There are so many great walks in the beautiful Peak District that offer adventure, peace, good food and perfect photo opportunities. Whether you are up for one of the more challenging Peak District walks, like Kinder Scout, or something relaxing, like the Monsal Trail, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your walking boots, a picnic, and a fresh roll of film because you’re about to explore some of the best Peak District walks that you could possibly find.
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Mitoshka Alkova.
1. Monsal Trail
How long is this Peak District walk: 3.73 miles / 2 hours
Starting address: Coombs Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1AR
This is a very easy walk or cycle route to take if you’re in need of a relaxing walk with little elevation. Set on the famous old railway that used to connect Manchester to London, the Monsal Trail is easily accessible from Bakewell. Park on Coombs Road right next to the trailhead and stop in Bakewell for lunch!
There are some great viaducts here which are always lit during the day, making them perfect for a cycle ride. In fact, you can confidently cycle on this route as it’s flat, well pathed, and also relatively quiet. With lovely picnic spots and small stone bridges, it’s oh-so-romantic and the perfect walk to go on with your loved one. You’ll also spot many wooden figures along the route too! The railway lasts for 8.5 miles but you can walk as far as you please. But just keep in mind that you’ll have to walk all the way back too.
2. Kinder Scout
How long is this Peak District walk: 9 miles / 4-5 hours
Starting address: Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 7ZP
With many steep edges and deep gorges, Kinder Scout is one of the most scenic and challenging walks in the Peak District. Park at the station and follow the crowds and signposts – you’ll be heading up so it’s hard to miss.
Find your way to Edale and notice the markings by The Old Nags Head which mark the Pennine Way. This lovely walk takes you around Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District at 636 metres! You’ll even pass Kinder Downfall, a stunning waterfall which is the perfect place for some photography. Plus, if you’re visiting in winter, it can often freeze.
This area of the Peak District is known for its legends and mysteries. After you pass Kinder Downfall, you’ll notice the Mermaid’s Pool which is where a mermaid is said to live and grant immortality to passersby. Well, only if you see her on the eve of Easter, that is.
How long is this Peak District walk: 6 miles / 3-4 hours
Starting address: Ashford-in-the-Water, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1NZ
Park in the centre of Ashford where you can usually grab a spot on the road for free. Then, head up Vicarage Lane where the public footpath will set you off on the right route for your adventure! You’ll cross small streams, jump over stepping stones and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the water. As you continue on your route and follow the path, look out for the abandoned watermill – a great photo opportunity!
The circular walk starts and ends in Ashford-in-the-Water where you can find multiple tea rooms and pubs. You’ll definitely be in need of a pint and some pub grub after your long walk. I’d recommend trying the scones from Aisseford Tea Room – they are something special.
4. Mam Tor
How long is this Peak District walk: 2.8 miles / 1-2 hours
Starting address: Mam Tor National Trust Car Park, Sparrowpit Buxton A623.A6, Peak Forest, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WA
Perfect to enjoy with friends on a sunny day, this circular walk up Mam Tor (Mother Hill) will take your breath away. With a steep ascent, it’s not for everyone, but if you can commit to the climb it’s definitely worth it. There are plenty of spots to stop and rest, and you can always pretend to be enjoying the gorgeous view as you catch your breath.
At the top (if it’s a sunny day!), you’ll first notice the paragliders, floating above the beautiful Vale of Edale, Peveril Castle and Hope Valley. Built in 1086 by the son of William the Conqueror, Peveril Castle is a very romantic ruin that is also worth a visit while you’re here.
For a pitstop, I suggest the world-famous Blue John Cavern – you won’t regret it! After taking in the view, continue following the flagstones along Hollins Cross until you reach a wooded section and farm road which will take you back to the car park.
