Scafell Pike Walk
The wonderful Scafell Pike walk takes you to the highest peak in England and is much prettier and more interesting than the quicker route from Wasdale Head. This walk allows you to conquer England's highest mountain while enjoying breathtaking views of the Lake District.
To get to the Scafell Pike walk trailhead, get yourself to Seathwaite, which is just over a 1.6km south of Seatoller. You can park on the verge along the road or in the car park at the farm.
|When to do|
When Dry, no fog
At car park at Farm
Scafell Pike Walk
Scafell Pike Walk Description
To start the Scafell Pike walk, head south between the buildings on the farm and then continue on an obvious track up the valley bottom. At 1.4km walk over a beautiful arched stone bridge. Immediately turn left and continue up the valley, initially along a stonewall on a well-defined path.
At 2.4km from the start cross over a stream on a small wooden bridge and continue up the valley, going to the right of small knoll keeping the river on your right the entire way.
Come to a small high flat area at 3.9km from start. From here the path turns to the left and goes down to cross a stream (Ruddy Gill) and then back up and you continue your ascent. 365m later the path splits, take the right-hand path up to Esk Hause (mountain pass).
From the Esk Hause Pass, trails go off in all directions. Turn right and head uphill, trending to the left up to Ill Crag. Head into a boulder field at 5.6km from the start. Follow the cairns to get through this boulder field, as the path is lost quickly. Take care, as it’s easy to misstep and twist your ankle or knee. As you come out of the boulder field head over to the right and you can now see Scafell Pike.
Descend to a saddle and from the saddle, you have the final push up to Scafell Pike, which you reach 410m after the saddle. There is a great viewing platform here with 365 degrees views, making a fine place for a break.
The descent down off Scafell Pike is reached by continuing past the viewing platform on your right and heading off in the NW direction past a small stone marker, and following along a visible path downhill. Your path continues downhill, ignoring other routes branching off to the left.
At 8.3km from the start pass a beautiful gorge and stay right as a faint path leads off left. 1.0km later there is a slight scramble up the rocks and then head back downhill.
At 10.4km, after a slight uphill, you come to a junction at the top of a hill. From here head left, and 275m later come to another junction with a trail by an emergency stretcher box. Turn right and head down to Styhead Tarn, a beautiful place for a break.
Head down on the path beside Styhead Gill and when it branches take the right-hand route. At 11.6km from the start, cross a bridge to the other side of Styhead Gill, which you will recognize from your ascent. Continue down the valley on the right side of the stream. Partway down you’ll go past a rusted wire fence on your left. Soon you’ll come back to the beautiful arched bridge and turn left, heading back to the farm and your car.
Walking Route Highlights
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, and also the highest war memorial in the United Kingdom. The entire mountain was gifted to the National Trust soon after World War One as part of the ‘Great Gift’, along with several other peaks in the Lake District. This remarkable donation means that the mountain has long been a site of commemoration and tribute to the sacrifice of the men of the Lake District who gave their lives during the war. It also means that these important natural landmarks remain open to the public, giving people the freedom to enjoy the fells and connect with the natural landscape around them.
In addition to its historical significance, Scafell Pike is also an important conservation area, home to many rare plant species and a fragile, delicate local ecosystem. More than 250,000 people scale the mountain each year, meaning the paths and cairns require constant maintenance to ensure that the landscape remains protected. Scafell Pike may be a challenging climb, but this remarkable part of the Lake District offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the region.
Scafell Pike forms part of the National Three Peaks Challenge, in which really adventurous walkers attempt to scale the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales, often within 24 hours. The three peaks include Ben Nevis in Scotland, Mount Snowdon in Wales, and Scafell Pike in England. This is a gruelling feat of endurance, covering 37.0km and ascending over 3000m, and is not for the faint of heart!
Scafell Pike Facts
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, standing tall at 978m above sea level.
Scafell Pike should not be confused with the nearby peak of Sca Fell, which is the second-highest mountain in England (964m) and sometimes even seems taller than Scafell Pike.
Scafell Pike is also home to the highest standing water in England, Broad Crag Tarn. This pretty tarn sits at 820m above sea level, just short of the summit.
How long will it take to walk up Scafell Pike?
The direct route up Scafell Pike via Wasdale will take around 3 hours for the ascent, and 2 hours for the descent, depending on your level of fitness.
Is Scafell Pike easy to climb?
Scafell Pike is a relatively challenging walk, even for fit hikers, requiring a steep climb and some scrambling in places.
Is Scafell Pike easier than Snowdon?
Although Scafell Pike is the smallest of the three peaks, it is often considered to be the most difficult walk. Snowdon is considered to be the easiest, and Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike are more challenging.
Is Scafell Pike dangerous?
Although there’s a scree slope near the summit of Scafell Pike, the route doesn’t involve any tricky or dangerous places. However, as with all walks in the Lake District, it’s best to take care and follow local advice when walking on the fells.
Can kids climb Scafell Pike?
Scafell Pike is a challenging hike, and is not suitable for very young children. However, it’s still manageable for older children, and offers a fantastic family day out.
Can a novice climb Scafell Pike?
Scafell Pike is not a suitable walk for complete beginners, but it is manageable if you have a reasonable level of fitness. The paths are well maintained and easy to follow, meaning that there’s no need for specialist equipment or climbing.
What is the easiest way to climb Scafell Pike?
The easiest route up Scafell Pike is the direct route from Wasdale Head.
What should I wear to climb Scafell Pike?
The most important item of clothing for any walk is hiking boots. It’s critical to have good quality, sturdy footwear that provides good ankle support. It’s also important to bring waterproof clothing and plenty of layers.
Where should I stay to climb Scafell Pike?
The area around Wasdale Head and Eskdale has many options for accommodation, from quality hotels and B&Bs to budget hostels and campsites.
Can you run up Scafell Pike?
It’s possible to run up Scafell Pike, and there are many local fell running races that include the peak.
Get to Seatoller from Keswick by bus and walk the 2.1km to Seathwaite
There is economical camping at the farm at Seathwaite and it’s a very pleasant location to spend a night or two!
If you're planning on bringing your dog, you can check out these dog-friendly accommodations in the area.
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