The Settle Walk, which has become known as the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk, is one of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Starting in the charming town of Settle, the circular walk explores brilliant caves, waterfalls and scars. The highlights of the walk include visiting Catrigg Force, Jubilee Cave, Victoria Cave, Attermire Scar and Scaleber Force. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk.
We hope you find this guide helpful. For information about other great nearby walking trails, read our guides about Malham Cove, Simon’s Seat and Bolton Abbey Waterfall and Janet’s Foss (coming soon). Otherwise, read our big Yorkshire Dales walks guide (also coming soon).
Table of Contents
Settle Walk (Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk) Overview
Also known as the Settle Circular Walk and Settle Loop Walk, this walk involves seeing numerous caves and waterfalls in Settle. Well, technically, the caves and waterfalls are located near Settle; but, indeed, the walk starts from this town.
By doing the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk, you’ll get to scope out some of the best caves and waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales. When it comes to caves, Jubilee Cave and Victoria Cave are some of the best and most accessible caves to see in the area. In terms of waterfalls, Catrigg Force is a splendid double-tier drop. Whilst, Scaleber Force is becoming an increasingly popular waterfall to visit. Perhaps above all, is the superb limestone landscape on display at Attermire Scar. This scar doesn’t get the plaudits that Gordale Scar receives; but, is impressive in its own right.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk in a bit more detail. First, let’s have a look at the trail specs, a map and elevation profile.
Settle Walk Route Details
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 14.9km
- Time: 4–6 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 505m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Settle
Settle Walk Map
Below, you’ll find a map of the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. Feel free to click on the image below to access a GPS-guided map.
Here’s the elevation profile for the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. Throughout the walk, you’ll gain an accumulated elevation gain of approx. 505 metres. Certainly, that’s one of the reasons why we’ve classed this walk as moderate difficulty. You’ll have your work cut out! But, it’s absolutely worth it.
FYI – you’ll reach a maximum elevation of around 420 metres above sea level. You’ll reach this height when exploring Jubilee and Victoria Caves.
Settle Walk: Trail Highlights
In this trail highlights section, you can find out about the best sections of the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. Of course, the best sections include Catrigg Force, Jubilee Cave, Victoria Cave, Attermire Scar and Scaleber Force.
Below, you won’t find an exhaustive in-depth trail description. Rather, you’ll find an overview of the best sections of the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. We hope this inspires you to do this awesome walk. If you combine reading this, with using our GPS-guided map, you’ll be right as rain to crack on with doing this brilliant walk.
Where to Start the Settle Walk
You can start the walk from anywhere in Settle. Basically, wherever you can find parking will do. Personally, Beck and I found free street-side parking here on School Hill. From there, we walked through the beautiful town of Settle, before joining Banks Lane and beginning the steep uphill climb. As you pass the initial farms, keep an eye out for rabbits!
As you gain elevation, the town of Settle will appear to your left. The views are fantastic. You’ll soon reach a wooden gate. Simply proceed with the stone wall to your left, keeping to the bottom of the hillside. Eventually, you’ll take a trail, leading you away from the hillside. You’ll then briefly pass through the village of Langcliffe, turning right to continue north towards Catrigg Force.
The slender two-tiered Catrigg Force is a superb waterfall. At the base of Catrigg Force, expect to see people taking a dip in the natural pool. Especially in summer, it’s a popular place for a swim.
Other than exploring the base of Catrigg Force, we recommend heading to the top of the falls. Take care as you walk up the cliff-side of Catrigg Force, nearing the top tier of the waterfall. By exploring the top of the falls, you’ll enjoy a unique perspective of Catrigg Force along the way. Of course, you’ll lose sight of Catrigg Force at the top of the falls. But, it’s certainly worth following the stream of the falls, flowing from Stainforth Beck.
After scoping out Catrigg Force, you’ll briefly retrace your steps, heading south. You’ll soon turn left, following a dirt trail, before turning right onto a country lane. This will soon lead you onto a trail, leading into an increasingly limestone landscape. The next major attractions along the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk are Jubilee and Victoria Caves.
First, you’ll explore Jubilee Cave, which has a ruggedly-shaped opening. From this cave, you’ll enjoy splendid views of Attermire Scar and its surrounding limestone landforms.
Near Jubilee Cave, you’ll find the equally impressive Victoria Cave. Unlike Jubilee Cave, there are a few more cave structures to explore at Victoria Cave. Similar to Jubilee Cave, you’ll need to walk up a steep trail to access these caves, which are embedded into the limestone walls. Remember to pack a headtorch, so you can properly see inside the awesome Victoria Cave. There are many small crevasses and cracks to check out at Victoria Cave. Personally, when we explored Victoria Cave, we really liked the thin opening, which looked like a fissure.
After exploring both Jubilee and Victoria Caves, which are adjacent to an area called the Clay Pits, you’ll head towards Attermire Scar.
Attermire Scar is a breathtaking series of limestone scars, crags, scree slopes and caves. Indeed, there’s an Attermire Cave, which is difficult to access. Personally, we didn’t access this cave. We just simply admired walking through Attermire Scar. In particular, the Warrendale Knotts is a prominent limestone section of Attermire Scar.
After scoping out Attermire Scar, you’ll continue south towards Sugar Loaf Hill. Admittedly, Sugar Loaf Hill was a great place to shoot up the drone to enjoy an aerial view of Attermire Scar.
