Check out this list of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales - perfect for an afternoon out or a full day hike, plus some unexpected secrets.
If you love hiking across spectacular fells and looking out onto breathtaking landscapes, the Yorkshire Dales is your perfect place for a walking holiday. The Wharfedale Valley in North Yorkshire is a great destination with access to a variety of local walks. In this guide, we cover the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
Shaped by glaciers that once filled the Wharfedale Valley, Kilnsey Crag is a 170ft overhanging limestone cliff and a famous landmark in the Yorkshire Dales. This crag is a favourite among experienced rock climbers across the country, and it acts as an impressive backdrop for the annual Kilnsey Show!
Kilnsey Crag is rated as one of the 'big three' limestone crags in the Yorkshire Dales, along with Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. You'll find Kilsney between the villages of Grassington and Kettlewell.
Littondale is a tranquil and history-rich valley in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Home to picturesque hamlets such as Litton, Hawkswick and Arncliffe, as well as the mighty Pen-Y-Ghent, one of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, Littondale is a perfect destinaton for hiking in Yorkshire. This valley boasts scenic wildflower meadows, ancient woodlands and a variety of wildlife.
The Langstrothdale Valley is ideal for a relaxing walk by the River Wharfe. You'll find an enjoyable circular trail by crossing Yockenthwaite's ancient bridge, before following part of the Dales Way. The Langstrothdale Valley boasts beautiful and historical scenery, from an old limekiln to a Bronze Age stone circle.
A worthy rival to the more famous Gordale Scar, Trollers Gill is an enchanting and atmospheric limestone ravine situated at the head of Skyreholme Beck in Wharfedale. Appletreewick, a small village in Wharfedale, is a perfect place to start for a leisurely walk up Trollers Gill.
Starting in the quaint village of Hawes, this gentle 7 mile circular walk will take you a variety of enchanting waterfalls. This route passes the famous Wensleydale Creamery, as well as cascading waterfalls such as Gale Beck, Aysgill Force and Hawrdraw Force, with picturesque views of Widdale and Great Shunner Fells.
This pleasant walk through Herriot Country from Askrigg to Aysgarth passes through some lovely limestone scenery with spectacular views across the dale. This is a great route for discovering the best of Wensleydale, taking you through Aysgarth Falls and the village of Askrigg, under a limestone scar and along the peaceful River Ure on the valley floor.
Just an easy five minute walk from Grassington, you'll find Linton Falls, a popular waterfall and the largest on the River Wharfe. Here you can stand on the footbridge and watch the impressive falls crashing beneath your feet. With the picturesque market town of Grassington so close by, with a great selection of local shops and cafes, Linton Falls makes a perfect walk for all ages and abilities.
West Burton Falls is a waterfall on the Walden Beck, also known as Cauldron Falls because of its spectacular plunge pool, just a short walk from the idyllic village of West Burton. This is one of the more accessible waterfalls in the Dales, with a pleasant beckside path leading to a great viewing spot for the main waterfall.
Buckden Pike offers a great choice of routes to the summit, running from Buckden, Starbotton, Kettlewell and Walden, with spectacular waterfalls on the way. At the summit you'll be rewarded with stunning views of Great Whernside, Pendle Hill, Fountains Fell, Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough, Wild Boar Fell and Great Shunner Fell, and on a clear day, you can even spot the Lake District.
Buckden Pike stands at 2302ft high, and at the top you'll find a cross that was erected in memory of five Polish airmen who died when their Wellington Bomber crashed in a snow storm in 1942. At the base of the cross you'll see a bronze fox's head, because the lone survivor of the crash followed the footprints of a fox in the snow to the valley where he found help.
Simon's Seat at the summit of Barden Fell in Wharfedale is a very popular walking route, partially due to its close proximity to Bolton Abbey, one of the main tourist destinations in the Yorkshire Dales. Here you'll find scenic waterfalls and heather moors. The view from Simon's Seat is incredible, featuring the fells of upper Wharfedale, the limestone gorge of Trollers Gill and much more.
Leaving the River Wharfe at Cavendish Bridge, just upstream from Bolton Abbey, will take you on an enjoyable 4 mile walk to to the summit of Simon's Seat.
Looming over the countryside in the west of the Dales is Pen-y-Ghent, the smallest of the iconic Yorkshire Three Peaks and a very popular choice for hikers of all abilities.
From Littondale, you can follow the River Skirfare over Foxup Moor, then south via Plover Hill to the Pen-y-ghent summit. From here you'll enjoy an incredible panoramic view for miles. Head down the other side to reach Dale Head and make your way back to Littondale following the Dawson Close track.
The riverside walk from Burnsall to Grassington leads you through the stunning Upper Wharfedale, partially following the Dales Way. This route is dotted with pools and falls, making it an idyllic location for a spot of wild swimming to refresh yourself if you're completing this hike on a summer day. Nearby Loup Scar features a perfect plunge pool and shallows for paddling.
From the market town of Skipton in North Yorkshire, this woodland route follows the canal down to Skipton Castle Woods, once used to provide supplies to the castle. The route takes approximately 1 hour to complete and follows wide stone tracks, tarmac paths and unmade woodland paths. Dogs are welcome in Skipton Castle Woods, and you'll find toilets, shops and cafes in the centre of Skipton, where the walk begins.
This route is home to some of the most idyllic open countryside on England’s canal network, following along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. You'll start the walk at Gargrave, boasts quaint cottages, tearooms and pubs popular with hikers and cyclists.
Bridge 170 leads the famous Pennine Way across the canal at Higherland Lock in Gargrave. Follow the wide grassy towpath through idyllic Yorkshire scenery and you'll arrive in the popular market town of Skipton.
You don't just have to visit in the height of summer to make the most of Wharfedale, you can visit the Yorkshire Dales any time of year. Many local attractions and amenities remain open through the winter months, while the countless spectacular walking routes are enjoyable all year round, with breathtaking landscapes boasting incredible views in all seasons.
When you're planning a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales it can be difficult to know where to start, but with this guide, you'll have a clear idea of the best hikes and trails in Wharfedale. Choose from our list of great North Yorkshire walking routes and let us know which ones are your favourite!
If you're looking for somewhere to stay in the heart of Wharfedale, find out about our luxury lodges and woodland glamping pods at Long Ashes Park.