5. Padley Gorge
How long is this Peak District walk: 3.73 miles / 2 hours
Starting address: Woodcroft Car Park (Longshaw) – National Trust, Grindleford, Sheffield S11 7TY
Padley Gorge is one of the most beautiful Peak District walks, especially in autumn. The narrow paths and quiet streams make it feel nothing short of magical. Start off at Longshaw Estate and follow signs for Granby Wood, where you’ll soon cross the road at the stone barn and enter the path. Here you’ll also find the ice cream van that will give you the strength to carry on. Any excuse for ice cream, ey?
Another local secret is that if you stay very still for a moment while on your walk you just might spot a Pied Flycatcher. Pied Flycatchers are beautiful, rare birds you can spot around April. Passing estates, woods, villages and wooden bridges, the walk is very versatile. There’s no chance of getting bored here!
6. Stanage Edge
How long is this Peak District walk: 6.09 miles / 3-4 hours
Starting address: Hooks Car Park, Stanage Edge, Hope Valley S32 1DZ
You’ll instantly recognise this stunning, dramatic escarpment from quintessential Peak District images. Most famous for inspiring Charlotte Bronte’s work, this beautiful valley landscape is easily one of the best Peak District walks. Running for 3.5 miles at about 458m high, it’s especially great for rock climbers!
There are climbs here for the more experienced, or if you’re like me, easier routes for a little thrill. You can drive right up to Stanage Edge and park up along the road that lies beneath it. However, if you want to make your walk longer, start from Hathersage which dates back to the Roman period and is laced with history. Top tip: dine at Coleman’s Deli where they make famous fresh Scotch eggs they won’t stop shouting about. (But for good reason!)
You’ll find adventure all around here, including the adventures of Robin Hood! Along the walk, you should pay a visit to Robin’s Cave. And trust me, this is the place to take photographs. So if you’re an adventurer looking to explore one of the most geographically dramatic places in the area, this is one of the best Derbyshire walks for you.
7. Derwent Edge
How long is this Peak District walk: 8 miles / 3-3.5 hours
Starting address: Upper Derwent Visitor Centre & Cafe, Fairholmes, Bamford, Hope Valley S33 0AQ
This is a long walk but one with rewarding views of the Derwent Valley and its gritstone tors which seem to defy gravity! As this is a walk of true beauty, it can get quite busy, so consider coming here for sunrise or sunset. Not only will it be quieter but it’ll be even more breathtaking. As you start from the Visitor Centre at Fairholmes, you’ll pass several aged houses, streams and wood before reaching the stony path that will guide you.
Eventually, you’ll reach the clearing with a fantastic view over Ladybower. But if you just detour slightly to the small hill to the side (called Lead Hill) you’ll be rewarded by an even better and more peaceful view! Continue on your walk to the Wheel Stones, Salt Cellar and Dovestone Tor which are all major symbols of the Peak District.
8. Birchen Edge to Chatsworth
How long is this Peak District walk: 7 miles / 3-3.5 hours
Starting address: Birchen Head Car Park, Derbyshire DE45 1PQ
If you fancy feeling like you’re in Pride and Prejudice for the day, this walk incorporates the beautiful manor house, Chatsworth House. The circular route starts at Birchen Edge, where you’ll notice Nelson’s Monument high up in the sky. You’ll also soon spot three rocks, called The Three Ships, to the side. Carved with the names Victory, Defiant and Royal Sovereign, they are well worth investigating.
The most interesting part of your walk is through Chatsworth House, alternatively known as the Palace of the Peak. If you have a chance to pop inside, it’s full of art, history and elegance. From afar it will take your breath away as it sits proudly on the fields surrounding it, and from up-close the architecture is stunning.
9. Hartington to Pilsbury
How long is this Peak District walk: 7.5 miles / 3-3.5 hours
Starting address: Parson’s Field Car Park, Parsons Cl, Hartington, Buxton SK17 0BE
One word describes this walk: cheese. Starting, and ending, at Hartington you won’t be able to miss their famous cheese shop and factory. Trust me, get your snacks from here. A personal favourite is the Peakland Cranberry and Orange! As there are many nearby Peak District walking routes, it can get busy here, but for good reason.
