Best Lake District Walks - Easy to Advanced Hikes

10th May 2021

Many people refer to the United Kingdom as a ‘green and pleasant land’; no place in the UK embodies that phrase better than the Lake District National Park. 

One of the most visited places in the United Kingdom, the lake district is a beautiful national park situated in the North of England. An estimated 15.8 million people visit the Lake District National Park yearly – that’s only four million less than London!

Visitors will enjoy the incredible scenery, vast mountainous landscapes, and countless idyllic lakes that run through this national park. This article is our guide to the best lake district hikes.

Related reading:
8 Best Lake District Towns and Villages to Stay
15 Things to do in the Lake District – The Ultimate List
The Best Time to Visit The Lake District – Month by Month

Easy Lake District Walks 

Castle Crag Loop

Castle Crag Loop

Castle Crag Loop

If you’re looking to do a beautiful loop walk around the Lake District, you’ll love this one. The Castle Crag Loop is excellent for all levels of fitness. This relatively flat hike offers stunning views of the green landscapes surrounding the area.

There are some points where the walk gets a little bit steep, but it’s not extraordinary; you will pass these steep parts within a few minutes. Once you reach the top, you’ll be delighted at the views. As you head back down, you should follow the signs to Rosthwaite; it will take you along the river. The Castle Crag Loop is one of the best lake district walks for those seeking easy trails with great views. 

  • Location: Borrowdale
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Elevation: 285m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Beginning Point: National Trust car park, Rosthwaite
  • Highlight: Castle Crag Summit

Wansfell Pike

If you’re looking for a relatively easy hike with rewarding views, Wansfell Pike is a gem in Ambleside. With a total elevation of 482m, this walk is more challenging than Castle Crag Summit, but it’s still extremely doable for all fitness levels. 

Once you reach the summit at 482m, the peak will reward you with breathtaking views of Lake Windermere, making it one of the best lake district walks. You will be able to see the lake with zero obstructions. Out of all the great lake district day walks, this one is right up there!

  • Location: Ambleside
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Elevation: 482m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Highlights: The stunning views of Lake Windermere from the summit.

Catbells

One of the best lake district walks for beginners is the Catbells walk. Not only is it a relatively easy hike for all fitness levels, but it also offers incredible views of the green beauty that surrounds the national park. 

From the summit, you’ll be able to see Keswick, Borrowdale, and Derwent Water. The hike is relatively easy, but there are some more challenging parts at the ridge on the way up. Other than that, it’s the perfect walk, and one of the best lake district hikes.

  • Location: Keswick
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Elevation: 451m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Beginning Point: Hawse End car park
  • Highlights: The stunning views of the ridge as you look over Keswick.

Latrigg Walk

If you’re looking for some excellent lake district hiking perfect for beginners, be sure to check out Latrigg Walk; it’s one of the best lake district walks. Starting at the Gale Road car park, follow the signposts to the Latrigg Viewpoint.

Although there are some steep sections along the way, the hike remains very easy throughout. The path is always underfoot and will lead you directly to the summit. From here, you’ll get incredible views of Keswick and Derwentwater. 

  • Location: Keswick
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Elevation: 368m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Beginning Point: Moot Hall, Keswick
  • Highlights: The views of Keswick from the top are sensational.

Intermediate Lake District Walks

Howtown to Glenridding

Howtown to Glenridding

Howtown to Glenridding

One of the moderate level hikes in the Lake District is Howtown to Glenridding; it offers a brilliant day of lake district hiking. Alfred Wainwright – a famous fell-walker – described the walk as the most beautiful in the Lakeland, and it is one of the best lake district walks.

This walk will take you directly along the lake. Walkers will love the Kailpot Crag swimming opportunities, although you might not want to swim there outside of summer. You will encounter various scenic points along the way.

  • Location: Howtown
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Elevation: 378m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Beginning Point: Howtown Pier
  • Highlights: The spectacular views of Aira Force waterfall along the way.

Helvellyn

If you’re looking for a superb walk at moderate difficulty, you should check out the Helvellyn trail in Glenridding. Helvellyn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the mountain offers a view of much of the North West of England during a clear day. 

You can access Helvellyn from either Grasmere, Patterdale, or Glenridding. The mountain has five ridges, which means there are numerous viewpoints to check out. The combination of moderate difficulty and superb views makes it one the best lake district day walks.

  • Location: Howtown
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Elevation: 842m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Beginning Point: Glenridding
  • Highlights: The incredible views from the five different peaks at the top.

