoption (30.5 %), actual adoption (20.1 %), and final adoption (30.9 %). The results of the ordered probit model show that some socio-economic and institutional factors affect the adoption phases of SWC differently. Farm labor, parcel size, ownership of tools, training in SWC, presence of SWC program, social capital (e.g., cooperation with adjacent farm owners), labor sharing scheme, and perception of erosion problem have a significant positive influence on actual and final adoption phases of SWC. In addition, the final adoption phase of SWC is positively associated with tenure security, cultivated land sizes, parcel slope, and perception on SWC profitability. Policy makers should take into consideration factors affecting (continued) adoption of SWC such as profitability, tenure security, social capital, technical support, and resource endowments (e.g., tools and labor) when designing and implementing SWC policies and programs.