Head north from Dig Street and after the fork, turn right to Hide Lane, which will lead you on the footpath to Pilsbury Castle. The remains of the Norman castle are a good place to rest and have a picnic. South from the castle, you’ll be able to cross the river Dove which is another perfect spot to rest. With many hills and open land, it’s a lovely walk in the sun.
10. The Roaches and Lud’s Church
How long is this Peak District walk: 5 miles / 2-3 hours
Starting address: The Roaches, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 8UA
This is a Peak District walk that is best to explore in either summer or a frosty winter. Don’t be put off by the steep climb because it’s not too challenging, and the views over Lud’s Church and Staffordshire are worth it once you reach the top. The gritstone formation of the Roaches is a wonderful place to relax but it is Lud’s Church that brings so many visitors here.
Moss covered walls of stone transport you into another world. The 18-metre deep chasm was created naturally, making this one of the best Peak District walks for those who love a bit of magic. If you only have time for one Peak District walk, this should be it! It’s incredibly dreamy and you won’t believe it’s so perfectly hidden away.
11. Thor’s Cave and the Manifold Valley
How long is this Peak District walk: 5.7 miles / 2-3 hours
Starting address: Carr Lane, Wetton, Staffordshire Moorlands ST13 7ST
It’s time you explore a cave on your visit to the Peak District – and this is the perfect walk for you to do just that. Thor’s Cave is a favourite in the area as you can go inside it and explore. It’s truly something out of a picture book. You won’t believe the views over the Manifold Valley from the wide cave entrance.
On a quiet day, you can spend hours just studying the cave walls and enjoying some of the greenest views over the Peak District. I recommend coming here mid-week as it’ll be quieter. Start the walk from Wetton village which has an information centre to help get you on the right route.
12. Dovedale Stepping Stones
How long is this Peak District walk: 1.5 miles / 1 hour
Starting address: Ilam Park, Ashbourne DE6 2AZ
You’ve definitely seen pictures of these gorgeous stepping stones over the River Dove. Very popular with dog walkers, the walk from Ilam Park is packed full of interesting geology. At the start of your walk, you’ll discover Ilam Church with its gorgeous Saxon crosses and architecture.
This is a great, easy route that will offer you the opportunity to take a photo with the famous stepping stones marking the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire. From steep valleys to meadows covered in wildflowers, there’s no shortage of beautiful wildlife and nature here.
13. Sett Valley Trail
How long is this Peak District walk: 2.5 miles / 1.5 hours
Starting address: Bowden Bridge Car Park – Peak District NP, 165 Kinder Rd, High Peak SK22 2LH
This is a great walk to end on as its relatively flat and short. Starting from Hayfield, it will take you about an hour to reach the Torrs Riverside Park in New Mills. Here you’ll be amazed by the gorgeous deep river valley and have plenty of opportunities to explore your surroundings.
As this is a short walk, why not detour up to the Lantern Pike peak (which you can reach from Birch Vale) where you can take one more look at Kinder Scout and the Pennine Way? At the top, you’ll find the perfect place to rest and enjoy the gentle slopes of Kinder Scout as you reflect on the beauty of the Peak District. There really isn’t a better way to end a trip up North than with this trail.
14. Bamford Edge
How long is this Peak District walk: 1.9 miles / 1-1.5 hours
Starting address: Heatherdene Car Park, Heatherdene, Ladybower Reservoir, Hope Valley S33 0BY
This is the perfect walk to take if you don’t have much time or the strength to climb up a steep incline. With minimal effort and lovely flora on the way up, you’ll soon be blown away by the views! Bamford Edge is a spectacular overhang of gritstone which is beautiful to experience at sunset. There are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the beauty of this landscape so bring plenty of snacks and good company.
