Scafell Pike, Cumbria UK


• 5-star hikes
• 5 to 11 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 2,920 to 4,110 feet
• Lake District National Park | United Kingdom
. Hikers on a verdant mountain trail under a partly cloudy sky. Expand Map

PURPLE 5★ Langdale Out & Back
11.4 mi loop, medium, gain 4,110 ft (1,250 m)
AllTrails · GPX File · Directions
RED Wasdale Out & Back (yet to review)
5.3 mi out-and-back, gain 2,920 ft (890 m)
AllTrails · Directions
ORANGE Seathwaite Loop (yet to review)
9.2 mi loop, medium, gain 3,370 ft (1,030 m)
AllTrails · Directions

Likely derived from Old Norse, the name of Scafell Pike's is open to some debate. Nobody however is contesting that this 3,209 foot (978 meter) mountain is not only the tallest peak in the Lake District, but also the highest point in England. An extremely popular peak located in the country's most popular hiking destination, we've illustrated the three main routes to the summit.

The three routes we show are regarded as the main non-technical approaches suitable for almost any prepared hiker, provided they are familiar with the length and elevation gain required for a moderate unshaded mountain walk. This is why we've listed this hike as medium difficulty. So far we have only hiked Scafell Pike via the Langdale route, but we include hikes from Wasdale Head and Seathwaite on our map to help you decide your preferred option. Other options are available, including climbing routes and a semi-technical hike from Hard Knott pass that is reported to be very difficult in wet conditions.

Approaching Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head is the shortest and by far the most popular route; hiked roughly ten times more frequently than either of the two other two routes we show here. Though still popular, the Seathwaite and Langdale routes offer more opportunities for tranquility on trails that are longer but much less steep as a result.

Be aware that through-roads in the Lake District are few and slow, so how you are travelling into the area could be the main deciding reason for picking one trailhead over another. For example, if you're residing in Ambleside then driving times to your closest trailheads are Langdale (20 mins), Seathwaite (50 mins) and Wasdale Head (1h30 mins) respectively. Comparisons and links in our table above should help you decide your best option.

A lone hiker on a tranquil valley trail, flanked by verdant hills beneath a soft, cloudy sky.
Setting out along Mickleden Valley under blue skies.

Langdale Route: The trail from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel gives your muscles a gentle two mile warm-up through the flat Mickleden Valley before you start your climb to the summit of Scafell Pike. Gravel and hardpack trail yields to carefully placed stone slabs that make the ascent to the top of the valley a relatively moderate experience. On the way you'll pass picturesque small waterfalls on mountain streams.

From the top of the valley the glacial Angle Tarn pond comes into view, beyond which distant picturesque valleys stretch out to the horizon. Your legs get a brief respite from the climb as the trail levels off at the mid-point, before resuming again at a comfortable incline. The trail continues to be easy going until around three-quarters of a mile before the Scafell Pike summit when you meet with one of two brief boulder fields. Keep an eye on your map as you trace a route across the boulders from cairn to cairn as there are no other discernable markers to signifify the continuing trail.

There's a brief semi-steep section in the saddle between the peaks of Broad Craggs and Scafell Pike that leads you on to the final boulder field and the top of the mountain. Despite beginning our hike among blue skies, our trip to Scafell ended in the clouds. We were still able to appreciate occasional partial views into the valleys below neighboring peaks, but there were still plenty more expansive sights to enjoy on the return journey along this out-and-back route.

Hikers on a verdant mountain trail under a partly cloudy sky.
Hiking out of Mickleden Valley on the Langdale route.

Two hikers on a rocky mountain trail, with one in the foreground climbing determinedly and another further back.
As steep as it gets: Approaching the summit.

The image features a rocky mountain summit with a cairn and three individuals: one standing atop the cairn and two ascending the slope. The mist adds an atmospheric element to the mountaineering scene
The rocky Scafell Pike summit within misty cloud cover.

A person and two dogs trekking on a rocky trail leading to a serene lake, encircled by rolling hills under a cloudy sky
A hiker walking dogs at Angle Tarn.

Tangents:
• Official: National Trust
• Public Map at AllTrails: Langdale route
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article
Bluesky Icon   Facebook Icon    Flipboard Icon   Instagram Icon   Mastadon Icon   RSS Feed Icon   Threads Icon
Subscribe for new trail reviews weekly

Trailspotting is non-commercial, ad-free and for the public good.
Content provided without warranty of accuracy. Copyright © 2005-2024 Stuart Green all rights reserved. Reproduction requires explicit consent.
About Trailspotting.