The Yorkshire Dales is one of our favourite places in the world. Its landscape is so unique and it offers everything from mountain walks, woodland, waterfalls, and more along with idyllic villages. We’ve put together a list of the best circular walks in the Yorkshire Dales just for you.
Whether it’s taking in the views up on Malham Cove, or pottering along next to Aysgarth Falls, there is something for everyone heading to the Yorkshire Dales.
1. Malham Circular
The 4-mile walk is probably the one we’ve done the most and will do the most in the Dales as it always provides such epic and varied views including two of the most fantastic waterfalls.
Malham Cove is a unique limestone formation that was created in. the last ice age thousands of years ago and sits overlooking the village of Malham.
There is something mythical about Janet’s Foss too, which is a popular wild swimming spot although we’ve onyl managed. toget up to our knees when we’ve tried it.
2. Ingleton Waterfall Trail
If you like waterfalls then this is a walk for you. The Yorkshire Dales Walk is home to waterfalls of all shapes and sizes which is why thousands of people travel there every year.
There are five main waterfalls along the walk and eight water spots in total. The trail follows two rivers the Twiss and Doe from the Ingleton starting point.
You also be treated to views of all three peaks along the four-mile route – and budding photographers will be keen to get some stunning shots of Thornton Force, which is part of the first half of the trail.
3. Muker To Crackpot Circular
A great summer walk due to its Wildflowers in bloom, Muker to Crackpot Hall is perfect for those that love a meadow carpeted with a flurry of colour.
The meadows have such a nostalgic feel for us. The golden-yellow colours have a feel of summer that just hits us every time we visit.
Taking a walk North of the village takes you to the famous Crackpot Hall, which is a former farmhouse and lead mine that sits in its surroundings seamlessly creating a stunning picture postcard snapshot of the Yorkshire Dales.
4. Aysgarth Falls
Found along the River Ure, near Leyburn, the trio of small waterfalls is one of the most popular Yorkshire Dales circular walks – ad with good reason.
The waterfall walk makes for a great summer walk with plenty of wildlife and nature to be enjoyed. The whole area is flourishing at this time of year. Although, saying that – it is a pretty great spot to be in autumn when the air is crisp and the ground is littered with golden leaves.
You can easily access the Yorkshire Dales waterfall from the village of Aysgarth.
5. Hull Pot Walk
A collapsed cavern, Hull Pot is a 60ft deep hole, which has a stunning waterfall that cascades down into it. It’s a beautiful place to visit but make sure you enjoy it at a distance as it’s a hole you don’t want to fall down.
The walk to the natural hole and waterfall on the slopes of Pen y ghent is definitely worthy of your bucket list. The walk stars at the village of Horton in Ribblesdale and is another popular place to visit.
6. Bolton Abbey
Located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Abbey is home to the 2nd-century Augustinian monastery, which has the River Wharfe meandering past it.
It’s a vast area to explore and has something for all the family. Its stepping stones are a right of passage to all that visit – so don’t worry if you topple in! You’re not the first.
Head up into the canopy of trees or follow the lower route following the river. Either way, you can head to the lovely cafe for a cup of tea and some cake afterwards.
Meandering through beautiful Hawes – a small rural town in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales – Gayle Beck flows right between the town’s homes, creating a peaceful waterfall as it carries itself on a journey into the countryside from the River Ure.
The beck, which flows right through Hawes, breaks off of the River Ure just outside of the market town, before travelling towards the South of the Yorkshire Dales where it creates the beautiful Aysgill Force and is one of the best Yorkshire Dales Circular Walks in the area.
But it’s not just the beck that makes this town so special. In fact, Hawes is the home of the famous Wensleydale Cheese – which is still produced there to this day. You can even visit their HQ if you’d like, where you can, of course, eat your body weight in delicious cheeses as the team talks you through their history and how it’s all made.
Read More: 8 Of The Most Stunning Waterfalls In The Yorkshire Dales
8. Ribblehead Viaduct
For an unforgettable experience with stunning views, make sure you head to Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales. It takes you up the highest of the three peaks, Whernside Mountain.
The Ribblehead Viaduct carries the Settle-Carlisle railway across the Batty Moss in North Yorkshire and carried the first passenger across in September 1874.
