Walking In North York Moors

Region in England, United Kingdom

Ah, Yorkshire! Otherwise known as ‘God’s own country’ – or that least that’s what folk here would have you believe. Yorkshire’s inhabitants are notoriously proud of their home, and with good reason – this wild, expansive county is home to three national parks, each covered with hundreds of miles of beautiful walking trails. Head for the North York Moors and discover what this magnificent region has to offer.

The North York Moors is a wild, windy, rugged place, with a unique charm that quickly captivates visitors. It’s no surprise that this part of the world has long inspired writers and artists, from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With dramatic cliffs plunging down into the sea, and windswept hillsides, the landscape here has a strong and distinctive character.

The North York Moors are also steeped in history. You’ll have the opportunity to step back in time by walking in the footsteps of ancient warriors along the old Roman roads, or wandering through the beautiful and eerie remains of medieval abbeys. Explore the quaint fishing villages and hidden coves, or head inland along the Cleveland Way, an epic 110.0 mi walking route that skirts almost the entire part.

Whatever you’re looking for, and wherever you go, you’re sure to receive a warm welcome. People from Yorkshire are friendly and big-hearted, and love to introduce visitors to their beautiful region. We’re confident you’ll love walking in this fantastic national park, but beware – you might just leave a little piece of your heart behind in God’s own country.

Top Walks In North York Moors

Looking for a place for a fun family walking holiday? Or an exhilarating trek over rugged moorland and plunging cliffs? Whatever you’ve got in mind, the North York Moors has it all. This beautiful corner of England boasts family-friendly strolls through picturesque woodland and farmland, historic trails that pass by medieval abbeys and picture-perfect villages, and epic coastal routes with views out across the sea. Whether you’re looking for an easy walk or a strenuous day hike, there’s a trail here for you.

  • Captain Cook’s Monument and Roseberry Topping Walk: This wonderful walk takes in not just one, but two popular peaks in the North York Moors! The trail begins on the Cleveland Way and passes by the Cook Monument, erected in 1827 to celebrate the life of local figure Captain James Cook. The path snakes through woodland, carpeted with bluebells in spring, before reaching Roseberry Topping, offering fantastic views back over the Cook Monument and the Cleveland Plain.
  • Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay Walk: This wonderful cliff-side walk goes all the way to the lovely village of Robin Hood’s Bay, offering fantastic sea views. The village itself is crammed with pretty teahouses and interesting shops so make sure to leave plenty of time to explore. The return path takes you along the old Scarborough-Whitby railway with spectacular views across to Ravenscar. This is one of our favorite walks in the North York Moors, with incredible variety.
  • Farndale Daffodil Walk: Looking for a fun, family-friendly walk in the North York Moors? Look no further than the Farndale Daffodil Walk, a short, easy loop suitable for young families. The path passes through idyllic Yorkshire meadows and beautiful woodland, although you’ll have to come in spring to see the eponymous daffodils. This trail can also be completed as an out-and-back route if you require a buggy/wheelchair-friendly route.
  • Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey Walk: The ruined skeleton of Rievaulx Abbey is an iconic part of the North York Moors landscape. This wonderful hike begins in the bustling market town of Helmsley and passes along a lovely section of the Cleveland Way to reach the ruins of the medieval Cistercian abbey. It’s a relatively easy route with wonderful views, and is one of our favorite walks in the North York Moors.
  • Goathland, Mallyan Spout and the Roman Road Walk: This challenging hike requires plenty of energy, as you’ll be negotiating some rocky, craggy terrain. However, the extra effort is well worth it, as this path passes through a beautiful wooded valley and open moorland, before reaching the ancient Roman Road. You’ll also enjoy a spectacular waterfall and lovely views over the wild terrain.
  • Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke Walk: This gently undulating walk passes along the Cleveland Way between the wykes (a coastal path or creek between the sea and cliffs) of Cloughton and Hayburn. You’ll enjoy a stunning cliff-side stroll with views all the way out across the sea and to Scarborough Castle, pretty woodland, tall waterfalls, and even rocky beaches! Keep your eyes open for red deer and plenty of beautiful local birds, especially in the lush woodland.
  • Hole of Horcum Walk: This peaceful route is one of our favorite walks in the North York Moors! The trail begins high up overlooking an expansive ravine, and snakes its way along the rim before reaching the village of Levisham. The views over the Hole of Horcum are simply stunning, and walkers can entertain themselves with stories of the legend of the long-dead giant that created the hole by scooping out giant handfuls of earth to form a mighty chasm. Make sure to go the extra distance to Levisham so that you can enjoy the wonderful path back through the woodland.
  • Cold Moor and Urra Moor Walk: North Yorkshire is known for its wild moors, and this walk is one of the best ways to experience them. The Cleveland Way connects Cold Moor and Urra Moor, two rugged, beautiful fells, covered in colorful heather. The moors can be a little boggy in wet weather so make sure to bring sturdy footwear, and you’ll need to wear warm clothes, as the trail can be a little windswept. However, this wonderful walk is a great way to experience the stark beauty of the North York Moors.
  • Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake Walk: Looking for a fun, challenging hike in the North York Moors? This fantastic route follows the Cleveland Way along the cliff-tops, before passing through rolling farmland and past the tranquil Gormire Lake. The variety of scenery makes this hike really enjoyable, with lovely views, especially of the Horse of Kilburn, a white figure of a horse cut into the hillside near Kilburn.
  • Black Hambleton Walk: This fantastic hike offers brilliant views of the North York Moors, extending all the way to the Vales of York and Mowbray and even to the Pennines on a clear day. The route begins just below the summit of Black Hambleton, passing through forest and farmland before climbing high onto a rocky ridge. The trail isn’t too demanding and you’ll have some truly wonderful views as you walk.

