Skip to Content

Kisdon Force: How to Visit This Hidden Waterfall (Updated 2023)

Kisdon Force: How to Visit This Hidden Waterfall (Updated 2023)

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

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.

Kisdon Force aerial view

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.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Kisdon Force
Kisdon Force, Yorkshire Dales

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.

A map showing where Kisdon Force is located
Kisdon Force map

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.

Dan and Beck on a bridge near Kisdon Force

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.

East Gill Force – one of the waterfalls on the Keld Waterfalls Walk
East Gill Force

Kisdon Force

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!

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.

Read more: Keld Waterfalls Walk – Discover 7 Epic Keld Waterfalls

Catrake Force
Catrake Force

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.

Swinner Gill
Swinner Gill

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.

Keld Car Park sign

Public Transport

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.

Keld
Keld

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.

Read more: Tan Hill Inn – Is It Worth Visiting? An Honest Review

Beck at the Tan Hill Inn after doing the Keld Waterfalls Walk

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.

Other lesser-known waterfalls worth visiting in the Yorkshire Dales include Buckden Beck Waterfalls, Cow Close Gill Waterfall, Gastack Beck Waterfall and Stainforth Force.

Read more: The Top 48 Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

Dan at Hardraw Force
Hardraw Force

What to Wear and Take

These are our gear essentials for finding Kisdon Force.

For a longer hiking gear list, read our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.

FAQs About Kisdon Force

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Kisdon Force.

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

Bonus Tips

  • 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.

Daniel Piggott

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

Leave a comment

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