Best hikes in North York Moors, England
Captain Cook's Monument and Roseberry Topping trail, North York Moors

hikes in North York Moors

Region in England, United Kingdom
North York Moors trail map

Walking In North York Moors

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 177.0km 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 41.8km 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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The best hikes in North York Moors

Captain Cook's Monument and Roseberry Topping trail, North York Moors

01. Captain Cook's Monument and Roseberry Topping
Difficulty

8.3km 324m 2.25-2.75h

This is a superb hike – taking you to two distinctive peaks of the North… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Ravenscar and Robin Hood's Bay walk in North York Moors, England

02. Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay
Difficulty

14.7km 226m 3.25-4h

From high on the cliffs of Ravenscar this hike follows the coastline to the higgledy… Read More

User Rating

9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Farndale "Daffodil walk" in North York Moors

03. Farndale "Daffodil walk"
Difficulty

6.0km 68m 1.5-2h

A beautiful stroll along Farndale valley between the picturesque villages of Low Mill and Church… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views of the Hole of Horcum walk in North York Moors, England

04. Hole of Horcum
Difficulty

10.9km 168m 2.5-3h

So superbly beautiful from start to finish, this hike is a popular yet peaceful trek… Read More

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Goathland, Mallyan Spout and the Roman Road hike in North York Moors

05. Goathland, Mallyan Spout and the Roman Road
Difficulty

12.4km 316m 3.25-4h

Although a challenging hike – both lengthy and requiring steady legs for the negotiation of… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke walk in North York Moors, England

06. Cloughton and Hayburn Wyke
Difficulty

6.9km 161m 2-2.5h

This undulating but not overly challenging route links the Wyke’s of Cloughton and Hayburn along… Read More

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Cold Moor and Urra Moor walk in North York Moors, England

07. Cold Moor and Urra Moor
Difficulty

14.8km 450m 3.75-4.5h

This strenuous hike includes plenty of steep ascents and descents but rewards with exceptional views… Read More

User Rating

8.6Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake walk in North York Moors, England

08. Sutton Bank, White Horse of Kilburn and Gormire Lake
Difficulty

13.5km 313m 4-5h

Starting on the top of Sutton Bank, the route follows the cliff top Cleveland Way,… Read More

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Black Hambleton walk in North York Moors, England

09. Black Hambleton
Difficulty

12.9km 280m 3.25-4h

This hike starts just below the summit of Black Hambleton, skirting around the base of… Read More

User Rating

8.9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey walk in North York Moors, England

10. Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey
Difficulty

11.1km 185m 1.5-2h

This popular 11.0km route starts in the bustling market town of Helmsley and… Read More

User Rating

9.6Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

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