When Is The Best Time To Go Walking In North York Moors

The North York Moors are a year-round hiking destination, with accessible trails in every season. That said, we think the best time to go walking in the North York Moors is summer and early autumn, when you’ll have the chance to see the famous heather in full bloom. In July, the yellow bell heather covers the moors, and by mid-August the blossoming common heather adds a dash of purple to the landscape. These magnificent colors give the beautiful North York Moors their character and vibrancy.

Unfortunately, this being the north of England, whenever you visit the North York Moors you’ll risk some wild and windy weather, especially in late autumn and winter. While this doesn’t make for the best hiking conditions, it does add a dramatic character to the picturesque moorlands, and even in the depths of winter, walking here is a real treat. If you’re lucky with the weather and head out on a sunny summer’s day, there’s no better place on earth.

Other Outdoor Activities In North York Moors

Visitors flock to Yorkshire for the great walking routes, but there are also plenty of other activities in the North York Moors that you can enjoy during your visit. This is a very popular place for mountain biking, road biking and horse riding, and in the summer months you’re likely to encounter many four-legged friends on the bridleways that crisscross the national park. You’ll also have the chance to go fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, or kayaking, and if you’re really adventurous, head out onto the open seas for a spot of sailing. The only limit here is your imagination!

How To Plan A Trip To North York Moors

If you’re thinking of heading north and dreaming of a hiking adventure in the North York Moors, we’ve got all the information you need. Check out our guide to planning a trip to the North York Moors, where you’ll find tips on where to go, hidden gems that only the locals know about, and all of our favorite hiking trails. We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to – simply pack your bags and head out onto the trail!

Frequently-Asked-Questions About North York Moors

How big is the North York Moors National Park?
The North York Moors National Park covers an area of 554 square miles, including 26.0 mi of rugged, beautiful coastline. There are over 1000 miles of public footpaths in the national park, including the 110-mile Cleveland Way.

What is the difference between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales?
The Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors are two distinct national parks in the English country of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Dales offer slightly more varied scenery, with striking rock formations, deep, green valleys, and beautiful quaint villages. However, the North York Moors covers a slightly more wild, rugged terrain, with a beautiful stretch of coastline. Both areas are packed with amazing hiking trails and should be on any itinerary for a trip to the north of England.

What makes a moor a moor?
Moorland typically refers to a type of upland savannah with few or no trees and a distinct type of vegetation. In England, the term moor is usually used for uncultivated hill land with a high level of rainfall. In the United Kingdom, moors are characterized by their abundance of colorful heather, a small flowering shrub that grows in abundance on this type of terrain.

