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Hiking & Trail Running

Walking in the Lake District | 8 Of The Best Hikes

Where can I find some of the best hikes in the Lake District?

Sunrise over Lake Windermere in the Lake District, UK. Photo: iStock

Hiking in the Lake District is something everyone should do in their lifetime. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places for hikers, ramblers and climbing enthusiasts in the UK and Europe.

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You probably already know there are hundreds of must-do hikes in the Lake District – from steep fells and towering ridges to mellow strolls along the valley floors. We’ve selected a few of our favourite highlights – it’s by no means a definitive list.

So grab your hiking boots, head to the Lakes and set off on one of these trails. You won’t regret it.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, found in the Lake District. Photo: iStock

SCAFELL PIKE

Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England at 3,209ft, is an obvious one to include on this list. It’s not a particularly difficult hike but it is long – expect to be on the mountain for around six hours in total. Make sure you go in good weather and you’ll be rewarded at the top with a panoramic view across Wasdale valley. It is a seven mile round trip from the Wasdale car park.

Find a route guide for Scafell Pike here

HELVELLYN

Next the second highest mountain in the Lake District. Helvellyn is a must-do hike if you find yourself in Cumbria. Take the Patterdale route for a relatively painless hike up. You’ll see the famous ridges on the way – Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. It’s 13 miles round trip and will take approximately nine hours, so make sure you come prepared. From the summit, you will be able to see Scotland to the north and the sea in the east on a clear day.

Find a route guide for Helvellyn here

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CONISTON OLD MAN

The Old Man of Coniston is an iconic Lake District mountain. Photo: iStock

Climbing Coniston Old Man is one of the best hikes in the Lake District. “It hangs over the village like the Matterhorn hangs over Zermatt,” according to GoLakes. The tourist track isn’t the most interesting route up Coniston Old Man. Take the route that goes via. The Cove and Goat’s Water for amazing views over the hills and impressive corries. Allow five to six hours for this seven mile hike.

Find a route guide for Coniston Old Man here

HIGH STREET

High Street might sound like an odd name for a Lake District fell. It is actually named after a 2,000 year-old Roman road that crosses it, built by the Romans to link their forts at Brougham and Ambleside. There are a number of hikes around this area offering superb views. Don’t bother hiking this route if it is a foggy day though – most of the navigation features require good visibility. This particular hike up to High Street or Racecourse Hill is 8.1 miles long and will take you around four hours to walk.

Find a route guide for High Street here

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Derwent water in the Lake District and the town of Keswick. Photo: iStock

DERWENT WATER

Derwent Water is one of the best lakes in the Lake District. Head around to the south-west shore and you’ll find the Brandelhow, a woodland with 150 year old Douglas fir trees.

It’s a beautiful hike and not quite as busy as the South Lakes. Good for winter when visibility might be worse and therefore you don’t want to take on any steep towering fells. This particular route is just 3.6 miles and will take you around 90 minutes.

Find a route guide for Derwent Water via. Brandelhow here

THE LANGDALE PIKES

You couldn’t write a list of Lake District hikes without including the famous Langdale Pikes. You can see their silhouette from all over the Langdale Valley, a favourite with Lake District hikers who are looking for a challenge. There are many ways to tackle the Langdale Pikes. This hike is relatively short at 6.4 miles but challenging including a steep climb and descent on the way.

Find a route guide for the Langdale Pikes here

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Fancy hiking the beautiful Mickleden Valley? Photo: iStock

MICKLEDEN VALLEY

Rather than climbing a famous Lake District peak, how about a mellow hike along the beautiful Mickleden Valley? This is the place to come if you want a real sense of wilderness in the Lakes. You will see Pike O’ Stickle on the right and The Band on the left, plus stunning glacial moraines at the head of the valley. It’s an easy 3.8 mile hike that should take around two hours – ideal for a day when you don’t want a strenuous hike.

Find a route guide for Mickleden Valley here

WHITBARROW SCAR

Whitbarrow Scar is an awesome hike in the south-east Lakes, mainly because of the spectacular sheer drop off the long summit ridge. From Lord’s Seat you will get an amazing view of the surrounding area, all the way to Morecambe Bay in the south. If you start at the Mill Side, the hike is around 6.5 miles with some modest uphill stretches. It should take you around three hours.

Find a route guide for Whitbarrow Scar here

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