The Cumbria Way is an enchanting hike through the heart of England's largest and most-loved national park, the Lake District.
Exploring majestic mountainous scenery, mirror-like lakes, lonely fells, waterfalls, woodlands, and pastures, the Way travels 70 miles (112 km) from Ulverston near Morecambe Bay to finish in the historic city of Carlisle.
The route cuts right through a quintessentially Lake District landscape; passing Coniston, Langdale, Borrowdale, Derwentwater, Skiddaw Forest, and Caldbeck. The Way follows a low-level route along valley floors for the most part but does explore some high-level and exposed sections, too.
As the walking is not as challenging as you might expect for Lakeland, this trail is a great choice for anyone who is new to long-distance hiking and is a wonderful introduction to the national park.
For anyone looking for something a little more challenging, though, there are plenty of worthy hill-bagging detours to choose from along the way. Giants such as Coniston Old Man, the Langdale Pikes, and Blencathra loom over you, simply begging to be conquered.
The route broadly comprises three sections with two very different characters. The southern and northern sections explore farmland pastures. (Just a note, these pastures will be filled with cows in summer which might cause a problem for people with a dog.)
The centre section—over Stake Pass, between Langdale and Keswick, and across Back o'Skiddaw and High Pike to Caldbeck—is classic Lakeland fell walking and is typically the most enjoyable part.
The most common way to walk the Cumbria Way is from south to north, as per this Collection. However, there is nothing stopping you from completing it the other way.
In this Collection, we split the route into five stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.
Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Ulverston railway station, which has direct trains from Manchester, Carlisle, and Lancaster, among others, and has connecting services around the UK. It is then a ten-minute walk to the start of the trail. To get home, it is a short walk from the end of the trail to Carlisle railway station, which has direct services to Newcastle, Birmingham, and London, among others, and connecting services around the UK.
If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Ulverston. To get back, there are direct trains between Carlisle and Ulverston.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: November 15, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The first stage of the Cumbria Way takes you over the Lake District boundary into the wild landscape of the national park.
From Ulverston, the trail climbs steadily to Old Hall Wood and then ascends sharply to reach a high point near Knotallow Tarn.
The trail continues through undulating farmland and…
Lonely fells, pretty tarns, and waterfalls combine to make this highlight-filled hike one to remember.
From Coniston, the trail ascends through farmland and woodland to Tarn Hows, a picturesque tarn surrounded by mountains and pines.
You hike along a wonderful section of trail over Tom Heights, where…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
This stage takes you high onto the fells before dropping to one of the Lake District’s most picturesque lakes, Derwentwater.
From Keswick, the trail heads along Langdale Valley before a sharp climb to Stakes Pass.
You then descend through the rugged landscape to Black Moss Pot, a pool on Langstrath Beck…
Isolated fells and far-reaching views await you on this challenging hike.
With 2,525 feet (770 meters) of ascent, this stage has the most climbing of any on the Way and will really test your mettle.
From Keswick, it is a short but sharp ascent to Latrigg. Despite being one of the lowest fells in the Lakes…
The final stage of the Cumbria Way is one long and gradual downhill; from wild fells to gentle farmland and finishing in the historic city of Carlisle.
Before leaving Caldbeck, it is worth paying a visit to St Kentigern’s, a pretty Grade I-listed church that is steeped in history.
You leave the village…
Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield
Hiking Collection by komoot
Hiking Collection by komoot
Bike Touring Collection by Dresden Elbland