Heavenly hikes through the Yorkshire Dales — ‘God’s Own Country’

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Heavenly hikes through the Yorkshire Dales — ‘God’s Own Country’

Hiking Collection by komoot

When you visit the Yorkshire Dales, it is easy to understand why they call it ‘God’s own Country’. With some of England's most evocative landscapes, it is home to mystical mountains, magnificent waterfalls, wild moorland, cave labyrinths, lush pastures, wildflower meadows and a resolutely peaceful atmosphere.

On top of spectacular scenery, the national park boasts picturesque villages, warm and cozy pubs, friendly people, wonderful wildlife and abundant local produce to feast on, including Wensleydale cheese, Yorkshire pudding, pikelets, parkin and pints of real ale.

Whether you want to push the extremes of endurance on marathon hikes, test your skills on rocky ravine scrambles, or simply wander alongside waterfalls, daydream by streams and relax by roaring fires, there is something for you in this Collection.

The biggest challenge in the Collection is the Yorkshire Three Peaks route, which takes on the county's highest mountains in one grueling 12-hour circuit. However, if you do not fancy the full challenge, there is a superb route up Whernside, the highest of the Three Peaks, included here that is truly magnificent.

This Collection also takes you up to the highest pub in Britain, transports you to the stunning setting of a famous watercolor by Romantic painter William Turner at Aysgarth Falls and takes you on one of the most impressive waterfall walks you will experience, which begins from the village Ingleton.

If you are partial to hands-on scrambling, the Gordale Scar and Malham Cove route is arguably the most iconic hike in the Dales. Crossing some of the finest limestone scenery the national park has to offer, the superb route boasts awe-inspiring rocky ravines, immense cliffs and breathtaking views.

Getting to the Yorkshire Dales by train is super-easy as two National Rail services cover the area. This gives fantastic access and affords one of the most spectacular train journeys in England. After Settle, the train stops at Horton-in-Ribblesdale (perfect access for the Yorkshire Three Peaks), Ribblehead (to explore the iconic viaduct), Dent, Garsdale and Kirkby Stephen.

Bus and coach links to the Dales are excellent, too. Nearby towns such as Lancaster, Penrith, Skipton, Leeds, Harrogate, York, Ripon, Northallerton and Darlington are well served and services within the national park are fantastic.

Where to stay depends on what exactly you want to do on your visit. There are plenty of great options and, as mentioned, brilliant transport links (including extra services on peak days).

A great choice, though, is Hawes. Centrally located, the magical little market town boasts plenty of places to stay, as well as great pubs, restaurants, shopping, and more. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, it is also home to the famous Wensleydale Cheese.

For more information about the Yorkshire Dales, where to stay, visit, eat and drink, transport advice and much more, visit: yorkshiredales.org.uk.

For local bus timetables and information, visit: dalesbus.org.

For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    6.77 mi
    2.1 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This ticks-every-box route is the epitome of a classic hike in the Yorkshire Dales.

    Arguably the most iconic route in the national park, including the Three Peaks, this circuit has it all: excitement, adventure, beauty, tranquility, challenge, abundant wildlife and breathtaking moments around every corner.

    Before we get into the joys of this classic, though, be aware this is definitely an expert hike and should not be undertaken lightly. Above average fitness and technical ability is required. This hike gets extremely technical in places and has some very steep parts.

    If you are confident hiker with good fitness, however, this will be one of the best routes you will do in the Dales.

    Crossing some of the finest limestone scenery in the Dales, the first attraction you encounter is Janet’s Foss, a wonderful waterfall nestled amid magical woodlands. From there you follow the path alongside the waterfalls of Gordale Beck. This challenging, yet immensely fun, scramble will get you puffing with exertion and exhilaration.

    Up next is Gordale Scar. One of the most dramatic sights in the Yorkshire Dales, this narrow ravine is dominated on either side by sheer walls of rock, hundreds of feet high. You will find the scramble through Gordale Scar to be a hands-on challenge, especially in the wet, but excellent fun indeed.

    To finish, prepare to have your breath taken by the magnificent Malham Cove. The views from the 230 foot (70 meter) high curving cliff are as spectacular as the cove itself. Peregrine Falcons are often spotted here, so be sure to keep a look-out.

