Kisdon Force is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The waterfall is located near Keld, hidden amongst dense woodlands along the River Swale. In this blog post, we’ll tell you how to find Kisdon Force. Whilst we’re at it, we’ll tell you everything else you need to know about visiting the stunning waterfall.
Read about the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales
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Kisdon Force, Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales
Given its beauty and raw power, Kisdon Force is becoming an increasingly popular waterfall to visit in the Upper Swaledale area of the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you’re keen on wild swimming or just waterfall chasing, a visit to Kisdon Force should leave you satisfied. Certainly, after reading this blog post, you’ll know exactly how to find this well-concealed waterfall.
FYI – you’ll find that Kisdon Force is also referred to as the Kisdon Force waterfalls as there are two distinct falls – the Kisdon Upper Force and Kisdon Lower Force. The upper falls are around 5 metres high, whilst the lower falls are around 12 metres high.
Where Is Kisdon Force?
Kisdon Force is located near Keld, which is located in Swaledale in North Yorkshire. To help you get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.
Below, we’ll look at the most popular walking option for reaching the waterfall.
Kisdon Force Walk: Details (Overview)
Here are the trail specs for the most popular Kisdon Force walking route. Simply put, you’ll walk to the waterfall from Keld, with an option to visit East Gill Force en route.
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 2.1km (1.3 miles)
- Time: 30–45 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: 50m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Keld Car Park
- GPS-Guided Map: Wikiloc
Kisdon Force Walk: Map Route
Here is a map of the most popular route to Kisdon Force. Most people visiting Kisdon Force will also check out East Gill Force on the way.
Kisdon Force Walk: Description and Photos
In this trail description, we’re going to tell you all about finding Kisdon Force. We’ll also include some photos of the epic waterfall.
Keld to East Gill Force
From the Keld Car Park, you’ll follow the Pennine Way, heading in the direction of Muker. After about 200 metres, there is an option to turn left to visit East Gill Force, which is another breathtaking set of falls. Certainly, if you’ve come all this way, you may as well extend your walk to include a visit to East Gill Force.
By turning left, you’ll descend a steep trail towards the River Swale. You’ll then cross a bridge to access East Gill Force. When Beck and I visited, we were treated to some mesmerising autumnal colours.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll see a series of falls ahead. Feel free to explore all of the lovely cascades and falls at East Gill Force. There is even a grassy area next to these falls, where people tend to sit and relax. Indeed, it’s a great place for a picnic. But, if you’re mission is to see Kisdon Force, then simply retrace your steps back to the Pennine Way and continue in a southeast direction towards Muker.
After rejoining the Pennine Way, you’ll walk another 250 metres or so, before reaching an unofficial sign directing you towards Kisdon Force. Turn left to follow this side trail to reach the waterfall. By doing so, you’ll enter an area known as the Kisdon Force woods.
Other than seeing lovely woodlands, keep your eye out for tall limestone rock formations. These formations are similar in shape to the nearby Buttertubs. Bear in mind, that the winding and descending trail can get slippery after rainfall. So, take care as you descend the valley towards the River Swale.
Eventually, you’ll reach the top of Kisdon Upper Force. To enjoy better views of Kisdon Upper Force, you’ll want to head further downstream. Also, if you’d like to go for a swim, you’ll want to head downstream as this is where you’ll enjoy the easiest and safest access to the river.
After enjoying Kisdon Upper Force, you’ll want to continue further downstream to reach Kisdon Lower Force. Personally speaking, the lower falls are even more immense than the upper falls. So, you’ll definitely want to extend your walk to include a visit to the lower falls.
To access Kisdon Lower Force, you have two options. You can descend a sketchy steep path down to the falls or bypass this path, and continue along a valley side path that later bends and backtracks towards the waterfall. The latter is a much safer and easier option to navigate. This is also the trail you’ll want to retrace to exit the area and head back to the Pennine Way en route to Keld.
Reaching Kisdon Lower Force is an unforgettable experience as you can get up, close and personal with the majestic waterfall.
So, there you have it – that’s how you find Kisdon Force!
Other Kisdon Force Walk Options
So far, we’ve talked about the most straightforward and quickest route to reach the waterfall. But, there are other popular walks that involve exploring Kisdon Force. Let’s look at these other walking options below.
Keld Waterfalls Walk (Includes Wain Wath Force)
Kisdon Force isn’t the only epic waterfall in Keld! The Keld Waterfalls Walk explores no less than seven waterfalls, including Catrake Force, Hoggarths Leap, Rainby Force, Wain Wath Force, Currack Force, East Gill Force and, of course, Kisdon Force. Beck and I absolutely loved this walk and highly recommend it.
