Best walks in the Yorkshire Dales

The valleys, moors, hills and caverns of the Yorkshire Dales are etched with miles and miles of rolling footpaths – explore this atmospheric limestone landscape with our guide to the national park's best hiking trails  

19th April 2018
East Gill Force near Keld in the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park may be land-bound, but what it lacks in coastal drama it makes up for in magnificent moorlands, village-filled valleys and striking limestone crags.

One of the best ways to explore the Yorkshire Dales' 841 square miles is on foot – here are eight great walks to get you started:

1. Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire
Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty
Skies darken over Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

This short walk around Malham Tarn beneath the looming cliffs of Great Close Scar offers ramblers a chance to expereince a variety of habitats, from craggy limesteone bluffs, to think forest, peatland and a wildlife-rich upland lake. Route and map.

2. Keld to Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire
East Gill force Yorkshire Dales
East Gill Force near Keld in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

Midway through this Yorkshire Dales walk, stop off at the Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain – before returning across the moors past Roman cairns and craggy tors. Map and route.

3. Grassington, North Yorkshire
Grassington Yorkshire Dales
After a paddle in the river, grab a coffee in the village of Grassington, Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

Enjoy a refreshing riverside walk through stunning Upper Wharfedale in the south-east corner of the Yorkshire Dales, stopping to paddle, slide down rapids or leap into cool, clear plunge pools. Map and route.

4. Crackpot Hall and Upper Swaledale, North Yorkshire
Crackpot Hill Yorkshire Dales
This building has stood on the Crackpot Hall site for 500 years © Getty

Yearning for wide open spaces? This wonderful high-level walk meanders past a storied ruin and ends at an attractive waterfall in a little-visited, yet glorious, pocket of the Yorkshire Dales. Map and route.

5. Ingleborough, North Yorkshire
Ingleborough, Yorkshire
Mind the gap: beneath the moorland of the Dales are hundreds of miles of limestone caves, some surfacing with vast sinkholes ©Alamy

Walk the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales, a mountain pockmarked with cavernous sinkholes, rumbling rivers and labyrinthine limestone paving. Map and route.

6. Howgill Fells, Cumbria
Sedbergh, Cumbria
Sedbergh sits beneath the Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales ©Getty

This challenging walk in the north-western corner of the Yorkshire Dales begins in the village of Sedbergh and climbs into Howgill Fells – take a break on The Calf, with staggering views west over the Cumbria landscape and east over North Yorkshire. Map and route.

7. Upper Wharfedale, North Yorkshire
Upper Wharfedale
Upper Wharfedale is a charming little valley off the beaten track where the roads are too narrow for trucks and busses to navigate ©Alamy

Head to the Yorkshire Dales in search of three of the national park’s finest attributes: limestone uplands, enchanting valleys and picturesque waterfalls. Map and route.

8. Smardale Gill, Cumbria
Smardale Gill
An old viaduct, built in 1861, rises almost 30m on 14 stone arches above Smardale Beck – it’s a fine vantage point for spotting all-year-round residents to the national nature reserve, such as sparrowhawks, buzzards and treecreepers ©Getty

Enjoy a spectacular 7-mile walk through a secluded gorge in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Map and route.

Discover more great walks in the British countryside

Main image ©Getty




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