Scenic walking routes in Yorkshire Dales National Park to try

The Yorkshire Dales National Park comprises a stunning 841 square miles of picturesque scenery, with numerous walks for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

Looking down into Gordale Scar. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Looking down into Gordale Scar. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

There are short walks for beginners and young families that require even paths for pushchairs, hikes that provide ample opportunity to soak in the sublime beauty of the Dales, and more complex routes for experienced hikers.

We've compiled a list of some of our favourite routes - whether you want to walk one mile or 100.

Best walks for beginners

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    All short in length and relatively accessible, these walks are best suited for beginners who want to experience the Yorkshire Dales without worrying about long, complicated routes and getting tired.

    Malham Cove

    The route begins at the National Park Centre and ventures through the village to a charming woodland trail that takes walkers alongside a small stream. Then its on towards the footpath that leads to the cove.

    Malham Cove is an impressive curved formation of limestone that was formed in the last Ice Age over 12,000 years ago by a waterfall that carried water from glaciers.


    A 750 m route that takes walkers to the remains of a smelt mill - an important historical landmark.

    The Yorkshire Dales has 87 known lead smelt mill sites, this route leads to a lead mining site on Cogden Moor, near Grinton, North Yorkshire.

    The paths are mostly aggregate and grass and are accessible for most people.

    Aysgarth Falls

    Walkers can take a 1.5 mile footpath through Freeholders’ Wood to see the stunning sights of Middle Falls.

    Aysgarth Falls comprises a triple flight of spectacular waterfalls and is a popular spot for walkers due to the relatively easy access and picturesque setting of surrounding woodland.

    The route also gives you the option of taking 70 steps up to see the Lower Falls.

    Best walks for young families

    These routes are all under two miles and are suitable for most families. They are all accessible and can be walked with pushchairs and young children.


    The walk starts in Burnsall, North Yorkshire and follows the River Wharfe for 700m, through a picturesque portion of the Dales Way.

    People taking this route can enjoy looking out for the many bird species that populate the river including pied and grey wagtail, dipper, common sandpiper, and oystercatcher.

    The route is well surfaced and level, allowing families with small children to enjoy the scenic views of the Yorkshire Dales.

    Gordale Scar

    An stunning route that allows families to explore the Gordale Scar soaring cliffs, located near Malham.

    Following a 600 m footpath from Gordale Bridge to Gordale Scar, the route is also a perfect place for keen photographers to capture the cliffs.

    The route is level and well surfaced, the path is one metre wide allowing enough room for most pushchairs.


    Families can enjoy the 575m route alongside the River Lune and Killington New Bridge Local Nature Reserve.

    The River Lune is populated by salmon and trout, and walkers may spot otters and badgers in the nearby woodland.

    Constructed of compacted aggregate, the route is accessible for most and is 1.2 metres in width.

    Best walks with a view

    These hikes are suited to a variety of abilities and offer stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales and some impressive landmarks along the way.

    Ilkley Moor and ‘The 12 Apostles’

    At just under a mile, walking from West View Park, Ilkley, to White Wells and towards Ilkley Crag, the scenic route with views of the moors will take you to The 12 Apostles.

    The standing circle of 12 stones dating back to the Bronze Age is a must see for anyone visiting the Yorkshire Dales. The stones are surrounded by beautiful heather blooming in late summer and early autumn.

    Bolton Abbey

    An accessible route which allows walkers to view the natural beauty that surrounds Bolton Abbey and take a walk alongside the River Wharfe.

    At the heart of the Bolton Abbey Estate lies the Priory Church and Ruins of an Augustinian Priory - a beautiful area for walkers to enjoy and appreciate the River Wharfe that runs alongside the estate.

    Most of the route is flat and easily accessible, however some of it is unsurfaced which is something to consider if taking wheelchairs or pushchairs.

    Ingleton Waterfalls

    Ingleton waterfalls is a series of spectacular waterfalls within the ancient woodlands of the Yorkshire Dales - the walk begins and ends in the village of Ingleton, North Yorkshire.

    The 4.5 mile route is best taken in walking boots and is not accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs due to the many steps the walk includes.

    Best walks for experienced hikers

    These routes are best tackled with walking boots and are recommended for more experienced walkers.

    Lady Anne’s Way

    A challenging route of 100 miles, the walk begins in Skipton, a town in the Yorkshire Dales, and finishes in Penrith, in Cumbria’s Eden Valley.

    The route takes walkers through the ruins of Lady Anne’s castles and is inspired by her tendency to travel between her various castles and estates in the 17th century.

    The walk is typically completed in six or nine days, depending on the exact route, or walkers can choose to take only parts of the route.

    Dales High Way

    A high level 90 mile route through the Yorkshire Dales, the Dales High Way begins at Victoria Square, Saltaire.

    The walk includes the summits of Ingleborough, Whernside, the Howgills, Ilkley Moor, and Sharp Haw, meaning walkers can enjoy many stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales.

    The route splits into six sections, with many walkers choosing to tackle one section a day, and finishes in Appleby-in-Westmorland.

    Ribble Way

    Ribble Way is a 70 mile route beginning at the mouth of the River Ribble in Longton and leads walkers to the source at Gayle Moor.

    The walk follows the River Ribble and walkers can enjoy stunning views of the beautiful River Valley.

    The impressive route passes through the Yorkshire Dales and finishes at Gavel Moor, near Ribblehead Viaduct.