5 of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales with downloadable route maps

The Yorkshire Dales is my local national park and I am regularly looking for new places to explore and so thought I would put together some of my favourite walks in the Yorkshire Dales. After lockdown we regularly went walking in the Dales, enjoying the typical Yorkshire scenes of farms, towns and photogenic hills. Below you will find some of my favourite hikes, and when I find some more enjoyable Yorkshire Dales walks I will be sure to update this list! The hiking routes can be downloaded as a GPX file which you can then open in the OS maps app or similar. 

1. Buckden Pike circular walk

I’ve done this Buckden Pike walk several times now over the past couple of years. At 702 metres, Buckden Pike is one of the highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, offering wonderful views up and down the Wharfedale valley. The walk begins in the small village of Buckden and follows a long but mostly gradual incline up to the summit. There are numerous routes back down to the village, but my preferred route descends via Buckden Beck, a small stream leading into several waterfalls on the way down. When walking this route in Spring, we found that there had been enough water to offer numerous waterfalls and pools to swim in – but more recently, after a dry summer, this was not possible. Nonetheless, I like to call it the ‘Buckden Pike waterfalls walk’ and really enjoy this route down. It’s steep in parts and can be boggy with a small amount of scrambling, but is worth the challenge. I highly recommend this Buckden Pike walk for anyone visiting the area. 

Downloadable Walking Map

Download file for GPS

Essential Information: 

Start point & parking: You can start and finish the Buckden Pike walk from the car park in Buckden village. It is a large car park, although does get busy on weekends. It cost £5 for the day on our last visit. 

Getting there by bus: You can travel much of the Yorkshire Dales by bus. Many of these run from Skipton, a well-known town often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Dales’. You can find some information and view the bus timetable here

Distance: 4.45 miles

Time required: This will of course vary depending on your personal speed, the number of breaks required and, of course, the weather. For me, the walk took 4 hours including breaks. It’s definitely over a half day hike and I would recommend leaving early to allow enough time and to ensure parking.

Total Ascent: 482m

Total Descent: 482m

Camping nearby: Buckden Campsite is located right next to the start point of this hike. Alternatively, there are many other campsites along the valley including in the nearby villages of Kettlewell and Grassington. 

Pubs/cafes: Right next to the car park is The Buck Inn, a lovely pub in the centre of the small village, offering meals and drinks in a cosy atmosphere. 

2. Simon's Seat

One of my favourite walks not far from my home in Leeds is this walk to Simon’s Seat, also one of the first hikes I did post lockdown which gives me fond memories of walking in this area! There are many variations of this walk that you could do – starting from Bolton Abbey, from Burnsall, or in fact making the walk shorter if you don’t mind walking along the road towards the end of the route – but I enjoy beginning in the small village of Appletreewick (Aptrick, for short), a convenient start point with a couple of nice pubs for later. The walk features a steady ascent up to Simon’s Seat where there are wonderful views across the Yorkshire Dales. 

Downloadable Map:

Download file for GPS

Start point & parking: You can start and finish the walk to Simon’s Seat from the village of Appletreewick. In the past I have parked on streets in the village as there is no car park. Alternatively, there is a large car park in nearby Burnsall – Wharfe House Car Park – although this adds an extra 1.5 miles each way to the start point. 

Getting there by bus: You can travel much of the Yorkshire Dales by bus. Many of these run from Skipton, a well-known town often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Dales’. There is a limited bus service to Appletreewick which does not run every day. Alternatively you could adapt the route above to start at Bolton Abbey where there are more bus services but which may make the walk longer.  

Distance: 7.53 miles

Time required: This will of course vary depending on your personal speed, the number of breaks required and, of course, the weather. For me, this is a full day hike so allow plenty of time to enjoy the views also, especially when you reach the top at Simon’s Seat. 

Total Ascent: 514m

Total Descent: 513m

Camping nearby: Masons Campsite is located right at the start of this walk. Having walked through the campsite several times (although not stayed yet!) it looks like a lovely spot right next to the river and walking distance to the local pub. 

Pubs/cafes: We loved stopping by at The New Inn, a traditional country pub with a fire in winter and outdoor seating outside the front of the pub with a lovely view.

3. Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss Circular Walk

It might be one of the most popular walks in the Yorkshire Dales and at first I was reluctant to include this in my top 5 Yorkshire Dales walks because of how busy it can get. However, there is a good reason why this Malham Cove walk is so popular, walking past the limestone cliffs of Malham Cove before climbing uphill to walk across the limestone pavement (where a scene in Harry Potter was filmed!). The walk then takes you across to Gordale Scar, a large limestone ravine with impressive scenery and waterfalls. Towards the end of the walk, nearer to the village of Malham is Janet’s Foss, a small scenic waterfall and a popular swim spot! You can find a downloadable route map below but you can also see the Malham Cove walk map at the visitor centre and sometimes there are leaflets available. 

