Many people want to climb Scafell Pike to tick it off their mountain climbing bucket list. However, people rarely give much thought to how they’ll get up it. There are three main Scafell Pike routes – the one you take will make a big difference to your experience.

There are three main routes up the mountain. Each starts from a different side of the mountain, and though you’ll get the same view from the top, the routes are very different. It’s well worth looking at your options beforehand.

To choose the best route for you, you’ll need to consider a few things. How confident are you in climbing a 978m mountain? Are you looking for the quickest and most direct ascent possible, or interested in a more varied day out, taking in several mountain peaks? Or even down to more practical things like: where are you staying and which start point is easiest to access? Then you're in the right place!

The walking routes up Scafell Pike are listed below, but also be sure to check out these resources to ensure you're fully prepared:

Routes from Borrowdale

Climbing Scafell Pike from Borrowdale involves a long, steady approach from the mountain's north. Starting at Seathwaite, you’ll slowly ascend from the valley, climbing alongside the beginnings of the River Derwent, then up a ghyll to Sprinkling Tarn. Styhead Tarn can be seen to the west below Seathwaite Fell. From Styhead Tarn, you’ll traverse around the sheer black crag of Great End to Esk Hause. Now northeast of the Scafell Pike summit, you’ll follow a sparse path and cairns over the shoulders of Ill Crag and Broad Crag to the top.

This is a full-day route, so you’ll need to start early in the day. You’ll experience more of the surrounding mountains without climbing any unnecessary peaks. The climb from the northeast side of Scafell Pike is longer, but the ascent is less abrupt. Most of the time, the route is away from well-made paths, and there are no waymakers.

Read the complete guide to climbing Scafell Pike from Borrowdale

You can also reach the summit from Borrowdale via the Corridor route.

Routes from Wasdale

Climbing Scafell Pike from Wasdale is the shortest and most direct ascent. Starting from Wasdale Head, at almost sea level, the route starts immediately on the ascent alongside Lingmell Gill. After about 700 vertical metres of ascent over 2 kilometres, the mountain begins to flatten out below Lingmell. At Lingmell Col you will be standing northwest of the summit and clearly in its shadow. Take a path up the shallowest side of Scafell Pike, between two crags and follow it carefully up to the summit trig point and shelter.

This is the shortest route, so a good choice for beginners. The path up to the col is well made and the easiest to follow for those not so confident at navigation. Turning around and retracing your steps if you change your mind is easy. However, the last ascent, from the col to the summit, is less clear, and there are crags on either side.

Read the full guide to climbing Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head

You can also climb from Wasdale via Lingmell.

Route from Langdale

It is less usual to climb Scafell Pike from Langdale, but still an excellent day out in the mountains. The route involves hiking across several other peaks: Bow Fell and Esk Pike. The route starts at the west end of Langdale valley and ascends onto open land along a ridgeline called The Band. From Three Tarns, at the end of the ridge, there is a steep and rocky ascent to Bow Fell. Then down to Ore Gap and along the ridgeline to Esk Pike. At Esk Hause, the routes join up with the ascent from Borrowdale.

This is a route for confident hikers who want to add more variety to their ascent of Scafell Pike. Or perhaps people who have climbed to the summit from a different side. The paths up to Esk Hause are well made, but since you are starting so far from Scafell Pike, you need to be able to navigate to reach it. There is an excellent view of Scafell Pike from Bow Fell on a clear day.

Read the full guide to climbing Scafell Pike from Great Langdale

FAQs About Scafell Pike's Routes

    Which is the shortest route up Scafell Pike?


    Which route offers the best views when climbing Scafell Pike?


    Which route is best for families or less experienced hikers?


    Are there any guided treks available for Scafell Pike?