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Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: The Ultimate Guide

Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: The Ultimate Guide

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.

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.

Read our guides about Flasby Fell and Sharp Haw, Malham Cove and Simon’s Seat

Embsay Crag
Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir

Embsay Map

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.

Map of Embsay

Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk: Trail Information

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.

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.

Dan looks at Embsay Crag whilst standing next to Embsay Reservoir

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.

After passing Embsay Reservoir, Dan walks towards 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.

Dan walking up a trail near some gristone rock formations

Embsay Crag

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.

Dan looking towards Embsay Reservoir
Dan looking towards Embsay Reservoir

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.

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.

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.

Booking Trains


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.

Hiking Essentials

These are our hiking gear essentials for the Embsay Crag and Embay Reservoir Walk.

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

  • 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, where there are other impressive crags such as Helm Crag.

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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