Malham Cove Walk Map:

Download file for GPS

Start point & parking: The best car park for the Malham Cove walk is the car park and visitor centre in the village of Malham. It is a large car park, although does get busy quickly. It cost £6 for the day on my last visit. As always I would advise arriving as early as possible to avoid the crowds both in the car park and on the walk. If you arrive early enough, there’s also free on-street parking in Malham.

Getting there by bus: You can travel much of the Yorkshire Dales by bus. Many of these run from Skipton, a well-known town often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Dales’. You can find some information and view the bus timetable for Malham here. 

Distance: 4.5 miles

Time required: This will of course vary depending on your personal speed, the number of breaks required and, of course, the weather. For me, the walk takes around 3 hours including breaks. It’s definitely over a half day hike and I would recommend leaving early to allow enough time and to ensure parking. There are plenty of places to stop along the way. 

Total Ascent: 224m

Total Descent: 224m

Camping nearby: Riverside Campsite is located very near to the start point of this walk. YHA Malham is also located in the village and has camping pod options as well as hostel rooms. 

Pubs/ cafes: There are two pubs in Malham; The Buck in and The Lister Arms. There is also The Old Barn Tearoom so plenty of choice for refreshments after the walk. 

4. Pen-Y-Ghent And Hull Pot Circular Walk

The smallest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Pen-y-Ghent is a great standalone walk which can be walked with many variations. This route takes you on a continuous uphill to the summit, with some light scrambling at the top. On the way down the route turns off to visit Hull Pot, a collapsed cavern which makes for some fab scenery along the descent back to the village of Horton in Ribblesdale. If you don’t want to complete the three peaks challenge in one go this is a great walk of its own! 

You can check out my full blog of this walk here where I write about the walk and terrain in a bit more detail. 

Downloadable Map:

Download file for GPS

Start point & parking: The starting point to climb Pen-y- ghent is the villa ge o Horton in Ribblesdale. I parked in teh Golden Lion Hotel car park where they charge a small fee to park all day. There are other parking spots also in the village and the walks begins and ends at the same spot. 

Getting there by bus: You can travel much of the Yorkshire Dales by bus. You can find some information and view the bus timetable here which runs from Settle. Horton in Ribblesdale also has a train station which is only a 15 minute walk from the starting point noted above. 

Distance: 6 miles

Time required: This will of course vary depending on your personal speed, the number of breaks required and, of course, the weather. For me, the walk took 3 hours including breaks. It’s definitely over a half day hike and I would recommend leaving early to allow enough time and to ensure parking.

Total Ascent: 229m

Total Descent: 229m

Camping nearby: Holme Farm campsite is located in the centre of the village and a popular spot for those starting the three peaks. If you have a car you could also look at campsites in the surrounding towns such as Settle. There are also glamping pods (Ribblesdale pods) in the village as well as some B&B options. 

Pubs/cafes: There are several food options available. In nearby Horton in Ribblesdale, there’s The Golden Lion Hotel, Blind Beck Tearooms and The Crown Hotel. Alternatively, you could take a short drive to the market town of Settle where there are plenty of places to eat and drink. 

5. Ingleton Waterfalls Trail Circular Walk

Another one of the best yorkshire dales walks is the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. A popular route with conservation measures in place, Ingleton falls is a 4.5 mile circular walk across wooden walkways, woodland, footpaths and fields with plenty of viewpoints along the way. The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail can get busy, so as always I suggest getting there early as it is well worth a visit – and much better when less busy. I haven’t included a map for this route as you can download the trail leaflet on their website or simply pick up a copy when you arrive. For further information on the trail you can check out the website here. It is also important to mention that to enter this trail you do have to pay £8 per person and £4 for children, which includes your parking. There are toilets part way through the walk and often an ice-cream van stationed along the way as well!

Start point & parking: The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail car park is located right next to the entrance where you can buy your ticket. 

Getting there by bus: You can travel much of the Yorkshire Dales by bus. You can find some information and view the bus information here. 

Distance: 4.5 miles

Time required: This will of course vary depending on your personal speed, the number of breaks required and, of course, the weather. For me, the walk took 3 hours including breaks. 

Camping nearby: There is a campsite located halfway around the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. You can find the details for the falls park here. There are also other campsites in the area. I recommend Philpin Farm campsite just a short drive away. 

Pubs/cafes: Naturally, the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is close to the village of Ingleton. Here you can find several pubs and cafes as well as independent gift shops. I recommend factoring in some time to explore the village towards the end of the walk.

Navigation and safety: When navigating I used the OS map app premium subscription which allows me to follow the route on my phone and it shows me my location so that I know that I am on the right path. I have personally always found this very reliable but carry a paper map with me as well just in case. There are many other hiking / map apps available but a paper map and compass is always a great option. On these walks, signposts alone will not be sufficient in being able to complete the walk (you receive a paper map on the ingleton waterfalls trail).

Please note this is my experience of the walk on this day. Always check the weather forecast including the wind speed to ensure it is safe. I always recommend wearing hiking shoes / boots and not trainers on all of my walks.

The weather can change very quickly when out in the hills. Always carry a waterproof, spare layers, plenty of food and water.

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