The circular walk from the Ribblehead Viaduct is around 8.4 miles and offers some awe-inspiring views along with some rugged terrain and steep climbs – but is well worth the effort. Especially when you finish at a pub.
Reeth is in the Yorkshire Dales, just a stone’s throw from Richmond, and is one of the most tranquil and serene places to visit if you’re looking for a break.
Reeth is a great starting point for over 12 hiking trails and is also in range of some exciting views such as Buttertubs pass, Britain’s highest pub the Tan Hall Inn and the famous Ravensear Farm, which is home to the popular show Our Yorkshire Farm
10. Grassington to Hebden
This Grassington to Hebden walk in the Yorkshire Dales is a great way to explore the Dales and we couldn’t recommend this route any more.
One of Grassingtons many Yorkshire Dales circular walks starts at Grassington National Trust centre the walk is around 4 miles long, which should take around a minimum of 1.5 hours to complete. Along the route, you’ll come across some fantastic sights including the old stone walls synonymous with the Yorkshire Dales, and rolling views.
You’ll head along Low Lane then onto High Lane following the old pack horse path between villages, which is around 1.5 miles to Hebden along this route. Head through woods then across fields to join a walled lane towards the village of Hebden. The walk offers fantastic views over lower Wharfedale looking towards Simon’s Seat and Barden.
When I think about the places my imagination took me when reading fairytale storybooks as a child, the scenes consisted of ample greenery, stunning arched bridges, hills for miles and, of course, magical castles complete with towers and flags. And while Burnsall doesn’t quite have a grand palace made of stone, it does have everything else.
An original Anglo-Viking settlement, today, Burnsall remains home to rare Viking and Anglo-Saxon carved stones, which can still be seen to this day at the quaint parish church that stands tall above the waterside village.
In the summer months, you’ll find guests soaking up the scenery by the riverside, walkers taking an idyllic rest from the Dales Way or diners enjoying the views from afar at the nearby Devonshire Fell Hotel – but whatever they’re doing, best believe it’s blooming relaxing.
12. Stainforth and Catrigg
Another little hidden gem in the Yorkshire Dales, located deep within a wooded gorge is Catrigg Force. Once visited by composer Edward Elgar and friends who praised the 20ft high waterfall.
The walk takes you from the village of Stainforth through the woods with a beautiful beck to the wonderful waterfall where you can enjoy a dip before continuing on into the hills.
Settle is home to the heritage Settle to Carlise railway journey which takes in the beautiful landscape in the surrounding area of the town of Settle. As do the circular walks in the area,
From Settle, you can follow the Malham path over the Attermire Scar which heads past Victoria Cave before returning back to the town where you can enjoy. a few bevvies in the local pub.
14. Buckden To Cray Waterfalls
Buckden Pike’s summit affords beautiful views of North Yorkshire, but it does not draw the crowds like the three peaks and other prominent spots do.
The 5-mile walk takes you from Buckden up to Cray Gill Falls via Hubbleholme. There are some beautiful waterfalls to experience along this lesser-known Dales walk, which you will absolutely love. Cray Gill Falls and Crook Gill are the most impressive waterfalls along the walk which has a couple of pubs along the way – even better!
15. Cotter Force
One of the more popular waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, Cotter Force is found along with Cotterdale Beck just down from where it flows into, the River Ure, in upper Wensleydale.
It is accessible from Holme Heads Bridge where there is a large layby. It’s a perfect spot for beginners to the world of wild swimming and has great access, so all can enjoy.
16. West Burton
Situated in Lower Wensleydale (chheese Gromit), West Burton is a beautiful village made famous by J.M.W Turner’s painting which hangs in the Tate Modern art gallery. He painted the spectacular Burton Fall back in 1816 while he was doing his tour of Yorkshire.
West Burton has all the traditional charms of a Yorkshire village. You can visit the local pub, and a little village shop, and take in the sizeable village green in the centre after one of Yorkshire Dales circular walks in the area. There is plenty of countryside to explore as well, so make sure you take your walking boots.
Read More: 9 Of The Best And Most Scenic River Walks In Yorkshire