From Attermire Scar, you’ll then walk over to Sugar Loaf Hill and beyond. Soon, you’ll reach High Hill Lane. From there, it’s possible to turn right and head back to Settle. But, there’s one more waterfall to see on the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. That’s Scaleber Force, which is also known as Scaleber Force Waterfall. But, it’ll involve some less inspiring road walking. To be exact, you’ll walk around 1km on the road to reach Scaleber Force. Despite this less exciting stretch of the walk, seeing Scaleber Force is absolutely worth it.
When you arrive at Scaleber Force, don’t just settle on your initial view of the waterfall. Make sure to walk around the top of the waterfall and descend to its base. Certainly, you’ll enjoy the best view of Scaleber Force at the foot of the natural pool. At this point, you’ll enjoy a fantastic view of the multi-tiered cascade of Scaleber Force.
FYI – it’s also possible to visit Scaleber Force as a standalone return walk from Settle (i.e. the Scaleber Force Waterfall Walk). We’ve also seen a slight trail variation called the Scaleber Force Circular Walk from Settle. You can see a map of this circular walk here.
Walk Back to Settle
From Scaleber Force, you’ll now retrace your steps along High Hill Lane and return to Settle. You’ve now completed the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk!
Settle Walk: Things We Liked and Disliked
Beck and I thoroughly enjoyed the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk. Doing this walk is a great way to see many of the best caves and waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales. The walk is really jam-packed with worthwhile natural attractions to explore. Of course, the road walking near the end of the walk wasn’t exceptional. But, to be honest, with Attermire Scar in the background, the road walking certainly isn’t void of nice views.
To that end, we highly recommend the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk.
How to Get to Settle: Parking and Transport
The easiest and quickest way to get to Settle is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very easy to book online.
It’s also possible to use public transport to get to Settle. You can get a direct train to Settle from Leeds. Feel free to check the train times and prices here. We recommend using Trainline and Google Maps to plan your journey.
Personally, we don’t recommend using public transport to get to Settle as you’ll likely have a long-winded journey to get there from elsewhere in the UK. Certainly, it’s best to drive to Settle yourself. That way, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility with your trip.
Thankfully, there’s a decent amount of free street-side parking in Settle. But, of course, during busy periods, there may be no more street-side parking available. If this is the case for you, then head to either Whitefriars Car and Coach Car Park, Greenfoot Car Park or Ashfield Car Park. These are all pay and display car parks with plenty of spaces available (usually). Below, you’ll find prices for parking, which, of course, are subject to change.
The pricing at Whitefriars Car and Coach Car Park and Ashfield Car Park are the following.
- Under 1 hour: £1.10
- Under 2 hours: £2
- Under 3 hours: £2.60
- Under 4 hours: £3.20
- Over 4 hours: £3.90
You’ll find the pricing at Greenfoot Car Park is slightly cheaper.
- Under 1 hour: £0.90
- Under 2 hours: £1.70
- Over 2 hours: £2.30
Facilities and Amenities
In terms of facilities and amenities, you’ll find everything you need in the town of Settle. Whilst, during the walk, you’ll pass through Langcliffe, where there are limited facilities and amenities. Otherwise, you’ll be exploring nature, so pack what you need.
Other Waterfall Walks in the Yorkshire Dales
Below, we’ve listed some of the other best waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (guides coming soon).
- Settle to Stainforth Circular Walk: also known as the Stainforth Settle Waterfall Walk, you’ll enjoy a walk from Settle to Stainforth, which also includes a visit to Stainforth Force.
- Aysgarth Falls: explore the truly spectacular Lower, Middle and Upper Aysgarth Falls.
- Cauldron Falls (West Burton Falls): a lesser-known waterfall that’s nearby Aysgarth Falls.
- Bolton Abbey Waterfall: a brilliant circular walk exploring Simon’s Seat and the Valley of Desolation.
- Gordale Scar Waterfall and Janet’s Foss: you’ll see these two marvellous waterfalls during the Malham Cove Walk.
- Hardraw Force: one of the most famous waterfalls in Yorkshire after featuring in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
- Cautley Spout: England’s highest waterfall above ground, can be seen on a walk via Howgill Fell.
- Muker and Keld Circular Walk: you’ll explore the sublime Upper Swaledale, whilst stopping in at the upper and lower East Gill Force.
- Keld Waterfalls Walk: go waterfall chasing in Keld! You’ll see Catrake Force, Wain Wath Force, Kisdon Force, Currack Force and East Gill Force.
- Ingleton Waterfall Trail: of course, you’ll see many waterfalls along this splendid trail.
What to Wear and Take
These are our five hiking gear essentials for this walk.
- 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.
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.
Bonus Tips For the Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk
- Other Settle walks: feel free to explore more of Settle by doing another walk in the area. In terms of easy walks around Settle, you could choose from a few different shorter circuit walks. These include just exploring Jubilee and Victoria Caves or choosing a walk to see the River Ribble.
- Arrive early: your chances of getting free street-side parking are much better if you arrive in Settle early. This is especially true during summer, school holidays and on weekends.
- Explore other nearby national parks: don’t just stop at the Yorkshire Dales in the northwest of England. Head to the beautiful Lake District (guides coming soon), North York Moors, Peak District and Northumberland National Parks. Otherwise, if you’re down south, you’ll have to check out Cornwall, the New Forest and South Downs National Park.
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