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Walkers on a path The Yorkshire Three Peaks

Walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks

The peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside are known collectively as the Yorkshire Three Peaks. They are often walked as a circular route taking in all three mountains in one day. The route is 24 miles (38.6km) long and involves 5000 ft (1600 metres) of vertical ascent.

This description and map show you the route of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. The route can also be found on our Three Peaks App.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you enjoy your walk safely and responsibly.

Help look after the Three Peaks

The Yorkshire Three Peaks walk is extremely popular – please help to keep the Three Peaks special for all to enjoy by following the Yorkshire Three Peaks Code of Conduct.

The Peaks are very fragile environments and the path network is under pressure from the thousands of visitors that come to enjoy it each year. It costs on average £35 per metre to maintain the paths. You can help by:

Making a donation to the Three Peaks
Buying a Three Peaks souvenir from our online shop

Organising a Yorkshire Three Peaks Event?

If you are thinking of organising a Yorkshire Three Peaks event take a look at our guidance on ‘Organising a Yorkshire Three Peaks Event’

Yorkshire Three Peaks FAQs

Walking the Three Peaks

Do I need permission to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

The Three Peaks walk is on public rights of way and open access land, so can be accessed and walked by anyone whenever they wish.

While you don’t need permission to walk – remember that the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a working landscape and the majority of land is privately owned. The Countryside Code provides guidance on how you can respect, protect and enjoy the countryside.

How do I go about walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

There are lots of different ways to walk. The experienced walker can just get out there with a map and compass, the less experienced may want to take part in an organised event or as part of a self-organised group.

What is the best time of year to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

The safest time to walk is in daylight hours and based on this it is best to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks from Springtime to late Summer/early Autumn to make the best of the daylight hours.

Where does the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk start?

The traditional start of the Yorkshire Three Peaks is Horton-in Ribblesdale. You can however start the walk at any point along the circular route and the most popular alternative start point is from Ribblehead. Where you choose will be determined by how you are getting here or where you are staying.

Should I do the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk clockwise or anti-clockwise?

You choose, you can do it either way!

Do I need to register to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

The Yorkshire Three Peaks walk is on public rights of way and open access land, so can be accessed and walked by anyone whenever they wish – you don’t need to register with anyone to do it.

If you are organising an event for a group walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks you can tell us about your event here – it’s completely FREE. Letting us know about your walk will help us to monitor numbers and plan maintenance of the Three Peaks for all in the future.

If you notify us of your group’s walk your group will receive:

Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk Guidelines – providing guidance on organising a safe and responsible walk.

A listing on our Yorkshire Three Peaks Events list. This will allow others know what’s going on when.

Discount on our exclusive Three Peaks merchandise, and OS Explorer map for the area.

Finding your way on the Yorkshire Three Peaks walks

Do I need a map for the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

YES! You should go prepared with an Ordnance Survey map and know how to use it. If you do not have these skills learn them before you go, go with someone else who does, or consider signing up for an organised event led by a qualified Mountain Leader.

Do not rely on mobile phones to guide you – signals fail and batteries die. There’s no substitute for being able to use a map and compass to navigate in the hills where sunshine can turn to fog in the blink of an eye.

What OS Map covers the Three Peaks area?

OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales (Southern & Western) covers the Three Peaks area. You can buy these from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority online shop. By shopping with us you help to support the work we do.

Is the Yorkshire Three Peaks route signposted?

The Yorkshire Three Peaks route is signposted and waymarked – but don’t rely on this (or the person in front of you!) to navigate the whole route. You should go prepared with an Ordnance Survey map and know how to use it.

OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales (Southern & Western) covers the Three Peaks area. You can buy these from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority online shop. By shopping with us you help to support the work we do.

Travel, eating and drinking and staying in the Yorkshire Three Peaks area

How do I get to the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

Most people come by car. Why not try to reduce your impact by coming by train or car-sharing with your friends?

The famous Settle-Carlisle Railway runs through the area and has stations at Settle, Horton-in Ribblesdale and Ribblehead which provide great access to the area.

Where can I park when I do the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk?

Car parking in the area is limited. Think about your options in advance:

There is a public car park at Horton in Ribblesdale, owned and managed by the YDNPA. Charges apply and all money collected goes towards helping us look after this special place. On Saturdays, throughout the spring and summer, this car park fills up very quickly. There is no coach parking.

Limited private parking is available in Horton in Ribblesdale at the field off B6265 on Station Road, The Golden Lion and Holme Farm campsite.

Limited parking is available at Ribblehead. Please park in the lay-bys and do not stray onto the surrounding common land, much of which is part of a scheduled ancient monument.

Above all please park considerately. Vehicles should not be parked in passing places, clearways, roadside verges, or obstruct private roads, tracks, gateways, or pavements.

Do I need to book accommodation when I do the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

The Three Peaks can be challenging, so it can be a good idea to book local accommodation for before and/or after your walk – it’s also a good way to support the local economy.