You’ll find some huge flat rocks here called the Great Tor which will signal your arrival. The view here will make you wonder if you are even in Britain. Plus, it’s also in close proximity to Stanage Edge if you want to make your walk even longer. Park up by Ladybower Reservoir and you’ll easily find the right path; there are two choices so don’t worry about which one to take.
15. The Great Ridge and Win Hill
How long is this Peak District walk: 13 miles / 5-6 hours
Starting address: Hope Car Park, Hope, Hope Valley S33 6RS
This is a very popular walk and arguably the most challenging in the Peak District, so make sure you wear walking boots. But don’t worry, the gorgeous views at the top make the climb more than worth it!
Hope Car Park is the perfect place to park and enjoy some snacks at Grasshopper Café opposite before you start your walk. Descend down Edale Road and turn left onto Eccles Close until you see the marked footpath. From here you’ll slowly begin your climb up Lose Hill on which I recommend multiple breaks to catch sight of Win Hill to the east.
Once you’ve taken in the view, head down the marked path toward Mam Tor. Follow the footpaths back to Edale and you won’t get lost! You’ll pass multiple farms, rocky summits, and views over Derwent Valley and Kinder Scout.
16. Froggatt Edge, Curbar Edge and Baslow Edge
How long is this Peak District walk: 8 miles / 4-5 hours
Starting address: Longshaw Estate Car Park, Sheffield S11 7TZ
With wonderful views over the Derwent Valley, this route is highly rewarding and gently sloping making it not too difficult to enjoy. You’ll pass the quaint villages of Curbar, Calver, Froggatt and Grindleford on your way, so take time to enjoy the lovely little houses you’ll be wishing you could live in.
Even if not too hard to climb, the Edges can get muddy when wet so be careful when venturing off-path for that photo opportunity. Take a moment to appreciate all the nature around you on your walk, as you’ll pass the occasional stream and some great woodland areas covered in moss.
As you reach Baslow Edge, you’ll also pass a large gritstone boulder, known as Eagle Stone, which is great for rock climbing. Fun fact: in the past, young men had to climb this stone to prove they were fit enough to marry! So why not test yourself with this little challenge? The walk will end as you enjoy some wind-down time amid silver birches at Hay Wood. But be mindful that there are many paths to take here so stick to the one that seems to be heading straight on and slightly upwards.
17. Alport Castles
How long is this Peak District walk: 10 miles / 5 hours
Starting address: Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, Fairholmes, Bamford, Hope Valley S33 0AQ
There are multiple routes to take from the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre up to Alport Castles. If you’re in the mood for a route that’s usually quieter but just as beautiful, head away from the reservoir and up through the woods. There are expansive views over the moors on the walk towards Alport Castle, which seem to be covered in the softest grass and moss. It’s truly spectacular and usually quiet, so it makes the perfect place for long conversations.
When you arrive, you’ll get to climb Alport Castles Tower which descends dramatically and is perfect for one of those ‘arms outstretched’ photos! Be mindful that in wet weather the rocks can get slippery so be equipped with good footwear.
18. Winnats Pass
How long is this Peak District walk: 5 miles / 3 hours
Starting address: Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Rd, Castleton S33 8WN
This walk from Castleton offers typical Peak District limestone scenery and a gorgeous view over the Castleton Great Ridge. You might have already caught a view of Winnats Pass on your drive, but it makes for an even better and more dramatic hike! Equip yourself with snacks and drinks from Castleton before following directions to Peak Cavern. Here you can take a short detour to see the entrance of the cave which is very dark and mysterious. I tried to go further but the cave is actually a paid attraction so you have to plan your visit in advance.
Continue along the path and you’ll instantly catch a glimpse of the Great Ridge and Mam Tor on the right. Take a break here – you will need it. To reach Winnats Pass, that steep gully is where you’ll head next. But you can do it, don’t give up!