Ambleside to Troutbeck

If you’re looking for one of the best lake district walks, check out Ambleside to Troutbeck. You’ll begin this walk from Ambleside; from there, you’ll head towards the northeast part of Lake Windermere. and you’ll complete the hike in Troutbeck.

Along the way, the walk will bless you with incredible views of the Lake District. The return will take you back over Wansfell Pike; from there, you’ll see outstanding views of Ambleside. The hike is steep at times and does require a moderate level of fitness. 

  • Location: Ambleside
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Elevation: 457m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Beginning Point: Ambleside
  • Highlights: The views from Wansfell Pike as you return. The gorgeous scenery of the falls and the surrounding mountains.

The Rosthwaite, Watendlath, Grange in Borrowdale circular walk.

If you’re looking for a superb moderate loop, this one is perfect for you. Beginning in Rosthwaite, you’ll wander over a ridge to the Watendlath. The views of the surrounding Watendlath Tarn will blow you away, and it is the epitome of excellent lake district hiking.

Then you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the stunning Lodore Falls. It’s a great waterfall, but when it’s dry, there’s not much to see. You can then proceed past the River Derwent and back up to Rosthwaite to complete your route. There are fantastic small coffee and tea shops in Rosthwaite that offer much-needed snacks and refreshments after the long walk. If you’re looking for an excellent lake district day walk, this is one of them.

  • Location: Rosthwaite
  • Duration: 4.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Beginning Point: National Trust car park in Rosthwaite
  • Highlights: The impeccable views of the Wantandlath Tarn.

Advanced Lake District Walks

Scafell Pike Corridor Route

Scafell Pike Corridor Route

Scafell Pike Corridor Route

Let’s move on to the best lake district long distance walks. Scafell Pike is the tallest peak in Europe, but it’s certainly not an easy hike to the top. You will begin the walk at Seayjwaite, and continue to follow the River Derwent. 

During the hike, you will have to do some rock scrambling up the pike, but if you have experience with rock scrambling, it shouldn’t be an issue. When you make it to the peak, the views will mesmerise you—the highest peak in England, with remarkable views to match that – make this one of the best lake district walks

  • Location: Seathwaite
  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • Elevation: 632m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Beginning Point: Seawaite Parking 
  • Highlights: The entertaining rock scrambling section.

The Great Langdale Round

If you’re looking for a challenging hike with stunning views to match, the Great Landdale Round is perfect. The walk begins at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and continues to the Pike of Blisco. That is the first summit and already offers excellent views, making it one of the best lake district walks. 

You’ll continue to walk up to the Great Knot and Crinkle Crags. You’ll get great views from these points, but as you continue up to Bow Fell, the views continue to get better and better, especially as you reach the Pike of Stickle. When you descend, you’ll pass the Dungeon Ghyll Force waterfall before finishing the hike. 

  • Location: Great Langdale
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Elevation: 709m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Beginning Point: Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel
  • Highlights: The incredible views from the Pike of Stickle.

Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside

Possibly the most famous hike in the Lake District, the Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside is a great walk, but it’s not an easy one. You’ll begin the walk at the foot of Nab Scar next to Wordsworth’s old home. The walk is highly popular, and you’ll have a clear path throughout.   

As you climb, you’ll come to Heron Pike, which gives you amazing views of the valleys. Then you’ll complete some fantastic ridge walking as you head to Fairfield Summit. The summit offers spectacular views and makes the hike genuinely worthwhile. You’ll then hike back down into the heart of Ambleside. All in all, this is one of the best lake district hikes.

  • Location: Ambleside
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Elevation: 995m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Beginning Point: Nab Scar
  • Highlights: The views from Fairfield Summit.

Sharp Edge Scramble

We thought we’d finish with the most famous scramble in the Lake District. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you should take precautions before scrambling. A short hike doesn’t always mean an easy hike, as you’ll find out here. And let’s face it, we couldn’t write a guide on Lake District walks without mentioning an excellent old scramble.

One of the most dangerous spots on this hike is called the “bad spot.” There have been fatalities here, so please take it seriously. However, the views from the top of the sharp edge are arguably the most rewarding in the whole of the Lake District. It’s not one of the typical lake district long distance walks, but it is perfect lake district hiking.

  • Location: Blencathra
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Elevation: 623m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Beginning Point: Nab Scar
  • Highlights: The views from the top of the pike after a very challenging scramble – more than worth it.

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From easy to advanced hiking routes and trails, here's the ultimate list of the best Lake District walks for all fitness levels.

From easy to advanced hiking routes and trails, here's the ultimate list of the best Lake District walks for all fitness levels.

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