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Best Hikes in North York Moors

Open details for Roseberry Topping Walk via Captain Cook’s Monument

Roseberry Topping Walk via Captain Cook’s Monument

Easy
8.3 km
324 m
2.5-3.5h

Though short in distance, the Roseberry Topping Walk is a bit of a challenge with a sharp incline for most of the ascent up Cleveland’s most photographed hill. With a unique, half-cone shape, this hill is perhaps the most notable in the area, offering rewarding views over all of the Cleveland plains on a sunny day. Continue onto Captain Cook’s Monument, which stands proudly in the land the famous explorer once grew up.

The Roseberry Topping Walk via Captain Cook’s Monument is a superb hike – taking you to two distinct peaks of the North York Moors. Though likely to be busy, especially on a summer day, it’s definitely worth the climb!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay

Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay

Moderate
14.7 km
226 m
3-4.5h

From high on the cliffs of Ravenscar this hike follows the coastline to the higgledy piggledy streets of Robin Hood’s Bay, gently meandering back inland via the old Scarborough-Whitby railway. This is truly special and not to be missed. Exceptional views across the bay from start to finish.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Farndale “Daffodil walk”

Farndale “Daffodil walk”

Very Easy
6.0 km
68 m
1.5-2h

A beautiful stroll along Farndale valley between the picturesque villages of Low Mill and Church Houses. Either follow the loop for a gentle couple of hours ambling through the Yorkshire countryside or for buggy/wheelchair option complete an out and back version.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Hole of Horcum Walk

Hole of Horcum Walk

Easy
10.9 km
168 m
2.5-3.5h

So superbly beautiful from start to finish, the Hole of Horcum Walk is a popular, yet peaceful hike through the varied countryside. Begin high above a great ravine and continue along the rim towards the village of Levisham. From there, head into the heart of the Hole of Horcum - not to be missed!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Goathland, Mallyan Spout and the Roman Road

Goathland, Mallyan Spout and the Roman Road

Moderate
12.4 km
316 m
3-4.5h

Although a challenging hike – both lengthy and requiring steady legs for the negotiation of some uneven and craggy terrain through West Beck – it’s most definitely worth it! You’ll be rewarded with beautiful wooded valleys, a spectacular waterfall, open moorland and the well-preserved Roman Road.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Hayburn Wyke Walk

Hayburn Wyke Walk

Easy
6.9 km
161 m
1.5-2.5h

The Hayburn Wyke Walk is an undulating but not overly challenging route. It links the Wyke’s of Cloughton and Hayburn along an intriguing stretch of the Cleveland Way. Highlights include the waterfall at Hayburn Wyke and stunning views out to the North Sea and along the coastline to Scarborough.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Cold Moor and Urra Moor

Cold Moor and Urra Moor

Hard
14.8 km
450 m
4-5.5h

This strenuous hike includes plenty of steep ascents and descents but rewards with exceptional views in all directions. Join a beautiful part of the Cleveland Way, linking the aptly named Cold Moor and rugged Urra Moor.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake Walk

Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake Walk

Hard
13.5 km
313 m
3.5-4.5h

Starting at the top of Sutton Bank, the Kilburn White Horse and Gormire Lake walk follows the cliff top Cleveland Way, meanders along forest tracks, through rolling farmland and catches glimpses of Gormire Lake. This makes for an energetic and varied hike with many fantastic views along the way.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Black Hambleton

Black Hambleton

Moderate
12.9 km
280 m
3-4.5h

This hike starts just below the summit of Black Hambleton, skirting around the base of the hill through forestry and farmland before a sharp ascent brings you up onto the ridge. The final 6.0 km is an easy hike with impressive views across the Vales of York and Mowbray, and on a clear day you will be lucky enough to spot the Pennines in the distance.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey Walk

Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey Walk

Very Easy
11.1 km
185 m
2.5-3.5h

The popular Rievaulx Abbey Walk starts in the bustling market town of Helmsley and follows part of the Cleveland Way to reach the idyllic village and ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. With plenty of classic Yorkshire views and history a plenty— this is a great loop and day out.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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Open details for Planning your trip to North York Moors National Park

Planning your trip to North York Moors National Park

By Lynn W
July 20th, 2017
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