    7.87 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    As the highest mountain in Yorkshire, most serious hikers will want to climb Whernside during a visit to the Dales.

    Even if you do not have 12 hours to complete the full Three Peaks Challenge, this circuit treats you to some of the best bits that most challengers will miss anyway, comfortably under four hours, too.

    At the beginning and end of this route you are afforded the view of Ribblehead Viaduct, one of the most iconic sights in the Yorkshire Dales. Perfectly positioned between the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside it is a delightful place to take in the scenery, pose for a photograph or stop to sketch.

    If you are super-lucky, you might see a steam train puffing its way along the impressive 24 stone arches of the viaduct; taking you back in time to the 1870s when the Midland Railway was the pinnacle of technical innovation.

    From there, this route ascends Whernside via the Force Gill footpath. Not only will you beat the crowds on this top-notch trail, you also have the opportunity to view Low Force and High Force waterfalls up-close. Do not be afraid to veer off the path for a closer look either.

    When you arrive at the 2,415 feet (736 meter) high summit a few miles later, prepare to be blown away by the views of the Three Peaks, the Dales—and even over to Blackpool Tower on a clear day.

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  • Intermediate
    10.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Yorkshire Dales is well-known for its warm and friendly pubs with roaring fires and cracking real ale. However, it is also home to the highest pub in Britain, the Tan Hill Inn.

    This glorious route will take you to the famous watering hole, along with two waterfalls, a view of the curious Nine Standards Rigg and much more.

    Starting from the quaint village of Keld, the first waterfall you arrive at is East Gill Force. With a 15 foot (4.5 meter) drop, this impressive waterfall is housed in a magnificent setting. As it happens to be where Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Walk intersect, you will usually see a few fellow ramblers enjoying the waterfall, too.

    After following the grassy track uphill and over glorious open moorland, you will find yourself at the world-famous Tan Hill Inn. At 1,732 feet (528 meters) above sea level, it is officially the highest pub in Britain. However, the historic 17th century inn is much more than a claim-to-fame. With exposed beams, stone-flagged floor and a welcoming fire, it is a warm meeting place indeed.

    When you are replete, turn right out of the pub and left down the moorland track. Take the footpath, cross the stream and continue up the hill. A short time later, the Nine Standards Rigg will come into view on the horizon; nine unusual cairns that many believe the Roman army built to look like troops from a distance.

    To finish this hike, why not stop to relax by Wain Wath Force waterfall? With a tranquil grassy bank and a deep pool to swim in, should you dare, it is a fitting end to a wonderful route.

    To find out more about Tan Hill Inn, visit: tanhillinn.com.

    3.11 mi
    2.3 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    It is not often that you have the chance to step into the setting of a classic painting. Well, on this route you can live and breathe a landscape made famous by English Romantic painter William Turner.

    This lovely little route explores Aysgarth Falls, a spectacular stretch of water in Lower Wensleydale. Carved out by the River Ure, the water dramatically drops 98 feet (30 meters) during a mile-or-so, creating a bold and beautiful landscape of interesting falls and pools.

    William Turner visited Aysgarth Falls in 1816 to make illustrations for 'A General History of the County of York' by Thomas Dunham Whitaker. It was his sketches of the Lower Falls that he chose to develop into a finished watercolor. As you stand in the exact spot, splashing in the water, you are in your very own painting. Magnificent (or ‘reyt good’, as they say in Yorkshire)!

    This easy-going, leisurely circuit boasts more than just waterfalls, though, and takes you through picturesque countryside, under old stone bridges and into mystical woodland. This hike is suitable for all ages and abilities and there is a wheelchair friendly path to a viewing platform at the middle Falls, meaning everybody can experience the joys of this stunning area.

    24.5 mi
    2.0 mph
    4,675 ft
    4,675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    If you are the kind of person that grabs the bull by the horns, lays down the gauntlet and accepts the toughest challenge going, then this route is definitely for you.

    The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is the ultimate feat of endurance for anyone visiting the Dales. At 24.5 miles (39.2 kilometers) long and with 4,675 feet (1,425 meters) to ascend, this beast will take you up-and-down the three highest peaks in Yorkshire.

