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Cow Close Gill Waterfall: How to Find This Underrated Waterfall

Cow Close Gill Waterfall: How to Find This Underrated Waterfall

Cow Close Gill Waterfall (AKA Cow Close Falls, Cow Close Waterfalls and Middle Falls) is a magnificent waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about finding the underrated yet impressive Cow Close Gill Waterfall.

Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls)

First things first – the sublime multi-tier waterfall found along Cow Close Gill doesn’t have an official name. For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to use the name Cow Close Gill Waterfall as this name seems logical. Otherwise, you’ll hear others refer to the waterfall as Cow Close Falls, Cow Close Waterfalls and even Middle Falls.

Secondly, this waterfall isn’t hidden or any secret. By driving along B6160 (Park Lane) in the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll actually see the waterfall from the roadside. But, not many people actually go and explore the waterfall on foot.

Personally, Beck and I rate this waterfall as one of the best in the Yorkshire Dales. Although, you’ll want to visit after heavy rainfall. Without heavy rainfall, the waterfall can often look tame or even run dry. Indeed, with the right weather conditions, this waterfall can be absolutely pumping and look utterly impressive.

So, what exactly is the location of Cow Close Gill Waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales?

Read our Buckden Visitor’s Guide

Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Gill Falls)
Aerial photo of Cow Close Gill Waterfall

Where Is Cow Close Gill Waterfall?

Cow Close Gill Waterfall is located in Upper Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales in North Yorkshire. To help get your bearings, please click on the Cow Close Gill Waterfall map below to access an interactive map of the area.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Cow Close Gill Waterfall
Please note: Google Maps refers to Cow Close Gill Waterfall as Middle Falls

Cow Close Gill Waterfall postcode: BD23 5JA

How to Get to Cow Close Gill Waterfall

There are actually quite a few options for reaching the waterfall. Below, we’ll go through the four main options.

Dan at Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Gill Falls)

1. The Quickest Way From Park Lane

The quickest way to reach Cow Close Gill Waterfall is by parking on B6160 (Park Lane). There is no official Cow Close Gill Waterfall parking. But, there are two laybys where you can park on B6160, which gives quick access to the waterfall.

One of the laybys (located here) is nearly opposite the gate you’ll enter to access the waterfall. There is only enough space here for two or three vehicles. The other layby (located here) is larger and located slightly further away from the gate. There is likely enough space for three or four vehicles depending on how people park their vehicles.

From both of these two laybys, you’ll simply cross the road and enter the gate. You’ll then follow a faint trail, cross a stream, and follow alongside a stone wall, before turning left and heading to the base of the falls.

But, if there is no parking available, you’ll need to consider another option for parking.

A map showing how to get to Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls) from Park Lane

2. Cray to Cow Close Gill Waterfall

It’s also possible to reach Cow Close Gill Waterfall from Cray. But, bear in mind, there is really only legitimate parking for one or two spots on a layby on Buckden Wood Lane (located here). Cray is only a small hamlet and, essentially, all of the parking is private parking reserved for guests or patrons at The White Lion Inn. So, unless you’re staying at The White Lion Inn or are visiting the pub beforehand, the only parking available at Cray is at the small layby.

From Cray, you’ll simply follow the road to the entrance gate and access the waterfall from there. Of course, if there isn’t room to park at the layby, again, you’ll need to consider another option for access.

A map showing how to get to Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls) from Cray

3. Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk

By doing the excellent Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk, it’s possible to visit Cow Close Gill Waterfall. We highly recommend choosing this option as you can explore many other waterfalls during the walk. The walk starts in Buckden, where you’ll find plenty of parking.

Read more: Cray Gill Waterfall and the Epic Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk

A map showing how to get to Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls) by doing the Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk

4. Buckden to Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk)

One of the most popular options for reaching Close Close Gill Waterfall is from Buckden. Certainly, if your sole mission is to reach this waterfall, and you’re not fussed about seeing other waterfalls in the area, then this will be the walk you want to choose. Below, we’ll talk more about the walk from Buckden to Cow Close Gill Waterfall – the Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk.

A map showing how to get to Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls) from Buckden

Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk: Details

Here are the trail specs for the out and back walk from Buckden to Cow Close Gill Waterfall.

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 4.9km (3 miles)
  • Time: 1.5–2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 155m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Buckden Car Park
  • Map: Wikiloc

Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk: Directions & Description

In this trail description, we’re going to tell you all about the Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk. As we’ve done already, we’ll show you a few more images of the waterfall, including some from the air!

Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Falls)

From the Buckden Car Park in the village of Buckden, you’ll pass through a gate, joining Buckden Rake. This is the most popular route taken to access the popular Buckden Pike, which is one of the highest fells in the Yorkshire Dales. Buckden Rake is part of an old Roman Road that used to link nearby villages. Along Buckden Rake, you’ll enjoy splendid views over Upper Wharfedale.