Once at the top the climb (even if you also used your hands for support), the view is oh so worth it. You deserve this rest so enjoy some time here before heading back or deciding to take on the challenge of Mam Tor from here. It’s relatively easy to make this walk longer. Just continue along the top and then descend down to cross at Winnats Farm and continue climbing the next summit.
19. Hitter Hill, Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill
How long is this Peak District walk: 5.5 miles / 3-3.5 hours
Starting address: The Quiet Woman, Earl Sterndale, Buxton SK17 0BX
The reason I climbed here was initially due to the mystery of climbing ‘Dragon’s Back’. And trust me, I don’t regret that decision. The steep limestone hills you’ll climb here really do look like a stegosaurus has been buried under the grass. These peaks are said to be the only true peaks in the Peak District, making this one of the best Peak District walks.
Begin the walk at The Quiet Woman Inn at Earl Sterndale. (You can also scoff at the name of the inn which I certainly did!) The paths are clearly marked as you make a turn up the road from the inn. Your first climb will be Hitter Hill, followed by Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill. All of these are extremely steep so be very careful on the way down, especially if visiting in wet weather.
It’s usually quiet here during the week so you’ll be able to enjoy the landscapes in peace and also not be embarrassed by how hard the climb down will be! You’ll have three chances to enjoy the views from above and notice the little villages in the distance. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic as in summer it isn’t too windy.
20. Dovestone Reservoir and the Trinnacle
How long is this Peak District walk: 12 miles / 5-6 hours
Starting address: Binn Green Car Park, Oldham OL3 7NN
This northern Peak District walk is full of epic views from above. With an Area of Conservation status, it’s also great for nature lovers as you can spot a grouse or two. But let’s be honest, you’re here to climb on top of the grit-stone stack, the Trinnacle, right? The circular walk along the moorland above the reservoir is great for everyone and easily accessible from Binn Green Car Park.
The climb up can seem steep but trust me it’s worth it and nothing more challenging than the other best Peak District walks. The views of Saddleworth Moor and the iconic rocks will make your whole trip up North worth it. Unfortunately, many people know this so it can get quite busy. I’d recommend visiting mid-week to try to avoid the crowds. On your walk, you’ll pass some peaceful and beautiful waterfalls, as well as Ashway Rocks, Great Dovestone rocks and eventually Chew Reservoir.
Take the path down from here to reach Dovestone Reservoir where you can take your well-deserved break. The water is so incredibly blue and you can see the reflections of the clouds and peaks so clearly. It’s easily one of the most peaceful places in the area. However, I should warn you: the water is incredibly cold. So even though you may want to dip your toes in, you’ll instantly regret it.
21. Laddow Rocks and Black Hill via Pennine Way
How long is this Peak District walk: 9 miles / 5 hours
Starting address: Crowden Car Park, A628, Crowden, Derbyshire SK13 1
Starting at Crowden, this is one of the quieter walks in the Peak District, making it somewhat of a hidden gem. Your hike up to Laddow Rocks along the Pennine Way will be more beautiful than challenging. The gorgeous green views over the whole of the Peak District seem to continue for miles – it’s the perfect place for daydreaming!
Catch your breath at the top before continuing along the edge until you reach Black Hill. This route is very wild so be careful; you’ll be high up and exposed to the elements! You’ll slowly descend back towards the stream from where you can follow the path north-east to Dun Hill which is conveniently paved up to the summit. To reward you at the summit of Black Hill, you’ll find the trig point at Soldier’s Lump.
Top tip: this is not one of the best Peak District walks to do if the weather looks gloomy or is very wet. This whole area is susceptible to bad damage from erosion and is not safe when wet as most of it is unpathed. It’s doable, but you have to be extra mindful of the boggy ground and slippery slopes!
So there you have it: the 21 best Peak District walks you need to go on! Which of these Peak District hiking routes has most caught your eye? Or do you have more recommendations for hiking in the Peak District? Please let me know in the comments below!