The area has a huge number of places to stay, either near the route or in one of the surrounding areas. There are plenty of different types of accommodation to suit all budgets, but weekends during spring and summer can book up well in advance so make your plans early. Look for places to stay here on our website.

Where can I eat and drink when I do the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

There are lots of excellent cafes, pubs and shops in the Three Peaks area – but don’t expect to find any shops at the top of any of the Yorkshire Three Peaks! Try to:

Make sure you stock up on food and drink before you set off on your walk.

Buy local – it’s a great way to support the local economy and communities.

Staying safe when you walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks

How do I prepare and plan for the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

You need to have the right kit, know where you are going (including the ability to read a map) and have an appropriate level of fitness to undertake a 24 mile (38.6km) walk that has 5000 ft (1600 metres) of vertical ascent.

Find out more about safety tips in our, ‘Take care while you’re here’ section.

You can also head over to the website: www.mountainsafety.co.uk for some excellent guidance on being prepared for the mountains.

What kit do I need to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

Walking in the Three Peaks area can be exhilarating, but also challenging. Even on a warm summers day there can be a huge temperature drop by the time you reach one of the summits of the Three Peaks so you need to come prepared.

The kit that you take will depend on your experience, whether you are walking alone or in a group, and the prevailing weather. Your personal kit should include:

• A comfortable rucksack (with dry bags to keep kit dry)
• Walking boots (make sure you’ve worn them in)
• Suitable walking clothes (hiking trousers, walking socks, thermal layers)
• Waterproof trousers & jacket
• Hat & gloves
• Spare warm clothes
• Food
• Water
• Map and Compass.
• Whistle
• First aid kit (inc blister plasters)/ any personal medication
• Sunscreen/ sunhat
• Torch and spare batteries
• Fully charged mobile phone
• Emergency shelter/bivi bag
• Walking poles (if you use them)

What should I do before I set out to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

Charge your phone battery!

Check the weather forecast and local conditions. Weather conditions in an upland area such as the Yorkshire Dales can change rapidly – turning a great experience into a very bad one. Mountains can be major undertakings and, in the winter months, night falls early.

Make sure the walk is suitable for all members of your group.

Leave your route plan including start and finish points, estimated time of return and contact details with an appropriate party.

What do I do in an emergency?

Dial 999, ask for the Police. Tell the Police operator you need Fell Rescue and give your details including an accurate location (grid reference if possible). Remain on the phone unless asked to do otherwise. The police will call out the nearest Fell Rescue Team. Remember that you cannot rely on there being mobile phone coverage.

If you are delayed but it isn’t an emergency, for example, you have descended into the wrong valley, inform your base as quickly as possible so Fell Rescue is not called out unnecessarily.

Respecting the Environment of the Yorkshire Three Peaks

Are there litter bins on the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

There are no litter bins on the route. You can help by:

Make sure you leave no trace. Pick up all your litter & maybe even pick some up along the way!

Take your litter home with you – come prepared with a bin liner.

Remember food waste is litter too – banana skins and orange peel are unsightly and take two years to decompose.

Where can I go to the toilet on the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

Toilet facilities on the Three Peaks route are limited, on crowded paths sanitation can become a problem as it has an impact on local water supplies and ecology (as well as being unpleasant for other visitors!):

Use proper toilets wherever available. The only public toilets are at Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

If you do need to go to the toilet while away from civilisation, ensure you are considerate of others.

If you do need to urinate, do so at least 30m from streams, watercourses, and property

If you need to defecate, do so as far away as possible from buildings, streams and farm animals. Bury faeces in a shallow hole and replace the turf. Carry away used toilet paper in a zip lock bag instead of leaving it to blow around in the wind!

What is the Countryside Code?

The Countryside Code provides guidance for how people can respect, protect and enjoy the countryside. In particular:

Be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside.

Take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit.

Always keep dogs under control.

Leave gates and property as you find them.

Use gates and stiles to cross field boundaries.

Care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance.

Do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking.

Check your route and local conditions.

Plan your adventure – know what to expect and what you can do.

What are the rules about bringing dogs to the Yorkshire Peaks?

If you are planning to walk with your dog please visit our, ‘Dogs and the Dales’ section for helpful tips when bringing your dog into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

How can I help prevent erosion of the Yorkshire Three Peaks?

The Yorkshire Three Peaks are very fragile environments. The paths on the Three Peaks route are maintained and improved so they are able to stand up to the pressure from the thousands of visitors that come to enjoy them each year.

Ensure you stay on the path rather than spreading out onto the path edges and causing erosion – even if this means walking in single file. Don’t take shortcuts.

How can I support the local community?

People living in the area have to live alongside many organised Three Peaks walks – many of whom see no direct benefit from the events. Try to make sure your visit has a positive impact on the local area by staying locally, eating locally, and using local services.

Noise from the large numbers of people walking the Three Peaks can have a significant impact on our small rural communities. Without considerate behaviour, they experience noise and disturbance every weekend. Make your walk a quiet one that respects residents.