Skip to Content

Chrome Hill In The Peak District: Climbing The Dragon’s Back

Chrome Hill In The Peak District: Climbing The Dragon’s Back

Despite being called the Peak District, this national park (the first in the UK) actually has very few real ‘peaks’. But, you can find a couple of them with a visit to Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill, AKA the Dragon’s Back Peak District. The walk to Chrome Hill in the Peak District National Park is short and steep, offering exciting hiking and exceptional views as you climb over the spiny ridge of the Dragon’s Back. In addition, the walk to Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill at sunrise is really quite special.

In this guide, we’ll look at what and where the Chrome Hill walk in the Peak District is located. We’ll give a brief overview of the walk itself, before quickly mentioning a couple of alternative Chrome Hill route options. Then, we’ll finish by letting you know how to get there, where to park and what the best time of year to visit the Dragon’s Back in the Peak District is.

To see footage of the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill Peak District circular walk, feel free to watch our Dragon’s Back Walk (Chrome Hill) for Sunrise YouTube production.

For more incredible walks in the Peak District, check out our guides on Three Shires Head, Padley Gorge and Thor’s Cave. Otherwise, read our Peak District Hiking post (guide coming soon), where we reveal some of the best hikes in the Peak District National Park.

Where Is Chrome Hill?

Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill fall in the Derbyshire part of the Peak District. The Dragon’s Back hills are found in the Upper Dove Valley just south of Buxton, one of the Peak District’s most popular tourist towns. More specifically, Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill fall within the small parish of Hartington Middle Quarter.

Chrome Hill is a limestone reef knoll. As too is neighbouring Parkhouse Hill. This means at some point in history, the Peak District’s Dragon’s Back walk was once part of an ancient sea floor. Other incredible examples can also be found at Thorpe Cloud, in the south of the Peak District, and also in various areas of the Yorkshire Dales.

​​​​​​​Why Is Chrome Hill Called The Dragon’s Back?

The Peak District’s Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill are collectively known as the Dragon’s Back. This is due to the spiny ridgeback shape that rises sharply from the open farmland that surrounds them. They do indeed resemble a sleeping dragon. Both Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill are on the list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), chosen because of their geological and flora features.

How To Get To Chrome Hill in the Peak District

The best way to get to Chrome Hill for the circular walk is with your own set of wheels. Incredibly, any visit to the Peak District National Park isn’t too far from the cities of Manchester and Sheffield. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the nearest places to travel from. We’ll include the distance and drive time.

  • Manchester: 1.5 hours // 35 miles (56km)
  • Sheffield: 1 hour // 30 miles (48km)
  • Buxton: 20 minutes // 7 miles (11km)
  • Bakewell: 30 minutes // 12 miles (20km)

If you don’t have access to your own vehicle, then we recommend hiring something. Of course, this can easily be organised from both Manchester and Sheffield. When hiring a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.

Public Transport

It’s possible to take on the Dragon’s Back and walk the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill circular walk in the Peak District using public transport. Although, it’s less convenient than having access to your own vehicle. It’ll add a little extra walking to the hike as well.

The most straightforward route from both Manchester and Sheffield is to take the train to New Mills Central. Then, from New Mills Central you’ll take a train to Buxton and then pick up bus #442 down to Earl Sterndale. Then, from Earl Sterndale you’ll begin the walk, adding an additional 3km onto the Chrome Hill walk, each way.

You can check the train services here and the bus services here. Also, we recommend using Google Maps to help plan your journey.

​​​​​​​Chrome Hill Parking

For the Chrome Hill circular walk that Dan and I chose to complete, we began in Earl Sterndale. You’ll find the trailhead next to the Quiet Woman Pub. Around the quaint village of Earl Sterndale, you’ll find a good selection of on-street parking surrounding the green between The Quiet Woman Pub and the church. We arrived early in time for a sunrise walk to Chrome Hill and had plenty of options.

Dan and Beck enjoy sunrise over the Dragon's Back Peak District

Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Circular Walk Preview

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 8.5km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 430m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: On-street parking next to The Quiet Woman Pub (Earl Sterndale)
  • Map: Wikiloc

Chrome Hill Walk

The trail to walk over Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill (AKA the Dragon’s Back) begins in the pretty little Peak District village of Earl Strendale. Head directly for The Quiet Woman Pub and pass through the car park there. At the far side, you’ll take the path that passes through open farmland, crossing a couple of styles before a small country road. All the while, you’ll have splendid views of the Peak District’s Dragon’s Back rising higher before you.

Parkhouse Hill

The first of the Dragon’s Back ridges to scramble over belongs to the Peak District’s Parkhouse Hill. In many ways, Parkhouse Hill is the spiniest looking of the two ridges. Parkhouse Hill is smaller than Chrome Hill, and the views from its undulating summit are quite something. This is especially true at sunrise as the light starts to illuminate every nook and cranny of the Dragon’s Back, and light up the surrounding Peak District National Park. The highest point of Parkhouse Hill sits 360 metres above sea level.

There’s a steep descent down the opposite side of Parkhouse Hill, before the climb up taller Chrome Hill for more fantastic views of the Peak District.

Dan sat at Parkhouse Hill Dragon's Back Peak District

Dragon’s Back Peak District

Ascending Chrome Hill is breathtaking. You’ll get a better sense of the distinctive shape of Parkhouse Hill, the higher you climb. Chrome Hill is much larger than Parkhouse Hill, with its undulating ridgeback less distinct but still just as epic. Standing at 425 metres above sea level, certainly, watching the sun rise behind Parkhouse Hill from this part of the Dragon’s Back was a Peak District sight we’ll never forget.

