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The Best Hiking Trails in Yorkshire

· Katie Wells · Culture

Explore the great outdoors on these awesome trails.

Three Peaks

If you love hiking, make sure you tick these incredible walks off your bucket list.

Yorkshire is home to some spectacular walks and these 15 epic hiking trails prove it. They’ll take you up huge peaks, along dramatic cliff tops and through wild moorland. The routes might be a challenge, but with unbelievable views to soak up, they’re seriously rewarding. There’s something to suit all abilities too, from the mammoth Pennine Way to the short and sweet Ingleton Waterfalls Trail – so what are you waiting for? Find your next adventure.

The Herriot Way

Aysgarth Falls

A 52-mile circular route, the Herriot Way will take you on a picturesque trip through Wensleydale and Swaledale. It’s best done over four days, starting at Aysgarth and following the River Ure into Askrigg. From there, you’ll head towards Hawes to start the tough-going ascent up the Great Shunner Fell. At the top, you can rest your legs at Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England, before you take the path to the quaint village of Keld. You have a choice here – will you trek across Gunnerside Moor or take the easy-going route along the River Swale to Reeth? You’ll then pass through heather moorland and the ruins of Castle Bolton before finishing at the beautiful Aysgarth Falls.

The Herriot Way starts at Aysgarth, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 3AD. Check out the route.

The Trans Pennine Trail

RSPB Dearne Valley Old Moor

Copyright Delaina Haslem licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Trans Pennine Trail is a 208-mile coast-to-coast route across the north of England. It starts in Southport and cuts through Lancashire, but a large section of the trail is right here in Yorkshire. After you travel through the North West, ascend the Pennines and ramble along Longdendale Valley to enter God’s Own Country at Penistone. From here, you’ll follow country lanes to the halfway point at RSPB Old Moor, a huge nature reserve where you can spot kingfishers, bitterns and sparrows. You’ll then wander along the New Junction Canal until you reach Selby, where you can take a detour up to the historic city of York or press on through the Yorkshire Wolds to Hornsea.

The Trans Pennine Trail starts at The Esplanade, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1RR. Check out the route.

Cleveland Way

North York Moors

The Cleveland Way is one of the best hikes in Yorkshire, promising spectacular views of the county’s rugged coastline and heather moors. It’s 110 miles with 10 mighty walks to look forward to. They start inland at Helmsley, run across the North York Moors, and take you down the coast to Filey. You’ll begin with a picturesque ramble through Rye Valley and up the Tabular Hills, spotting landmarks like the White Horse of Kilburn along the way. Across a total of 10 days, this hike will see you climb 1,489-feet to the summit of Round Hill to check out the ancient ruins, visit the Captain Cook Memorial and wander along dramatic coastline paths to the finish at Filey.

The Cleveland Way starts at Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5BL. Check out the route.

Wainstones Walk

Wainstones

The Wainstones Walk might be a relatively short 8-mile hike, but it’s a toughie with a series of challenging uphill sections. Set off from Clay Bank and head up the steep Cleveland Way path to Hasty Bank, an escarpment of the North York Moors that’s covered in wild heather. Keep climbing up the path to the Wainstones, magnificent crags where you can often see rock climbers scaling the sheer faces. You might need to use your hands to scramble to the top, but the wonderful views you’ll get over the Dales to Roseberry Topping are well worth it. The path twists and turns its way down, through Urra Moor and Billy’s Dyke earthwork, back to Clay Bank.

The Wainstones Walk starts at Clay Bank Car Park, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, TS9 7HX. Check out the route.

Dales Way

The Strid, Bolton Abbey

Looking for a gentler hiking trail in Yorkshire? Try the Dales Way, a long-distance but easy-going route that stretches 81-miles across the Dales and into the Lake District. The trail takes a week in total and starts at Ilkley, where you’ll set out following the River Wharfe upstream past the impressive ruins of Bolton Abbey, into Strid Wood and through the towns of Grassington, Starbotton, Buckden and Hubberholme. You’ll then climb 450-metres up Cam Fell, where there’s incredible views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, before crossing into Cumbria at Dentdale. Head along the River Lune and into the rolling countryside until you reach Lake Windermere – it’s a beautiful spot to end the walk.

The Dales Way starts at Bridge Lane, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9EU. Check out the route.

Leeds Country Way

Golden Acre Park

© Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Suzy Rodden

You can escape the city and head into nature on the Leeds Country Way. The 62-mile circular route will take you past some amazing local landmarks and you can take it on in four parts. It starts at Golden Acre Park, where you’ll follow tree-lined paths to Barwick-in-Elmet, passing Adel Dam, Eccup Whin and St Mary’s Church. Look up and you might spot Red Kites as you press on to Carlton along old railway tracks and the banks of the River Aire. Make your way to Cockersdale through the forest at Robin Hood, with views of Ardsley Reservoir and Howley Hall, before finishing the mighty hike back at Golden Acre Park.

The Leeds Country Way starts at Golden Acre Park, Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 8BQ. Check out the route.

North Yorkshire Coast Walk

Sandsend, Whitby

A 20-mile coastal path from Whitby to Scarborough, The North Yorkshire Coast Walk is one of the most picturesque walking trails in the county. It will start in the historic town of Whitby, where you’ll climb the famous 199 steps to the gothic remains of Whitby Abbey. You’ll then join the Cleveland Way, where you can take in dramatic cliff scenery for miles. In need of a rest? Stop overnight at one of the cosy B&B’s in Robin Hood’s Bay before taking on the rest of the cliff-top hike past Ravenscar and Hayburn Wyke. Look out for dinosaur footprints along this stretch of Jurassic coast, before finishing at Scarborough, a wonderful seaside resort.