Muker to Keld Walk
The Muker to Keld Circular Walk is another popular walking route that involves seeing Kisdon Force. Along the way, you’ll also explore Crackpot Hall, Swinner Gill and the Muker Meadows as well as any other Keld waterfalls you fancy seeing. Again, Beck and I really enjoyed this walk and highly recommend it as a longer route option. Click here for a GPS-guided map.
How to Get to Kisdon Force
To visit Kisdon Force, you’ll want to get yourself to Keld. The simplest way to get to Keld is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using DiscoverCars.com. 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.
When it comes to Kisdon Force parking, you’ll want to park in the village of Keld. If there is no free street-side parking available, you’ll want to head to the Keld Car Park (AKA the Park Lodge Car Park). This car park operates with an honesty box system, costing £3 for all-day parking and £2 for short-stay parking. Please let us know in the comments if these prices change.
Although it’s possible to use public transport to get to Keld, we don’t recommend it as services are very infrequent. Also, depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you’ll likely have a slow and tedious journey. If public transport is your only option, we recommend using Google Maps, Trainline and Dales Bus to plan your journey.
Where to Stay in Keld
Keld is only a small village with a handful of accommodation options. You can find lodging at Keld Lodge, Butt House B&B, Keld Holiday Cottages and Swaledale Yurts. In terms of camping in Keld, you can stay at the conveniently located Park Lodge Campsite (AKA Rukin’s Campsite).
Of course, if you’re visiting Swaledale from afar and need somewhere to stay, we actually recommend staying near Keld at the Tan Hill Inn.
Tan Hill Inn
The Tan Hill Inn is famous for being the highest pub in the Britain Isles. Certainly, the Tan Hill Inn is one of the most popular places to visit in Swaledale.
The Tan Hill Inn offers a variety of accommodation options including dormitory rooms, double rooms, family rooms and even glamping pods. Whilst, the country inn has an exceptional bar and restaurant with a number of beers on tap and delicious meals aplenty.
Other Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales
Other than Kisdon Force, the Yorkshire Dales has plenty of mesmerising waterfalls to see. Below, we’ve listed other waterfalls worth seeing in the Dales.
- Cray Gill Waterfalls: explore many breathtaking cascades along Cray Gill.
- Askrigg Waterfalls: chase the underrated Mill Gill Force and Whitfield Gill Force near Askrigg.
- Hardraw Force: a famous waterfall located in Hardraw just north of Hawes.
- Cotter Force: a stunning multi-tier cascade waterfall that’s also located in Hardraw.
- Aysgill Force: a gorgeous waterfall that you can walk to from Hawes.
- Aysgarth Falls: another well-known set of waterfalls in the Dales.
- West Burton Falls (AKA Cauldron Falls): an impressive waterfall located near Aysgarth Falls.
- Hawes Falls: you’ll find these quaint falls thundering through the town of Hawes.
- Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk: you’ll visit a couple of waterfalls and caves during this circular walk from Settle.
- Bolton Abbey Waterfall: an epic waterfall located in the Valley of Desolation near Bolton Abbey.
- Malham Cove Walk: after seeing Malham Cove, explore Gordale Scar Waterfall and Janet’s Foss.
- Cautley Spout: as mentioned, this is England’s highest broken waterfall above ground. It can be seen on a walk around Howgill Fell.
- Hull Pot: an amazing waterfall located next to Pen-y-ghent.
- Force Gill Waterfall: a superb waterfall found near Whernside – the highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
- Rat Hole Waterfall: see the highest underground waterfall in England during a visit to Gaping Gill.
Read more: The Top 48 Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales
What to Wear and Take
These are our gear essentials for finding Kisdon Force.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
- Swimming gear: you’ll definitely need your swimmers if you’re keen on wild swimming.
- Towel: a small lightweight microfibre towel is much less bulky than a traditional towel.
FAQs About Kisdon Force
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Kisdon Force.
Where Do You Park For Kisdon Force?
You’ll need to park in Keld. You can either find free street-side parking or park at the Keld Car Park.
How Deep Is Kisdon Force?
The depth of River Swale at Kisdon Force hasn’t been reported.
Can You Swim at Kisdon Force?
Absolutely, Kisdon Force swimming is possible. In fact, it’s one of the most popular places to go wild swimming in the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll find most people go wild swimming in the river’s natural plunge pool between the upper and lower falls. That’s because accessing the river downstream from the lower falls is more challenging.
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
- Head to Wain Wath Force for more wild swimming: Wain Wath Force is another popular place for wild swimming near Keld.
- Visit after heavy rainfall: the waterfalls are much more impressive after decent rainfall.
- 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.
Please leave us a comment below.