Views from Buckden Rake
Views from Buckden Rake

Eventually, Buckden Rake steers right to summit Buckden Pike. But, to reach Clow Close Gill Waterfall, you’ll simply leave Buckden Rake, continuing along a faint path heading towards Cray and an area called Cray High Bridge. Bear in mind, that the grassy path can get boggy after heavy rainfall. But, it’s the rainfall that brings life to the waterfall.

Soon enough, you’ll see the waterfall in the distance. Simply wander over to the base of the falls and you’ll be mesmerised by its many tiers.

Dan at Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Gill Falls)

It’s also possible to climb up the left side of the waterfall to get to the top of the falls. There are even more waterfalls upstream if you want to explore further. Personally, Beck and I were content with just reaching the top of Cow Close Gill Waterfall.

Cow Close Gill Waterfall (Cow Close Gill Falls)
Another waterfall further upstream Cow Close Gill

After enjoying the delights of the waterfall, you’ll simply retrace your steps to complete the walk. This means heading back down Buckden Rake to return to Buckden.

Dan walks back to Buckden on Buckden Rake
Buckden Rake

Useful Information About Visiting Cow Close Gill Waterfall

Now you know all about reaching Cow Close Gill Waterfall, let’s look at some helpful information to help plan your visit.

How to Get to Buckden

If there is no parking available close to the waterfall, it’s likely you’ll need to reach it from Buckden. The easiest and quickest way to get to Buckden is to drive yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Currently, the parking fees at Buckden Car Park are £3.50 for two hours or £5.50 for over two hours. Other than parking at Buckden Car Park, there is some free parking in Buckden itself. But, street-side parking is extremely limited. If you arrive early enough, you may be able to find free parking in Buckden, opposite The Buck Inn.

Beck at Buckden Car Park
Buckden Car Park

Public Transport

It’s also possible to use public transport to get to Buckden. From Skipton, you can get a bus to Buckden. Generally speaking, buses alight in Buckden at The Buck Inn and also at Buckden Car Park. We recommend using Google Maps, Traveline or Dales Bus to plan your journey.

Although public transport is an option, we don’t recommend it. Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you’ll likely have a slow and tedious journey to get to Buckden. Whilst, buses are often very infrequent. Certainly, it’s best to drive to Buckden yourself.

Where to Stay

When it comes to a place to stay in Buckden, The Buck Inn is the obvious standout choice for accommodation. In addition, Beck and I rate The Buck Inn as one of our favourite pubs in the Yorkshire Dales. After completing the Cow Close Gill Waterfall Walk, we highly recommend visiting The Buck Inn (if it isn’t too early!)

Whether it’s for a meal, a drink or you’re staying the night, The Buck Inn is a great place to visit after your walk. The Buck Inn serves fantastic hearty pub meals and they have plenty of beers on tap. The Buck Inn is also known for monthly folk music events!

The Buck Inn

In terms of accommodation, the rooms at The Buck Inn in Buckden are very comfortable and nicely decorated. The accommodation at The Buck Inn is very highly rated. Specifically, guests always rave about the breakfast!

Alternatively, you could stay at the highly-rated White Lion Inn in Cray. That way, you can park at Cray and visit the waterfall from there. The White Lion Inn is a cosy country inn and is perhaps one of the best places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales!

The White Lion Inn

Other Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

Undoubtedly, the Yorkshire Dales have plenty of awesome waterfalls to chase. Below, we’ve listed other walks that involve visiting incredible waterfalls.

Other lesser-known but equally impressive waterfalls worth visiting in the Yorkshire Dales include Aysgill Force, the Askrigg Waterfalls, Buckden Beck Waterfalls and Gastack Beck Waterfall.

Cray Gill Waterfalls
Cray Gill Waterfalls

FAQs About Cow Close Gill Waterfall

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Cow Close Gill Waterfall.

Dan and Beck in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Is Cow Close Gill Waterfall Kid-Friendly?

Yes, with supervision, it’s safe to visit this waterfall with children.

Is it Possible to Swim at Cow Close Gill Waterfall?

It’s possible but we don’t recommend it as the natural pools created by the falls are fairly small and shallow.

Are There Other Waterfall Walks Nearby?

Yes, when it comes to waterfall walks near Skipton and Buckden, there are plenty to choose from. As mentioned, whilst you’re in the area, you should also do the Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk and the Buckden Pike Waterfall Walk.

Walking Essentials

These are our walking gear essentials for exploring this waterfall.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Other Yorkshire Dales Guides

Hardraw Force

For more information about the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales, click the button below. Otherwise, to help you get started, read our 42 Best Yorkshire Dales Walks or 48 Best Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls guides.

Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales

Bonus Tips

  • Visit after heavy rainfall: the waterfall looks much more spectacular after heavy rainfall.
  • Park safely: yes, it’s possible to park in laybys on Park Lane to access the waterfall. But, if the parking is full, don’t park unsafely on the road to squeeze in as this is really dangerous.
  • Explore other nearby national parks in the northwest of England: don’t just stop at the Yorkshire Dales. Head to the beautiful Lake District (guides coming soon), Peak District, Forest of Bowland and North York Moors National Park.

Please leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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