Walks in Yorkshire Dales National Park
If exploring the countryside by foot is up there with your favourite pastimes, you don’t want to miss out on the timeless natural and ancient delights spanning England’s Yorkshire Dales National Park. The contrast of verdant valleys lined with stone walls steeped in history and limestone karsts grabbing attention in the southern Dales makes for top-notch walking adventures. Meanwhile, conquering one of the Three Peaks—Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside—is likely on most avid walker’s adventure list of to-dos when they visit here. The ultimate goal would be to complete all Three Peaks in one go. Unfortunately, this challenging walk usually takes around 12 hours to do! That being said, walking in Yorkshire Dales National Park is a possibility for all ages and abilities—all you need to do is choose which walk suits your style, your mood, and let the outstanding scenery work its charm as you explore.
The Greatest Walks in Yorkshire Dales National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park is the ultimate walking paradise! You’ll find a range of walks: family-friendly, pushchair and wheelchair-friendly, challenging, relaxed, incredibly scenic (hello: karsts, postcard-perfect villages, rolling countryside), and the list goes on. Take a look at some of the greatest walks in Yorkshire Dales National Park and start compiling your list of must-do adventures:
- Aysgarth Woods Circular Walk - It won’t take much to convince friends and family to join you on the Aysgarth Woods Circular Walk, where an explosion of surprises await! The path winds to cascading waterfalls, secluded woodlands and takes you along River Ure. And the cherry on top is the Bolton Castle, a marvel steeped in history.
- Bucken Pike and Lead Mine Walk - Get ready for a challenge as you ascend the highest peak in the Dales! Expect your lungs to undergo little reprieve as you’ll spend most of this walk travelling uphill. But walks that get your heart usually going always end with stunning views—and this walk is a rewarding one.
- Whernside Circular Walk - Get up close with one of the Yorkshire Peaks on the Whernside Circular Walk. Immerse in countryside scenery and take on Whernside, the first of the Yorkshire Peaks. Enjoy a mirage of cascading waterfalls as you make your way around this 12.9 km loop. Prepare for unpredictable weather at the top!
- Malham Tarn Walk - Discover some of the Yorkshire Dales best features on the moderately challenging 12.2 km Malham Tarn Walk! Walk by a montage of incredible views, including coves, ravines, and waterfalls as you take on heart-pumping undulations. One of the main highlights is Gordale Scar, a stunning ravine!
- Malham Circular Walk - Explore magical scenery on the 10.6 km Malham Circular Walk, where you can immerse in the melting glaciers and mirage of waterfalls brimming with lime and dropping onto the rocks below, resulting in the creation of brown tufa! Plus, the wildflowers sprinkling the path in the warmer months add a layer of beauty to this walk.
- Pen-y-Ghent Circular Walk - The Pen-y-Ghent Circular Walk doesn’t only introduce you to one of the Yorkshire Dales Peaks, but it lets you explore Hull Pot and Hunt Pot, where you can admire the stream dropping 61 m into a cave-like space. Revel in views of the other two peaks—Ingleborough and Whernside—as you take on this 9.5 km loop!
- Grimwith Reservoir Walk - Looking for a family-friendly walk in the Yorkshire Dales? The Grimwith Reservoir Walk winds by waterfront views tucked into rolling countryside hills! The best part is that those needing pushchairs can enjoy this walk.
- Swaledale Meadows to East Gill Force and Kisdon Force Walk - Explore quintessential views of the English countryside elevated by cascading waterfalls on the Swaledale Meadows to East Gill Force and Kisdon Force Walk. You’ll pass by four waterfalls, vistas of Pennine Way, and during the summer, marvel at the wildflowers adding colours to the scenery.
- Ingleton Waterfalls Circular Walk - The Ingleton Waterfalls Circular Walk is another fantastic family-friendly walk that boasts a relaxing path, gentle terrain, and a 6.9 km distance! Discover lovely scenery and sparkling waterfalls as you make your way around the loop.
- Grassington Walk - Wanting to bring your furry friends on a walk? Consider taking on the easy-going 11.7 km Grassington Walk that winds by pastures, meadows, and a river! Expect moderate ascents as well as stiles and steps on this walk.
When Is The Best Time To Walk in Yorkshire Dales National Park?
The best time to walk in the Yorkshire Dales is during the warmer months—June to September—when the paths are dry, and you can catch unobstructed views! However, while the weather is better during the summer, this is also when tourists love to flock here, so make sure you book any accommodations well in advance. On a different note, spring boasts lovely vibrant scenery, making it a great time to visit the Dales. Just be ready for a spectrum of weather possibilities.
Best Regions for Walking in Yorkshire Dales National Park?
