Scafell Pike Routes
A guide to all Scafell Pike’s routes to help you make the right choice according to your ability.
Routes up Scafell Pike
There are many Scafell Pike routes with endless variations for climbing this wonderful mountain, and here we aim to provide a detailed summary of three of the most popular and easily accessible options – Scafell Pike from Borrowdale, Scafell Pike from Wasdale, and Scafell Pike from Great Langdale. To understand these routes fully, it is best to refer to a comprehensive map of Scafell Pike.
Scafell Pike from Borrowdale
Via Grains Gill and Esk Hause, returning by the Corridor Route and Sty head Gill. Approx 10 miles. Maps OS Explorer OL4 and OL6. Drive to the head of the Borrowdale valley and take the small left turn to Seathwaite, and park on the roadside (free of charge) at the end of the lane near Seathwaite Farm (OS ref: NY235122).
Reaching Scafell Pike from Borrowdale is one of the most popular routes up Scafell Pike, you’ll see why as you continue. Set off along the track southwards through the lovely old farmyard and out into the open valley, following the track alongside the river to the delightful Stockley Bridge (OS ref: NY235109).
Cross the bridge, and through the gate take the path to the left which continues to follow the river up Grains Gill. The path is well maintained; rising gradually at first, then more steeply alongside the tumbling waterfalls of Grains Gill until it meets a larger track running east-west (OS ref: NY229087, on this map) beneath the towering cliffs of Great End directly in front of you.
Turn left (east) here and after 500m take the path which rises to the right up towards Esk Hause (OS ref: N233081, on this map), where the stunning view south into Eskdale awaits. From Esk Hause, take the path westwards, climbing between Great End and Ill Crag, and across the boulder-strewn slopes of Broad Crag from where the towering summit of Scafell Pike finally comes into view.
Progress across the boulders here requires care, and a tinge of disappointment awaits as you see the hard-earned height which must now be lost before the final ascent to the summit can begin!
The final climb is steep and the ground is loose, but the summit plateau is soon reached and the giant cairn (OS ref: NY215073, on this map) which marks the highest point in England comes back into view. Time for a well-earned break to enjoy the sense of achievement and take in the breath-taking panoramic views!
But time waits for no man, and one of the most beautiful paths imaginable still awaits. From the summit, head north-west towards Lingmell. The path is a mass of boulders but well-marked with cairns, and drops quickly down to Lingmell Col where it meets the path rising up from Wasdale to the south-west. Here, take the path to the right (north-east) which is the beginning of the delightful ‘Corridor Route’, contouring and dropping in stages with towering peaks and crags to the right and dizzying views down into Wasdale to the left, until a short final climb leads up to Sty Head Pass (OS ref: NY219095, on this map).
Spend a few minutes sitting by Styhead Tarn looking back up towards Scafell Pike, as this will be your last view of the peak before descending the path down Styhead Gill until it reaches Stockley Bridge and the easy final stroll back to Seathwaite.
Scafell Pike from Wasdale
Via Broad Stand and Mickledore, returning via the Corridor Route. Approx 6.5 miles. Map OS Explorer OL6. Park at the Wasdale Head car park (OS ref: NY187085), and set off south-east along the public footpath across the valley floor to the footbridge (OS ref: NY189082) which crosses Lingmell Beck.
From the footbridge, follow the path southwards, climbing diagonally up the hillside until joining the main path up Lingmell Gill (OS ref: NY192074). Follow the path up alongside Lingmell Gill for just over a kilometre until it splits (OS ref: NY203074) at an area known as Hollow Stones.
From here, take the right hand path south-west, climbing steeply up to Mickledore Col (OS ref NY209069). Turning left at Mickledore Col, the path clambers steeply for just a few hundred metres until the plateau is reached, and a short but cautious walk over the boulder strewn landscape leads to the summit cairn and trig point (OS ref: NY215073). You’ve reached Scafell Pike from Wasdale, give yourself a moment to take in the magnificent views and tranquillity.
From the summit, follow the path with its line of cairns to the north-west, descending slowly at first, then more steeply down towards Lingmell Col, and take the Corridor Route path to the right at OS ref: NY214076. Follow the Corridor Route as it weaves and contours its way around towering crags and deep ravines towards Sty Head Pass (OS ref: NY219095, on this map).
From Sty Head Pass, three different tracks are available, all leading back down Wasdale. Either set off in a westerly direction on the track which traverses the flanks of Great Gable, or take one of the two routes which drop more directly into the valley bottom. All three route options meet up again after about a mile, and another mile along the valley floor will return you to the car park, although a well-earned refreshment stop at the Wasdale Head Inn (OS ref: NY186088) might be in order first.
Scafell Pike from Great Langdale
Via The Band and Bowfell, returning via Angle Tarn and Rossett Gill. Approx 12 miles. Map OS Explorer OL6. Park in the pay and display car park next to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (OS ref: NY287061) and take the farm track across the fields to Stool End Farm (OS ref: NY277057).
Follow the signs through the farmyard, and after a hundred metres take the right hand path which climbs steeply at first, then more steadily, up The Band – the great shoulder which reaches out from Bowfell into the Langdale Valley.
A long continual climb with views directly across the valley of Oxendale to Crinkle Crags eventually brings you to a convenient rest point at Three Tarns, the col between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell (OS ref: NY248061).
Next, head due north, and steeply upwards, following the well-trodden path marked by frequent cairns to the summit of Bowfell (OS ref: NY244064 on this map), and a magnificent view across the head of the Eskdale Valley far below, to Scafell Pike itself.
From Bowfell, follow the main path northwards to Hanging Knotts (OS ref: NY244072) and then westwards to the summit of Esk Pike (OS ref: NY236075), before descending to Esk Hause (OS ref: NY233081).
From Esk Hause, continue to the summit of Scafell Pike as per the route from Borrowdale (above), and from the summit retrace the route back as far as Esk Hause again. But instead of starting the grind back up to Esk Pike and Bowfell, descend north-eastwards from Esk Hause for about 300 metres to meet the main Sty Head to Langdale path at OS ref: NY235083, and follow this well-defined and maintained path south-east as it drops down to delightful Angle Tarn (OS ref: NY245078, on this map), nestling below the imposing fortress of Hanging Knotts.
Continue in a south-easterly direction, with a short climb to begin and then a steep descent as the path drops down alongside the tumbling waterfalls of Rossett Gill before joining the bridleway along Mickleden (OS ref: NY262073), from where a final steady and level stride returns you to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel with its world-famous rustic and welcoming Climbers Bar.
The Easiest route up Scafell Pike
The easiest route up Scafell Pike depends on your fitness levels, but one thing is for sure, the easiest accent is one that has been planned in advance. Look at what you could be experiencing…
Scafell Pike routes – your suggestions
Have you been to the summit? Which is your favourite Scafell Pike route? Let us know so we can feature it!