The 20 Best Walks in the Yorkshire Dales


I have listed the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales. If you complete all these walks you will, without doubt, have a full and proper knowledge of the Yorkshire Dales (or Dales, a couple sneak in to the Cumbrian Dales). Completing these 20 will make you want to try more, there is another 150 detailed elsewhere on this website.

The list of the best walks in the Dales is only my opinion but I have counted down from number 20 to my personal favourite. The list includes walks over mountains, shorter walks and those off the beaten track.

20. Great Knoutberry Hill in Upper Dentdale

6.5 miles

A pretty mountain accessed via the dramatic viaduct at Artengill. The contrasting descent passes through some rough moorland before hitting a remote road.

Arten Gill Viaduct

Arten Gill Viaduct

Full Walk Details

19. Historic Villages near Settle

7 miles

I probably know this walk better than any! Pretty Yorkshire villages along the Ribble combine with a higher walk through dramatic limestone scenery.

Attermire Scar near Settle

Attermire Scar near Settle

Full Walk Details

18. High Moors over Masham

10.5 miles

A long walk that takes in some classical moorland walking and great views down Nidderdale. Return to the pretty market town of Masham.

The Shooting Lodge above the Nidd

The Shooting Lodge above the Nidd

Full Walk Details

17. Ribblehead on the Settle to Carlisle Railway

5 miles

Visit the spectacular viaduct at Ribblehead and continue on to Blea Head Tunnel following the lower slopes of Whernside, the highest mountain in Yorkshire.

Ribblehead

Ribblehead

Full Walk Details

16. Thruscross Reservoir

4.5 miles

The highest and most remote of the 4 Washburn reservoirs this walk makes for an enjoyable circuit experiencing the desolation which a reservoir can bring. Evening views across the water are spectacular.

Over Thruscross Reservoir

Over Thruscross Reservoir

Full Walk Details

15. Pen-y-Ghent from Horton

7 1/2 miles

A popular climb with a rocky spur adding to the ‘mountain’ feel. The walk is much enhanced by following the ridge over Plovers before dropping north on to the Pennine Bridleway.

Pen-y-Ghent on the climb

Pen-y-Ghent on the climb

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14. The Gallops of Middleham

5 miles

A walk with a difference with the main danger being trampled by the sleek racehorses of Middleham stables. The castle and cobbled streets make up this best of all Dales villages.

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

Full Walk Details

13. Fountains Abbey

3 miles

A short walk to the best preserved abbey in the Yorkshire Dales. The grounds of the abbey offer a pleasant stroll which can be increased in length by exploring Studley Deer Park.

Fountains Abbey cloisters

Fountains Abbey cloisters

Full Walk Details

12. Highlights of Wensleydale

11.5 miles

A walk through excellent limestone scenery between Aysgarth Falls and Askrigg, returning via the River Ure.

Dry stone walls near Askrigg

Dry stone walls near Askrigg

Full Walk Details

11. Limestone & the Norber Erratics

7 miles

The Western Dales is famous for its limestone scenery and glacial remains and this walk offers examples of pavements, scars and gritstone erratics.

Moughton Scar, Crummackdale

Moughton Scar, Crummackdale

Full Walk Details

10. Embsay Reservoir and Embsay Crag

3.5 miles

Anyone staying in or near Skipton should complete this short walk to the fine viewpoint of Embsay Crag, lording it above the popular reservoir of that name.

Embsay Crag

Embsay Crag

Full Walk Details

9. Middleham to Masham, One Way

11 miles

A walk between 2 fine Dales settlements alongside the River Ure. The use of the bus in this case improves the walk considerably, avoiding any repetition of scenery.

River Ure near Jervaulx Abbey

River Ure near Jervaulx Abbey

Full Walk Details

8. Gordale Scar & Malham Tarn

7.5 miles

Ever popular Malham provides the base for one of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales and including ‘stops’ at Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn, Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove.

Approaching Malham Cove

Approaching Malham Cove

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7. Ancient Castles of Mallerstang

7.5 miles

The source of the River Eden in Mallerstang provides the backdrop for an interesting walk amongst ruined castles and isolated farms. If you have not visited Mallerstang, do.

Lammerside Castle

Lammerside Castle

Full Walk Details

6. Buckden Pike

5.5 miles

One of the ‘Dales 30‘ mountains and my own personal favourite. The summit area is full of interest and the villages and pubs in Upper Wharfedale very good!

Summit of Buckden Pike

Summit of Buckden Pike

Full Walk Details

5. History in Gunnerside Gill

8 miles

To understand the industrial history of the Dales take this walk up Gunnerside Gill through the remains of the lead mines. returning via the high plateau above.

Near Surrender Bridge

Near Surrender Bridge

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4. Lonely Howgills:

10.5 miles

I always enjoying striding out on high ridges which provides easy walking on soft turf; there is nowhere better than taking to the Howgills above Sedbergh.

On the Howgills

On the Howgills

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3. Kisdon Hill & the River Swale:

7.5 miles

Upper Swaledale is a lovely place for a walk, picture perfect villages surround the steep sided (but not high) Kisdon Hill. The return is via the embryonic River Swale.

Keld

Keld

Full Walk Details

2. Ingleborough via Gaping Gill

9 miles

My favourite route up any mountain in the Dales. It is unusual in that for 1/2 the walk there is no sense of climbing the mountain, there is so much else to enjoy.

Ingleborough from Little Ingleborough

Ingleborough from Little Ingleborough

Full Walk Details

1. Hidden Valleys of Wharfedale:

11 miles

I love this walk and I have repeated it many times. Combining lovely Littondale with good tracks over the intervening grassy ridge to Langstrothdale offers the best of the Dales.

Above Litton

Above Litton

Full Walk Details

Enjoy the Best Walks in the Yorkshire Dales!

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“Best of” Blogs from the past

15 Tips on Planning a Walk. Thinking about a walk before going makes it so much more fun

20 Hidden Gems . Walks that are off the beaten track making them even more enjoyable

My Favourite 10 Mountains in Britain. A list and why I like them.

10 of my favourite Easy Fells.  Fells that are close to the road with great views and an enjoyable climb.

10 of my favourite short walks. Walks for a few hours that anyone can do.

10 Reasons why I enjoy walking . The main reasons that drive me out and about

My Favourite Short Walks pt 2. There are so many great shorter walks here is a 2nd selection.

10 of the best Riverside Walks in the Dales The Dales does rivers perfectly.

10 Unusual approaches to Lakes Classic Walks. Says it all

10 Favourite Dales Villages  Includes favourite walks from the villages

Hidden Delights . Walks and walking areas away from the crowds

10 Reasons to Walk in the Dales. Self explanatory!

Top 10 tips on Navigation. Make walking more enjoyable with a map & compass

Other Blogs

For a full list of all my blogs please click here