After enjoying the views from the summit, the Chrome Hill walk continues to traverse the spiny ridgeline as it begins to descend the western end of the hillside. From here, you’ll notice some truly incredible rock formations. The rocky Dragon’s Back really pops out of the grassy green blanket covering the hillside.

After descending Chrome Hill, there’s another short climb back up onto the surrounding farmland. Then, you’ll pass Stoop Farm and then turn right onto the country road and complete the circular Chrome Hill walk back to Earl Sterndale. All the while, enjoying more wonderful views of this truly epic natural landmark in the Peak District National Park.

Dan enjoying views of the Dragon's Back Peak District

Chrome Hill Peak District Recap

As far as walks in the Peak District go, Chrome Hill is easily one of the best. In addition, it’s one of the best sunrise walks we’ve done in the UK. And so, we’d wholly recommend visiting the Dragon’s Back early to enjoy some beautiful views of the Peak District.

Alternative Routes to Chrome Hill

There are a few alternative starting points to the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill circular walk. Below, we’ll take a look.

Chrome Hill Walk From Hollinsclough

This circular walk variation of the Dragon’s Back begins from the little Peak District village of Hollinsclough. Hollinsclough lies to the south of Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill and crosses the River Dove to complete a fantastic 9km loop trail.

Follow the trail here.

Chrome Hill Walk From Longorn

A slightly longer walk option begins south of Earl Sterndale in the village of Longorn. Again, this walking route crosses the River Dove and passes through the small hamlet of Glutton Bridge en route.

Follow the trail here.

Chrome Hill Walk From Glutton Bridge

To keep the walk even shorter, you could possibly begin from Glutton Bridge and complete a circular walk of Chrome Hill from there. Better still, if you’re really short on time, you might consider a simple Dragon’s Back out and back Peak District walk.

Beck enjoying views over Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill

The Best Time of Year to Climb the Dragon’s Back, Peak District

You can climb the Dragon’s Back in the Peak District any time of year. Certainly, Dan and I took on the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill circular walk in winter and enjoyed a crisp morning and spectacular sunrise. All the better for not having had to get up too early for it either.

Of course, those in the know will tell you that August is a wonderful time for hiking in the Peak District. That’s because in late summer the vibrant purple heather is in bloom and shrouds the rolling hills of the Peak District in an incredible purple blanket.

But remember, the Peak District can and does see a fair amount of rainfall and so even if you walk Chrome Hill on a dry day, it isn’t unusual to see elements of the trail a little muddy from previous rainfall. With that being said, take care on the steep descents and as always, it’s a good idea to wear a decent pair of hiking boots when out in the Peaks.

FAQs

Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill circular walk in the Peak District National Park.

How Long Does it Take to Climb Chrome Hill?

The walk variation we completed of Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill took three hours. But, we did stop to take many photos though, so it could be completed quicker.

Is Chrome Hill a Hard Walk?

The walk up Parkhouse and Chrome Hill is not hard, but just strenuous in places. Certainly, you’ll require a fair bit of concentration when navigating the steep descents too. But, overall, the trail is clearly defined and easy to walk on.

How High is Chrome Hill?

Chrome Hill stands at 425 metres above sea level. Indeed, it towers over Parkhouse Hill next door, which is 360 metres above sea level.

Dan and Beck on the Chrome Hill Dragon's Back walk Peak District

Other Walks in the Peak District National Park

There are plenty of hikes in the Peak District National Park. Seriously, loads. But, these are some of our favourites.

  • Mam Tor: one of the most popular walks in the Peak District, with various length route options including Win Hill and the Great Ridge.
  • Alport Castles: a hidden gem in the Peak District, the Alport Castles are the result of one of the largest landslips in the UK.
  • Derwent Edge: a beautiful walk up a typical Peak District escarpment and across the wild open moorland. Additionally, there are a number of interesting rock formations along the trail.
  • The Roaches and Lud’s Church: hike up and around the famous rocky ridge in the south Peaks and add on the fairytale rocky chasm of Lud’s Church.
  • Kinder Scout and Downfall: hike to the Peak District’s highest point and enjoy the seasonal waterfall from this vast open plateau.
  • Stanage Edge: whether you hike or climb, a visit to the Stanage Edge escarpment will leave you spellbound.
  • Dovedale to Milldale: a walk through the beautiful Dovedale passes hidden caves, picturesque forest and clifftop trails. Be sure to add Thorpe’s Cloud and Bunster Hill to your hike.
  • Three Shires Head: at the point where Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire meet is a pretty little cascade.
  • Thor’s Cave: this impressive natural cavern has fantastic views across the Manifold Valley in the south of the Peak District.
  • Dovestone Circular: a fantastic circular walk around reservoirs and moorland, enjoying the ever-popular Trinnacles rock formation.
  • Bamford Edge: easily one of the most photographed parts of the Peak District.
  • Padley Gorge: a deep and narrow valley offers a magical woodland walk to all who venture within.
Dan on the Chrome Hill walk at sunrise

Five Hiking Essentials For the Chrome Hill Walk

These are our five hiking gear essentials for the Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill circular walk in the Peak District! For a more extensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Alternatively, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a hiking trip to the Peak District, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.

You should also pack water, snacks and warm clothing if visiting at sunrise.

Bonus Tips

  • Chrome Hill Peaky Blinders: for any Peaky Blinders fans out there, you’ll find Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill feature in the final series as the backdrop to Tommy Shelby’s gypsy caravan.
  • Sunrise: set those alarms and be sure to visit for sunrise. You won’t regret it. Or alternatively, visit at sunset, where you might get to witness the rare phenomenon of a double sunset.
  • Explore more of the Peak District: if you want the hassle taken care of when it comes to trip planning, Get Your Guide offers some pretty great tour options for the Peak District National Park.

Save or share this post with your hiking buddies before your next trip to the Peak District National Park!

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *