The Yorkshire Dales National Park is easily one of the most beautiful national parks in the UK. Throughout the Yorkshire Dales, there are infinite exceptional walks to enjoy. In this guide, we’re going to talk about the 42 best walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
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The Ultimate Yorkshire Dales Walks Guide
It probably goes without saying that this Yorkshire Dales Walking Guide is the most detailed guide you’ll find online about walks in the Dales. Personally, Beck and I have completed every single walk on this list. For many of these walks, we’ve written individual blog posts about them. If so, we’ll link to those posts, so you can easily access them if you need any more information about trail specs, trail navigation, how to get there, etc.
For your convenience, we’ve categorised the walks by the following Dales.
In this guide, the Dales are alphabetically ordered, and, the walks within each Dale category are also alphabetically ordered. How about that for organisation?
Also, for completeness, we’ve also listed the best walks in the Niderdale AONB. Although Nidderdale doesn’t fall within the borders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Nidderdale is still very much a part of the Yorkshire Dales.
Yorkshire Dales Walks Map
To help you plan your trips to the Dales, we’ve made a Best Yorkshire Dales Walks interactive map. This map will show you the location of all of the 42 best walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Top 42 Yorkshire Dales Walks
Without further ado, let’s look at the 42 best walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
Below, we’ve listed three of the best walks in Dentdale, which is in the northwest corner of the Yorkshire Dales, near Cumbria.
1. Howgill Fells Walk
During the Howgill Fells Walk, not only will you enjoy the impressive Howgill Fells, but you’ll also get to explore Cautley Spout, which, at 200 metres (650 feet), is the highest broken waterfall above ground in England. Technically speaking, the Howgill Fells and Cautley Spout, are located in the county of Cumbria but fall within the borders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
2. Nine Standards Rigg Walk
Nine Standards Rigg is the name of the summit of Hartley Fell, which lies in both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines AONB. Of course, the Nine Standards Rigg is most well-known for the Nine Standards, which is a set of rock cairns located just north of Nine Standards Rigg. By doing the Nine Standards Rigg Walk from Kirkby Stephen, you can explore the fascinating cairns and enjoy windswept and wild English countryside and moorlands.
3. Wild Boar Fell Walk
Wild Boar Fell, near Kirkby Stephen, is the fourth highest fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. By doing the Wild Boar Fell Walk, starting in Mallerstang, near Pendragon Castle, you’ll enjoy a quiet walk in an untouched and remote area of northwest England. During this walk, you’ll also see a waterfall called Hell Gill Force, which is an underrated and barely known waterfall in the Mallerstang Valley.
Below, we’ve listed two awesome walks in Malhamdale, including perhaps the most popular walk in the Yorkshire Dales – the Malham Cove Walk.
4. Malham Cove Walk
The Malham Cove Walk is one of the best walks in not only the Yorkshire Dales but in all of England. This is by no means an overstatement. The Malham Cove Walk, which explores Malham Cove, Malham Tarn, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss, is a truly thrilling walking route.
Read more: Malham Cove Walk – The Ultimate Guide
5. Malham Tarn Walk
Although it’s possible to see Malham Tarn on an extended Malham Cove Walk, you can simply do a standalone walk around Malham Tarn. This is certainly one of the easiest Yorkshire Dales circular walks, which allows you to explore more of Malham Tarn, which is Britain’s highest limestone-rich glacial lake.
We’ll now move on to the best walks in Ribblesdale, which is home to the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks! Certainly, if you’re looking for walks near Ingleton, then consider doing any of these Ribblesdale walks.
6. Gaping Gill Walk
Not only is Gaping Gill home to the largest cave chamber in the UK; but, it’s also the site of the highest underground waterfall in the UK. Visiting Gaping Gill during a pothole club winch meet is one of the most exhilarating experiences that you can have in the UK.
From Clapham, you’ll need to walk to Gaping Gill in order to reach and explore the cave. This walk follows the route to Ingleborough, following the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, passing Ingleborough Cave and passing through the immense Trow Gill.
7. Ingleborough Walk From Clapham
Ingleborough is the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales and is one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks. Other than walking to Ingleborough during the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, you can do a fantastic walk to the peak from Clapham. Otherwise, it’s possible to walk to Ingleborough from Ingleton, Horton in Ribbesdale and the Old Hill Inn (Chapel-le-Dale).
8. Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
Ingleton Falls, as it’s known by the locals, is a breathtaking collection of waterfalls that can be explored along the famous Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. During the walk, you’ll see tonnes of mindblowing waterfalls, including Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls and Triple Spout, Rival Fall, Baxenghyll Gorge and Snow Falls.
DJI Air 2S
9. Norber Erratics Walk
The Norber Erratic Walk is one of the best short walks in the Yorkshire Dales. Starting in the quaint village of Austwick, you can do a pleasant short walk to reach the impressive Norber Erratics, which are huge sandstone boulders (called erratics) precariously balanced on tiny limestone rocks.
10. Pen-y-ghent Walk
Pen-y-ghent is the ninth highest fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and one of the other Yorkshire Three Peaks. Thankfully, you don’t have to do the humungous Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk to summit Pen-y-ghent. Instead, you can simply do the approx. 11km circular Pen-y-ghent Walk from Horton in Ribblesdale.
11. Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk
Starting in the lovely 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.
12. Whernside Walk From Ribblehead
Whernside is the highest mountain in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is also one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks. It’s possible to summit this mountain during a circular walk from Ribblehead. The Whernside Walk starts from the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, which is a beautiful viaduct that forms part of the Settle to Carlisle Railway Line.
13. Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
Also known as the Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is perhaps Britain’s most iconic hillwalking challenge. The challenge involves walking up the Yorkshire Three Peaks (Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent) in less than 12 hours.
We’ll now look at three fantastic walks in Swaledale, which is at the northern end of the Dales. Indeed, these three walks are some of the best North Yorkshire Dales walks.
14. Muker to Keld Walk
The Muker to Keld Walk is easily one of the best circular walks in the Yorkshire Dales. The circular walk involves using both Crackpot Hall Road and the Pennine Way. Along the way, you’ll visit Crackpot Hall, Swinner Gill, the Muker Meadows and as many of the Keld Waterfalls as you like.
Bonus tip: Gunnerside Gill is another epic gill worth exploring nearby.
15. Keld to Tan Hill Inn
From Keld, it’s possible to follow the Pennine Way and walk to Tan Hill Inn, which is famous for being the highest pub in the UK. Indeed, the country inn is a popular place to visit and stay in the northwest of England. And, one of the most popular things to do during a stay is the walk between Keld and Tan Hill Inn.
Stay at Tan Hill Inn
People far and wide head to the Tan Hill Inn to stay there for a night or for an extended stay. After all, what isn’t cool about staying in the highest pub in Britain?
16. Keld Waterfalls Walk
The Keld Waterfalls Walk is one of the best waterfall walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. By doing this walk, you’ll visit seven incredible waterfalls along the River Swale, including Catrake Force, Hoggarths Leap, Rainby Force, Wain Wath Force, Currack Force, East Gill Force and Kisdon Force.
Just south of Swaledale, you’ll find the well-known Wensleydale. Below, we’ll look at six brilliant walks in Wensleydale, which are definitely some of the best walks in North Yorkshire.
17. Askrigg Waterfalls Walk
By doing the Askrigg Waterfalls Walk, you can visit both Mill Gill Force and Whitfield Gill Force. Both of these Askrigg waterfalls are underrated and certainly worth visiting.
18. Aysgarth Falls Walk
Located in the town of Aysgarth, you’ll find the famous Aysgarth Falls. By doing the Aysgarth Falls Walk, which is only a short walk, you’ll get to explore the three waterfalls of Aysgarth Falls as well as the lovely surrounding countryside.
19. Aysgill Force Walk From Hawes
The Aysgill Force Walk From Hawes is an excellent walk in Wensleydale. During the walk, you’ll explore the 12 metre (40 feet) high Aysgill Force that’s found along Gayle Beck.
20. Cotter Force Walk
Reaching Cotter Force involves walking along one of the most flat and accessible trails in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Located near the village of Hawes, this waterfall has a series of six steps, so there are quite a few cascades to enjoy. Definitely, if you’re after easy walks in North Yorkshire, this should be on your radar.
21. Hardraw Force Walk
After featuring in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Hardraw Force has become the most famous single drop waterfall in England. During a visit to Hardraw Force, it’s possible to do two walks – the Lower Walk and the Upper Walk.
In reality, you only need to do the Lower Walk to access the waterfall. Whilst, the Upper Walk accesses the top of the falls, without providing any good views of the waterfall itself. Of course, to maximise your time there and to get the most out of the entrance cost, we recommend doing both walks.
Read more: Hardraw Force – The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide
22. Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail
The Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail is one of the best walking routes in Yorkshire for seeing cute red squirrels. Working alongside each other, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and local landowners have created the remarkable Red Squirrel Viewing Area in Snaizeholme. Indeed, if you want to see red squirrels in the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll want to head to Snaizeholme.
Now you know all about the excellent waterfall and wildlife walks in Wensleydale, let’s look at some walks in Wharfedale. Most of the walks in this Best Yorkshire Dales Walks Guide actually take place in Wharfedale. After all, Wharfedale is one of the larger dales in the national park, forming the southeast corner and a large central component of the Yorkshire Dales.
FYI – below is a list of excellent Yorkshire Dales walks near Leeds.
23. Bolton Abbey Walk
The Bolton Abbey Walk is a fantastic circular walk that follows along each side of the River Wharfe as it courses through the Bolton Abbey Estate. By doing the walk, you’ll not only explore the spectacular Bolton Abbey Priory Church and Ruins, but you’ll also see many other attractions along the way such as The Strid.
Stay at Bolton Abbey
Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa is the only accommodation on the Bolton Abbey Estate. It’s an impressive four-star country house hotel that features an award-winning restaurant, an adult-only spa, a gym and an indoor pool.
24. Buckden Pike Walk
Buckden Pike is one of the highest fells in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are many different walks you can do to reach the summit of Buckden Pike. We recommend the route, starting in Buckden, that reaches the peak via Buckden Rake. You’ll then walk to Starbotton and follow alongside the picturesque River Wharfe before returning to Buckden.
25. Buckden Pike Waterfall Walk
Also located in Buckden, you’ll find Buckden Beck, which is a magical oasis of waterfalls. By doing the Buckden Pike Waterfall Walk, you can reach numerous cascades and the main Buckden Beck Waterfall.
26. Conistone Pie and Dib Circular Walk
The Conistone Pie and Conistone Dib Circular Walk is an underrated short walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Along this trail, you’ll enjoy two excellent natural attractions – Conistone Dib (a dry limestone valley) and Conistone Pie (a limestone outcrop).
27. Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk
Cray Gill is home to many stunning waterfalls. By doing the Cray Gill Waterfalls Walk, you can explore all of the waterfalls found along Cray Gill.
28. Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk
The Embsay Crag and Embsay Reservoir Walk is a lesser-known walk in the Yorkshire Dales. The exciting short walk takes you to the summit of Embsay Crag, where you’ll enjoy marvellous views of Embsay Reservoir.
29. Flasby Fell Walk
The Flasby Fell Walk is a great trail option in Wharfedale. At least half of the circular walk follows a magnificent section of the multi-day Dales High Way. By following this trail, you’ll summit Sharp Haw, which is the highest of Flasby Fell’s five tops.
30. Great Whernside From Kettlewell
Great Whernside is the sixth highest fell in the Yorkshire Dales. At 704 metres above sea level, the views from the summit of Great Whernside are truly breathtaking. The walk to reach Great Whernside from Kettlewell is an adventurous and fun trail, especially in the snow!
31. Grassington to Burnsall Walk
The Grassington to Burnsall Walk is one of our favourite walks around Grassington. Personally, Beck and I started this walk in Burnsall, walking to Linton Falls and then Grassington. But, people usually start the walk from Grassington. During this walk, you’ll explore both villages and the lovely countryside in between.
32. Grassington Lead Mining Trail
The Grassington Lead Mining Trail is a superb historical trail located in the moorlands, northeast of Grassington. Along the trail, you’ll follow signs and numbered boards to learn more about the lead mining history in the area. Admittedly, it’s a bit far from the village. So, you’d need to drive there, rather than attempting to walk there from town.
Read more: Grassington Walks
33. Grimwith Reservoir Walk
Grimwith Reservoir is easily one of the prettiest and most scenic reservoirs in the northwest of England. Certainly, the Grimwith Reservoir Walk is one of the best reservoir walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Read more: Grimwith Reservoir Walk – The Complete Guide
34. Ilkley Moor Walk
There are loads of great walks to do at Ilkley Moor. Perhaps, the best Ilkley Moor walk is the Cow and Calf Rocks and the Twelve Apostles Walk. During this walk, you’ll explore Ilkley Quarry, the Cow and Calf Rocks, the Twelve Apostles, White Wells and the Ilkley Tarn.
35. Simon’s Seat and Valley of Desolation
Simon’s Seat is an epic gritstone-capped summit located on Barden Fell in the Yorkshire Dales. Easily, the best walk to Simon’s Seat involves a circular walk from Barden Bridge, which is also known as Simon’s Seat and Valley of Desolation Walk. Other than visiting Simon’s Seat, this route takes in the mesmerising Bolton Abbey Waterfall (AKA Posforth Gill Falls), The Strid and the wild Valley of Desolation.
36. Trollers Gill Walk
Trollers Gill is a lesser-known, yet exceptional limestone gorge in the Yorkshire Dales. The shortest and easiest walk to access Trollers Gill starts near Parcevall Hall Gardens in Skyreholme. Indeed, this is the walk that Beck and I did and highly recommend.
Nidderdale AONB Walks
Last but not least, we’re going to cover some of the best walks in Nidderdale. As mentioned, technically speaking, Nidderdale doesn’t fall within the parameters of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. But, the Nidderdale AONB forms the southeastern part of the Yorkshire Dales. So, it’s only fair to cover some walks in this part of the Yorkshire Dales, considering that some of the best walks in the Dales are in Nidderdale!
37. Brimham Rocks and Moorland Walk
The Brimham Rocks is a spectacular array of gritstone rock formations near Pateley Bridge. Astonishingly, the rocks were formed over 325 million years ago. As a result of natural erosion, the rocks have assumed unique and otherwordly shapes. Personally, Beck and I did the Brimham Rocks and Moorland Walk and really enjoyed it.
38. Hackfall Explorer
Hackfall Woods is an enchanting and unique woodland near Masham. Essentially, it’s a semi-natural woodland garden. In the 18th Century, the ancient woodland was turned into a wild romantic garden, with follies, grottos, human-made waterfalls and a fountain!
There are four main routes you can do at Hackfall Woods. We recommend doing the Hackfall Explorer, which loops around the entire woodlands, so you get to see all of the main attractions. Keep an eye out for Lover’s Leap, where you’ll enjoy exceptional views of the North York Moors.
39. How Stean Gorge Walk
How Stean Gorge is a sublime 20 metre deep limestone gorge. The gorge features paths, bridges, tunnels and caves, which are possible to explore by doing the How Stean Gorge Walk.
40. Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Walk
Located in the south of Nidderdale, you’ll find two popular reservoirs – Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs. It’s possible to do a circular walk (The Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir Walk), which involves walking around both reservoirs. Or, you can simply walk around just one of the picturesque reservoirs for a shorter and easier walk.
Read more: Fewston Reservoir Walk – The Ultimate Guide
41. Swinton Estate Parklands and Gardens
Swinton Estate is one of the largest privately owned estates in England. Recently in 2019, the estate opened permissive paths in its beautiful Parklands and Gardens. With this in mind, we highly recommend doing the circular walk around the Parklands and Gardens, starting from the Swinton Country Club and Spa.
Stay at Swinton Park Hotel
Swinton Park Hotel is an incredible four-stay castle hotel, offering immaculate rooms and an unbelievable experience
42. Yorke’s Folly and Guise Cliff
When it comes to walks in Pateley Bridge, The Yorke’s Folly and Guise Cliff Walk is one of our favourites. During this walk, you’ll explore the lesser-known Guise Cliff, before reaching Yorke’s Folly. During a section of this walk, you’ll follow along the long-distance Nidderdale Way.
How to Get to the Yorkshire Dales
The most convenient way to get to the Yorkshire Dales National Park is to drive. Sure, public transport around the Yorkshire Dales is quite good, especially on the weekends during summer. But, outside of this time, public transport can be very limited.
Admittedly, public transport to the trailheads of some of the walks listed is either limited or non-existent. So, overall, it’s better to have your own vehicle, so you have the freedom and flexibility to do walks in the Yorkshire Dales, at your own pace, without relying upon public transport.
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.
Of course, it’s possible to use public transport to get to the major towns and villages in the Yorkshire Dales. So, many of the walks will be totally doable using public transport. Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you may need to use a combination of Trainline, DalesBus and Google Maps to help plan your journey.
For specific details about public transport for each waterfall, please read the individual articles we’ve linked to in this guide.
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.
Where to Stay in the Yorkshire Dales
Accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales
Find your perfect accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on Booking.com
What to Pack For Yorkshire Dales Walks
Here are some gear essentials for doing walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
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.
FAQs About Yorkshire Dales Walks
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
What Is the Most Popular Walk in the Yorkshire Dales?
Which Is the Prettiest of the Yorkshire Dales Walks?
Honestly speaking, Beck and I don’t have a favourite walk in the Yorkshire Dales. All of the dales in the national park offer something slightly different in terms of natural beauty and landscape, so it’s really just too difficult to choose one walk as the prettiest or best.
Bonus Tips About Doing Yorkshire Dales Walks
- Yorkshire Dales Walks book: if you’d like to read a book about walks in the Yorkshire Dales, we recommend the Yorkshire Dales Pathfinder Walking Guide.
- Do the waterfall walks after decent rainfall: you don’t want to arrive at a tame or dried-out waterfall.
- Walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks individually: if the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge sounds too intense, then don’t worry, you can simply do standalone walks of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. In fact, before doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, Beck and I walked each of these peaks individually. It meant we could spend more time exploring some of the attractions en route such as Hull Pot near Pen-y-ghent and Force Gill near Whernside.
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