10 Yorkshire Dales Walks You Simply Have to Do

· Joseph Sheerin · Yorkshire

It’s time to explore the Yorkshire Dales.

Black Gill Lane, between Settle and Kirkby Malham, North Yorkshire

The Dales are one of the reasons why Yorkshire is known as God’s Own County, so check out these 10 walks…

Rolling green hills, breathtaking vistas and jaw-dropping scenery – the Yorkshire Dales are a walking paradise. You have 2,179 square kilometres to explore and the best way to do it is by foot, so get your walking boots on and prepare to see the Yorkshire Dales in all its glory. From waterside walks along the River Wharfe to leisurely valley rambles, picturesque waterfall wanders to challenging mountain treks, you can – and should – do them all.

Ilkley Moor Circular

Ilkley Moor

There’s no doubt about it – Ilkley Moor is home to one of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales. At its southern tip, you can go on a 6.3-mile circular route that starts in the town centre at West View Park. From here, you’ll join the Dales Way Link to reach the top of the moor, where you can soak up the glorious views across the rolling moorlands, before you continue on to a host of must-see landmarks. From the Twelve Apostles to The Tarn, Ilkley Crags and the Cow and Calf, this is the best way to see all the wonders of Ilkley Moor.

The walk starts at West View Park, 3 College Drive, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9TY. Check out the route.

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Pecca Falls at Ingleton

Straddling the border between Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is just 4.3-miles long, but it’s rewarding – it will take you to six falls, a gorge and a glen. Start at Swilla Glen where you’ll follow the River Twiss down through an ancient woodland of ash, oak and birch. From there, you can enjoy Pecca Falls and Hollybush Spout before you stop at the mid-route refreshment cabin. Get a picnic and take it to the beautiful Thornton Force before you make your way to Beezley Falls, Rival Falls and Baxenghyll Gorge.

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

Ribblehead Viaduct Circular

Ribblehead Viaduct

Up for a challenge? This 9-mile circular route around Whernside is one of the best walks you can do in the Yorkshire Dales. It will take you up the highest of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. Start at Dent Station, pass the village of Cowgill and soak up the incredible views across Dentdale along the Dales Way. Next, you’ll join Hagg Worm Haw up to the top of Whernside, where you’ll want to pause to take it all in. The best is yet to come, because you still have the breathtaking Ribblehead Viaduct to visit before you finish at The Station Inn six hours later.

The walk starts at Dent Station, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5RF. Check out the route.

Catrigg Force Circular

Catrigg Force, Yorkshire Dales

If it’s a short walk through the Yorkshire Dales you’re looking for, head to the Catrigg Force Circular at Stainforth. It’s only 2.4-miles long, but it does go over some rough and rocky terrain. You’ll start at the Craven Heifer pub before you hop over the ancient stepping stones across Stainforth Beck. They’ll take you to a steep path that leads up to Catrigg Force, a beautiful waterfall hidden in a wooded gorge with a 20-foot drop into a step pool. Admire this enchanting spot, then walk back along Winskill Stones to enjoy views across Pen-y-ghent.

The walk starts at the Craven Heifer, Main Road, Stainforth, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PB. Check out the route.

Hubberholme Circular

Langstrothdale and Hubberholme, Wharfedale, Birk's Fell

You can explore 9.6 miles of open moorland and valley trails hiking through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales on the Hubberholme Circular. Start at Birk’s Fell at the top of the moors to enjoy the 360-degree views over Birk’s Tarn, Moss Top, Sugar Load and the Horse Head. On a clear day from the trig point, you can admire Plover Hill and Pen-y-ghent in the distance. The exceptionally pretty valley of Longstrothdale will come into view as you make your way back into Hubberholme on the meandering paths that line the River Wharfe.

The walk starts at The George Inn, Dubb’s Lane, Hubberholme, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 5JE. Check out the route.

The Malham Circular

Malham Tarn

This 7.5-mile trek around Malham is one of the most popular walking routes in the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll pass through Wedber Wood as you walk along Gordale Beck on your way to the picturesque Janet’s Foss waterfall. Next up, the imposing sight of Gordale Scar will appear before you as you take the path over to Malham Tarn and on to the majestic Malham Cove. Walk up to the top of the limestone pavement, where you can sit and absorb the breathtaking views around you, before you enjoy a gentle stroll back to the village.

The walk starts at Malham, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 4AW. Check out the route.

The Howgill Fells Walk

The Howgill Fells

It kicks off just over the border in Cumbria, but The Howgill Fells are still a part of the Yorkshire Dales and it’s the perfect place to go hiking. It’s a testing 7.5-mile route, starting at Low Haygarth, where you’ll take on a steep ascent to get to the fells. Almost out of nowhere, Cautley Spout will appear from the sheer cliff face in front of you – Red Gill Beck flows down 650 feet from The Calf plateau to form England’s highest above-ground waterfall. You’ll head to the top to enjoy the vista across Bowerdale, before you make your way back to the start.

The walk starts at Low Haygarth, Sedbergh, Yorkshire Dales National Park, LA10 5NE. Check out the route.

The Valley of Desolation Walk

Simon's Seat, Wharfedale

Don’t let the name put you off, The Valley of Desolation is an incredible walk. You’ll start at the historic ruins of Bolton Abbey before you take on a calf-stretching climb of 350 metres and head through the valley on your way to Posforth Gill Waterfall and Barden Fell. From here, go on to Simon’s Seat, where you can enjoy views in every direction and visit the unusual rock formations at the top. Then it’s downhill to Parceval Hall, Troller’s Gill and the village of Appletreewick, before the River Wharfe leads you home through Strid Wood.

The walk starts at Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AL. Check out the route.

Beamsley Beacon Circular

Beamsley Beacon

The picturesque village of Beamsley is at the very southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and it’s here that you’ll start this easygoing 7-mile walk. You can enjoy the perfect mix of nature and history as you leave the village and make your way up to the Beacon. Appreciate the beautiful views across Wharfedale, then cross the water at Kex Beck and enjoy a gentle walk through Beamsley Moor. Before you get back to the start, you’ll pass Beamsley Hospital, a unique circular building that dates back to 1593.

The walk starts at Langbar Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0EX. Check out the route.

The Three Peaks Walk

Halton Gill, Pen-y-ghent

The ultimate walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is the iconic Three Peaks. It’s a staggering 25-mile trek that scales three of the highest peaks in Yorkshire. You’ll start at Pen-y-ghent, which reaches a height of 2,277 feet, before you weave your way across the Dales, past landmarks like Hull Pot and Ling Gill to reach Ingleborough. It’s the second-highest of the three at 2,372 feet, before you tackle the highest when you head over to Whernside, which stands at 2,415 feet. Do it in less than 12 hours to join the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club.

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