You’ll find great walks carved all over the Yorkshire Dales, but if you want to settle in one spot for a few days, Malham is your go-to spot, especially with epic places, such as the Gordale Scar, Malham Cove, and Malham Tarn, nearby. This quaint village is also located along the Pennine Way! To explore the Three Peaks area, which covers 160.0 km, head to the western Dales.
Other Outdoor Activities in Yorkshire Dales National Park?
Other outdoor activities in Yorkshire Dales National Park include exploring the limestone caves and road and mountain biking! Cyclers will love the range of tracks winding throughout the untouched countryside, replete with 900.0 km of Roman roads, bridleways, green lanes, and more. One of the more popular challenging routes is the 210km Yorkshire Dales Cycleway.
Tap into your adventurous side by checking out one or more of the 2500 caves spanning the limestone landscape! First-timers will likely enjoy the beginners' route: Long Churns. If you’re claustrophobic, you’ll be happy to know that caving isn’t all about getting on your hands and knees, as some have massive chambers, such as Gaping Gill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the prettiest village in the Yorkshire Dales?
Kirkby Lonsdale is not only the biggest village in the Yorkshire Dales, but the surplus of local walks and timeless architecture harking to centuries past make this a great spot to visit! Another great option is Hawes, a lovely village lined with picturesque stone houses. Finally, while also being one of the best places to stay for epic walks, Malham is also a charming village worth visiting.
What are the Yorkshire Dales known for?
Yorkshire Dales boasts rolling countryside views, limestone karsts, caves, ravines, and waterfalls. It’s like exploring a supernatural version of the countryside!
How big is the Yorkshire Dales?
The Yorkshire Dales covers 841 square kilometres, granting a lot of room to find space, even on busier days!
Find more walking regions
- Lake District Walks
- Peak District Walks
- South Downs Walks
- Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Walks
- Chiltern Hills Walks
- Snowdonia Walks
Or use this link to find all walking regions in the UK.
Best Hikes in Yorkshire Dales National Park
Malham Tarn Walk
The Malham Tarn Walk is a stunning adventure that showcases many gorgeous features of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and check out the cascading waterfalls, limestone ravines and natural coves that make up this area. This is a challenging path, so it is not for the faint of heart.
Pen-y-Ghent Circular Walk
The Pen-y-Ghent Circular Walk is a heart-pumping thrill that has you scrambling through the peaks that make up this path. Explore Hunt Pot and Hull Pot as you summit the Pen-y-Ghent peak and watch as the stream flows down into the 30 m drop of Hunt Pot. You can marvel at two other peaks along this path called Ingleborough and Whernside.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Malham Cove Circular Walk
The Malham Cove Circular Walk is an amazing place to explore. The Gordale Scar was created by melting glaciers and houses beautiful waterfalls full of lime that pour onto the rocks below, creating a brown tufa. In the warmer months, you can also explore the vibrant wildflowers that fill this path.
Swaledale Meadows to East Gill Force and Kisdon Force Walk
The Swaledale Meadows to East Gill Force and Kisdon Force Walk is a beautiful rendition of the English countryside and encompasses many aspects of nature. Explore the cascading waterfalls and views of the Pennine Way. In the summer months, this area is filled with vibrantly coloured wildflowers!
Grimwith Reservoir Walk
The Grimwith Reservoir Walk is a wonderful family and dog-friendly stroll. The reservoir boasts beautiful views of the water and rolling countryside hills. This walk is also suitable for pushchairs and strollers due to its flat track throughout.
Whernside Circular Walk
The Whernside Circular Walk is an absolutely stunning journey among the Yorkshire Peaks. Wander along the open fields, gaze at the cascading waterfalls and enjoy the views from the towering peaks. This walk is an excellent option if you are looking for the best that Yorkshire Dales National Park has to offer.
Buckden Pike and Lead Mine Walk
The Buckden Pike and Lead Mine Walk is an amazing stroll that gives adventure seekers a challenge. Climbing up the side of the highest peak in Yorkshire Dales National Park, the majority of this walk is uphill and some scrambling may be necessary. It provides beautiful views of the surrounding area and takes you to beautiful views of the waterfall.
Aysgarth Falls Circular Walk
Exploring the Aysgarth Falls Circular Walk will take you on a magical adventure full of surprises. Wandering along the path, you will see cascading waterfalls, such as the Aysgarth Falls and quiet woodlands. Also, along this path, you will see the ancient Bolton Castle and get to walk along the River Ure.
Leyburn and Harmby Circular Walk
The Leyburn and Harmby Circular Walk is an amazing journey that showcases the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Walk along this path and discover the beautiful waterfall and take in the expansive views of the surrounding area. You can also explore the quarry that is along this path.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Ingleton Waterfalls Circular Walk
The Ingleton Waterfalls Circular Walk is a great family-friendly stroll that showcases the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This path boasts gentle terrain, and the short length makes it ideal for kids. Wandering along this path, you will come across stunning scenery and magnificent waterfalls.
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