The Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk is an underrated walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The thrilling short walk takes you to the summit of Embsay Crag, where you’ll enjoy superb views of Embsay Reservoir. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk.
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The Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk
Also known as the Embsay Crag Walk, the Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk isn’t a high-profile trail option in the Yorkshire Dales. If anything, it’s more of a local’s walk. But, personally, Beck and I really enjoyed this lesser-known walk. Certainly, we highly recommend this mildly challenging concise walk in the Yorkshire Dales. The walk takes place just north of the town of Embsay.
Located near Skipton, the small town of Embsay falls just outside the southern border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Whilst, Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir are located just inside the national park. Given the location of this walk, which isn’t too deep into the Yorkshire Dales, it’s fairly easy to access. Certainly, this is one of the upsides of doing this walk, compared with many walks in the heart of the Dales, which are more time-consuming to access.
To help get your bearings, here’s an interactive map of Embsay Crag on Google Maps.
So, let’s look at some trail specs for the fun Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk below.
Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: Trail Information
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 3.4km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 165m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Craven Sailing Club Car Park
- Map: AllTrails
Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: Elevation Profile
Here’s the elevation profile for the Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk. Indeed, most of the accumulation gain comes from climbing up Embsay Crag.
Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: Trail Description
In the trail description below, we’ll cover the highlight of the Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk. The walk begins at the picturesque Embsay Reservoir.
Starting at Embsay Reservoir (AKA Embsay Moor Reservoir), you’ll follow a path that takes you around the reservoir in a clockwise direction. Beck and I did this walk in the middle of the afternoon on a clear winter’s day. So, we were lucky that, from the get-go, there was a lovely orange hue parading over Embsay Crag.
After passing Embsay Reservoir, you’ll cross a stile, heading into Embsay Moor. Bear in mind, the moors are often quite boggy in the winter. Basically, there are multiple trails heading to the summit of Embsay Crag. Personally, following this GPS-guided map, we ventured slightly north into the moors, before returning to the main trail that runs adjacent to Embsay Reservoir. To keep things simple, we recommend following this main trail, by Embsay Reservoir, to summit Embsay Crag.
At the base of Embsay Crag, you’ll find there are two trails summiting the gritstone crag. There’s a shorter but steeper trail heading directly to the summit. Otherwise, there’s a longer but gentler trail that winds around the western face. Do as you please. Personally, we went up the steep trail and then down the longer trail on the return leg of the walk.
After clambering over some gritstone rock formations, you’ll soon reach the top of Embsay Crag. At this point of the walk, you’ll enjoy splendid views of Embsay Reservoir. On a clear day, you’ll even see views over towards Pendle Hill in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Soak in the glorious views, before retracing your steps to complete the walk.
Embsay Crag Walk Options
Other than the walk discussed above, there are other popular route options that visit Embsay Crag. One of these route options is the Embsay Crag Circular Walk, which explores more of Embsay Moor and Embsay Reservoir. Additionally, there’s another similar circular walk that returns via the town of Embsay, which is a longer route option. Personally, Beck and I thought the out and back walk was great. But, we’re sure the circular walks are also fantastic options.
How to Get to Embsay
The easiest and quickest way to get to Embsay is to drive there yourself. As mentioned, you can simply park at the Craven Sailing Club Car Park. Parking is free.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.
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.
It’s also possible to use public transport to get to Embsay. You can get a train to Skipton and then the 873 or 864 bus to Embsay. From Embsay, you’re looking at an approx. 2km walk to get to Embsay Reservoir to start the walk described above. Feel free to check the train times and prices here. We recommend using Trainline and Google Maps to help plan your journey.
Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.
Overall, we don’t recommend using public transport to get to Embsay. That’s because it may be a slow and tedious journey, depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK. Certainly, it’s best to drive to Embsay Reservoir yourself.
Nearby Walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
If you want to do other awesome walks nearby, then you’ll have to see more of the sensational Yorkshire Dales National Park. Below, we’ve listed some other great nearby walks in the Dales.
- Simon’s Seat and Bolton Abbey Waterfall: explore the rocky outcrop at Simon’s Seat and the underrated Bolton Abbey Waterfall in the Valley of Desolation.
- Bolton Abbey Walk: walk along the serene River Wharfe and visit The Strid.
- Malham Cove Walk: discover the incredible Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, Janets Foss and Malham Tarn on this amazing circular walk.
- Ilkley Moor: a famous moorland in West Yorkshire.
- Brimham Rocks: an outstanding National Trust attraction, that’s best enjoyed on a short circular walk through the moorland.
- Yorke’s Folly: one of the best walks in the nearby Pateley Bridge.
- Conistone Pie and Dib: one of the most underrated walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
- Conistone Pie and Dib Circular: a lovely circular walk taking in the limestone landscape surrounding the small town of Conistone.
- Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk: from nearby Settle, you’ll visit Catrigg Force, Attermire Scar and Scalebar Force.
These are our hiking gear essentials for the Embsay Crag and Embay Reservoir Walk.
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
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
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
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.
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
Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales
- Grassington: Everything You Need to Know About Grassington
- Hawes: The 16 Best Things To Do In Hawes
- Ingleton: 10 Awesome Things To Do In Ingleton
- Masham: Everything You Need to Know About Masham
- Buckden: The 5 Best Things To Do In Buckden, Yorkshire
- Keld: The 5 Best Things To Do in Keld, North Yorkshire
- Clapham: The Top 13 Things To Do During A Visit to Clapham, Yorkshire
- Ribblehead: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Ribblehead
- What to see in the town of Embsay: the main attraction in Embsay is the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
- Best place for a pint after the walk: the Elm Tree Inn is a decent pub in Embsay.
- Explore other nearby national parks: don’t just stop at the Yorkshire Dales. Head to the captivating Lake District (guides coming soon), where there are other impressive crags such as Helm Crag.
Please leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.