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Scafell Pike

  • Difficulty
  • 14.8km
  • 896m
  • 6-8h
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This wonderful walk to the highest peak in England is much prettier and more interesting than the quicker route from Wasdale Head. A lot of variety for a big day in the Lakes!

Getting there

Get yourself to Seathwaite, which is just over a mile south of Seatoller. You can park on the verge along the road or in the car park at the farm.


Total Gain: 896m


Type of Hike Loop
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage None
Toilets None
Family Friendly No
Backcountry Campgrounds At car park at Farm
When to Do When Dry, no fog

 Detailed Description

Walk south between the buildings on the farm and then continue on an obvious track up the valley bottom. At 0.9 miles (1.45 km) walk over a beautiful arched stone bridge. Immediately turn left and continue up the valley, initially along a stonewall on well-defined path.

At 1.55 miles (2.5 km) from the start cross over a stream on a small wooden bridge and continue up the valley, going to the right of small knoll keeping the river on your right the entire way.

Come to a small high flat area at 2.4 miles (3.85 km) from start. From here the path turns to the left and goes down to cross a stream (Ruddy Gill) and then back up and you continue your ascent. 400 yards later the path splits, take the right-hand path up to Esk Hause (mountain pass).

From the Esk Hause Pass trails go off in all directions. Turn right and head uphill, trending to the left up to Ill Crag. Head into a boulder field at 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from the start. Follow the cairns to get through this boulder field, as the path is lost quickly. Take care, as it’s easy to misstep and twist your ankle or knee. As you come out of the boulder field head over to the right and you can now see Scafell Pike.

Descend to a saddle and from the saddle you have the final push up to Scafell Pike, which you reach 450 yards after the saddle. There is a great viewing platform here with 365 degrees views, making a fine place for a break.

The descent down off Scafell Pike is reached by continuing past the viewing platform on your right and heading off in the NW direction past a small stone marker, and following along a visible path downhill. Your path continues downhill, ignoring other routes branching off to the left.

At 5.15 miles (8.25 km) from the start pass a beautiful gorge and stay right as a faint path leads off left. 0.6 miles (1 km) later there is a slight scramble up the rocks and then head back downhill.

At 6.45 miles (10.4 km), after a slight uphill, you come to a junction at the top of a hill. From here head left, and 300 yards later come to another junction with a trail by an emergency stretcher box. Turn right and head down to Styhead Tarn, a beautiful place for a break.

Head down on the path beside Styhead Gill and when it branches take the right hand route. At 7.2 miles (11.6 km) from the start, cross a bridge to the other side of Styhead Gill, which you will recognize from your ascent.   Continue down the valley on the right side of the stream. Partway down you’ll go past a rusted wire fence on your left. Soon you’ll come back to the beautiful arched bridge and turn left, heading back to the farm and your car.

Insider Hints

  • Get to Seatoller from Keswick by bus and walk the 1.3 miles to Seathwaite
  • There is economical camping at the farm at Seathwaite and it’s a very pleasant location to spend a night or two!