The North Yorkshire Coast Walk starts at Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 1YN. Check out the route.

Lyke Wake Walk

Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherly, Northallerton

Lyke Wake is a famously challenging walk that’ll see you cross the North York Moors from west to east along a 40-mile route, reaching heights of 1489-foot at Bolton Head. You’ll face steep ascents, dense heather moorland and peat bog fields as you trek along the paths from Osmotherley to Ravenscar. But while it might be hard-going, the sights are glorious, with views of sweeping heather moorland, Cod Beck Reservoir, and the Wainstones. You can split the walk into manageable sections, but avid hikers often challenge themselves to complete it in under 24 hours, camping overnight on the wild moors.

The Lyke Wake Walk starts at Osmotherley, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3AF. Check out the route.

Pennine Way

Haworth Circular

The Pennine Way is a mammoth route that stretches 268-miles from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish border. It’ll take you three weeks to tackle the full distance or you can divide it into 20 fantastic walks, 8 of which cut right through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. As it’s the Pennines, you should expect a tough hike, but the sights make it seriously rewarding. You’ll explore the moorlands of the Bronte Country, follow the footpaths along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and climb up the mighty Malham Cove, all as you journey along the one of England’s most famous walking trails.

The Pennine Way starts at Edale, Derbyshire, S33 7ZP. Check out the route.

Yorkshire Wolds Way

Yorkshire Wolds

If you’re looking for epic hiking trails in Yorkshire, check out the Wolds Way. It’s a 75-mile national trail that will take you from the mighty Humber Estuary to the dramatic coastlines at Filey. It can be broken up into five sections and will see you set off from Hessle towards Welton Dale, past the iconic Humber Bridge. You’ll travel along woodland trails and country paths into the heart of the Wolds, where you can expect miles of lush green valleys and parkland. It’s then uphill to Wharram Percy, an eerie village that was abandoned when the Black Death struck in the 1400s. The final stretch towards Filey takes you through more valleys and woods before you descend to the seafront.

The Yorkshire Wolds Way starts at Hessle, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU13 0HB. Check out the route.

Hambleton Hobble

Cod Beck Reservoir

Hambleton Hobble is a 30-mile circular route through the western hills of the North York Moors. It starts from Osmotherley and connects the village’s pub to three others in Hawnby, Scawton and Silton, so there’s plenty of places to stop off for a pint. You’ll certainly need the refreshment as it’s a rollercoaster of a walk, with loads of ups and downs as you tackle hill after hill. You’ll get spectacular views over the moors en route and there are opportunities to stop off at landmarks like Soloman’s Temple. The walk’s best done at a leisurely pace over two days, but if you’re up for a challenge it can be completed in one.

The Hambleton Hobble starts at Osmotherley, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3AF. Check out the route.

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Ingleton Waterfall Trail

For a day of scenic Yorkshire hiking, head to the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. It’s a short 4.3-mile route, but there’s still plenty of steep ascents to challenge you. It follows the River Twiss upstream into Swilla Glen, with loads of natural beauty to admire like the cascading Pecca Falls. In fact, there are eight unique geological features for you to spot on this trail. You’ll be confronted with the mighty 14-metre Thornton Force as the woods open out into the moorland. It’s then a further climb up to the southern edge of Twistleton Scar End before you descend, passing Beezley Falls, Triple Spout, Rival Falls and Snow Falls.

The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail starts at the Broadwood Entrance, Ingleton, Carnforth, North Yorkshire, LA6 3ET. Check out the route.

Holme Valley Circular

Castle Hill, Huddersfield

Credit: Alan Burnett licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

Holmfirth is the starting point for many wonderful hiking trails in Yorkshire, but one of the best is the 24-mile Holme Valley Circular. It’s an easy ramble along the River Holme before the path takes you up past reservoirs and through beautiful Yorkshire woodland. You’ll visit the quaint village of Hepworth as well as the imposing Castle Hill Iron Age Fort, a scheduled ancient monument. Climb to the summit and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the Kirklees countryside, before you start the descent back to Berry Brow.

The Holme Valley Circular starts at Berry Brow, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD4 7LP. Check out the route.

Pennine Bridleway

Malham Tarn

Copyright: Dave Merrett licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

The Pennine Bridleway is the newest national trail in England and you can spend two weeks exploring all 205-miles on foot. From the Peak District, you’ll travel along the Pennines’ ancient packhorse routes and newly created bridleways through the Dales all the way to Cumbria. Expect challenging stretches as you hike through moorland and river valleys, limestone landscapes and undulating fells. The walk also includes the Settle Loop, which climbs out of the Yorkshire village through grassy fields and spectacular limestone outcrops. Take in views of Malham Tarn, the Three Peaks and Attermire Scar before crossing through Wendsleydale and finishing the walk in Cumbria.

The Pennine Bridleway starts at Middleton Top Visitors Centre, Rise End, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4LS. Check out the route.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks

Three Peaks

The Three Peaks is one of the most famous hiking trails in Yorkshire and for good reason. It’s a mammoth 25-mile trek and has climbs as high as 2,372 feet. Set off from Horton-in-Ribblesdale and wind your way up Pen-y-Ghent through farmland, before you scramble to the summit. You’ll pass natural landmarks like the Hull Pot and Horton Scar as you descend, then it’s onto Whernside, the tallest peak. Take in the breathtaking views of the Dales and the Ribblehead Viaduct from the top, before you head to Ingleborough to complete the colossal trail. Conquer it all in under 12 hours and you’ll get to join the exclusive Three Peaks Club.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks starts at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0HF. Check out the route.