    The challenge takes on the mountains of of Pen-y-Ghent (2,277 feet/694 meters), Whernside (2,415 feet/736 meters) and Ingleborough (2,372 feet/723 meters), usually in that order—in under twelve hours. The fastest time recorded is two hours, 29 minutes and 53 seconds.

    While the route is signposted in places, you cannot rely on signposting as your only means of navigation, especially during off-peak times when there may not be other walkers around. As such, a map and compass is highly recommended. The Ordnance Survey Explorer OL2 is the map you need.

    While there are plenty of attractions to see on this route, if you are undertaking the challenge in one sitting—and aiming for the gold standard of under twelve hours—you will not have much time for sightseeing (or rest).

    That said, you can admire Ribblehead Viaduct on this route, one of the most iconic sights in the Yorkshire Dales. You will also pass by the Hull Pot, a collapsed cavern with a wonderful waterfall pouring into it, as well as getting chance to enjoy the spectacular Low Force and High Force waterfalls and the Force Gill Aqueduct.

    It almost goes without saying, but the views you are afforded from the collective Three Peaks are utterly spellbinding. Stretching right over Yorkshire to the Lake District mountains, from Morecambe Bay to the Blackpool Tower, your breath will be taken away many times over.

    Many people who attempt the Three Peaks raise money for charity, which is a great idea if you have time to plan before you undertake the challenge.

    Parking is available at each start point, some free and some costing up to £5 per day.

    For more information on the Yorkshire Three Peaks, joining group expeditions and much more, visit: threepeakschallenge.uk/yorkshire-three-peaks-challenge.

    Finally, if you are attempting attempting it, good luck!

    4.29 mi
    2.0 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Ingleton Waterfall Trail is a truly unforgettable experience. Boasting seven spectacular waterfalls, plus lots of other quirky sights, this short circuit is guaranteed fun for all ages and abilities.

    Starting from Ingleton village, you are treated to the waterfalls of Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, Baxengyhll Gorge and Snow Falls in one short loop. You also get to hike along Twisleton Lane, a Roman road that boasts views over Morecambe Bay, and enjoy plenty of natural swimming pools, food stops, viewpoints and much more.

    The star attraction of this route has to be Thornton Force Dropping 46 feet (14 meters) over a limestone cliff, the breathtaking waterfall is situated in a rocky amphitheatre and offers the perfect spot for swimming (in fine weather) and relaxation all year round.

    The trail follows a well-defined footpath, but does include a large number of steps. As such, it is unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, or people with mobility issues. That said, if you have average fitness and walking ability, you will find this hike to be leisurely. Strong shoes or a sturdy pair of boots are definitely recommended, though.

    You do have to pay to enter the trail from Ingleton. Prices as follows: £15 for a family ticket, £6 per adult and £3 per child (under 16). The ticket price includes parking. The trail has different opening times depending on the season, too.

    For more information, visit: ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk.

    3.41 mi
    2.1 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If you fancy a walk that is small in distance but big in character, you will be hard-pressed to do better than this lovely route. Packing in two spectacular waterfalls, stunning views and a top-notch pub to finish, this is sublime sauntering indeed.

    Starting from the quaint village of Stainforth, the path climbs up a limestone stairway through the woods above Stainforth Scar. Upon emerging at the top, your are treated to magnificent views up Ribblesdale.

    A short time later, you arrive at Catrigg Force waterfall. A hidden gem of the Yorkshire Dales, this magnificent waterfall is relatively unvisited, which is remarkable considering just how beautiful the area is. The falls have created a pool which, if the weather is good, you can swim in.

    After a leisurely stroll to complete the circuit, you are treated to the delights of Stainforth Force waterfall to finish. While it can get busy during peak times, it is surprisingly quiet at all times of year. And, if you visit during autumn, look out for salmon leaping up the falls on their way to their spawning grounds.

    After you have enjoyed the delights of the Dales, why not settle down by one of three roaring fires for a relaxing drink at the Craven Heifer Inn? They serve locally sourced food six days a week, too.

    For more information, visit: cravenheiferstainforth.co.uk

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    60.4 mi
  • Duration
    29:16 h
  • Elevation
    9,075 ft

Heavenly hikes through the Yorkshire Dales — ‘God’s Own Country’