All the Walking Routes up Scafell Pike

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Scafell Pike at 978m is the highest mountain in England, which also makes it the highest summit in the Lake District and of the Wainwright hills. Scafell Pike can be climbed by any of a number of walking routes.

Scafell Pike is often tackled as part of the National 3 Peaks along with Snowdon and Ben Nevis , but there’s much more to Scafell Pike (and the other 3 Peaks) than treating them merely as a challenge.

Why is it called Scafell Pike? Scafell was traditionally thought to be higher, so these were merely the Scafell Pikes, an afterthought. Scafell is taken from the Old Norse skalli fjall which means either  the Hill of the Shieling or the Bald Hill. It was spelled Scawfell until the mid 1850s, as that better reflected the local pronunciation until the OS changed it on the maps.

What pubs are good for Scafell Pike? There’s also no shortage of watering holes, with a top notch mountain pub near every single approach. Is that a coincidence, or are we as fell walkers a thirsty, hungry bunch? The Wasdale Head Inn is a highly regarded walker’s pub for those setting off from Wasale. Langdale boasts both the Old Dungeon Ghyll and the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. If you’re approaching from Eskdale then there’s the aptly named Boot Inn in Boot or the Woolpack Inn. Seathwaite is a bit more remote, and you’ll need to head for the metropolis of Borrowdale with a choice of the Scafell Hotel, The Langstrath and the Royal Oak.

Recommended Scafell Pike maps – ORDNANCE SUVEY Explorer OL6 – SW LakesORDNANCE SURVEY Explorer OL4 The English Lakes Lake District BMC (British Mountain Map)

Scafell Pike Weather Forecast: Met Office Lake Distrct Mountain Weather

Here’s a rundown of all the walking routes up Scafell Pike…

Walk up Scafell Pike From Wasdale

Height Gained – 900 metres,  Distance – 9km, Time –4 hours.

Lets start with the most popular route – Scafell Pike via Hollow Stones From Wasdale. This is a pleasant enough route, which doesn’t pose too many problems for the novice or hungover walker (I’m looking at you Dafydd). It’s also very popular, so you’ll have plenty of company.

While Wasdale has the most popular route – it also boasts a variety of routes up Scafell Pike. A slight variation on the above is the ascent via Mickledore – and a combination of both makes a satisfying circular walk.  The Corridor Route can be ascended from Wasdale as well as from the usual approach from Seathwaite. There’s a so-called bad step on the Corridor Route, which just adds a bit of interest for experienced hill walkers rather than any real difficulty. There’s also the route up via Pier’s Gill  which provides an adventurous semi-scramble for the adventurous hill walker.

Walk up Scafell Pike From Langdale

Height Gained – 1130 metres,  Distance – 18km, Time – hours.

The route up Scafell Pike from Langdale is the longest, and provides the walker with the opportunity to climb a number of other peaks in the process. If you’ve got the energy, you could climb all the 914m peaks in the area – or the Furth Munros – in a satisfying 20km outing that includes Scafell. You even get to walk up Scafell Pike twice! As it stands, the route above includes the summits of Ill Crag and Broad Crag, with Great End only a diversion of a few 100m. Scafell ups the ascent slightly and the distance to just over 20km.

Walk up Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route From Borrowdale / Seathwaite

Height Gained – 1000 metres,  Distance – 15km, Time – 6 hours+

This is one of the classic approaches along the quite special Corridor Route. The walk starts off by heading off up Styhead Gill to Styhead Tarn before joining the scrambly section of the Corridor Route.  What follows is a path that contours around the flanks of Scafell Pike with plenty of views and a couple of straightforward scrambling sections to keep the interest. The only downside is that you join the throng on the Wasdale Path for the very final section. This route then descends over Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Great End before returning to Seathwaite via Grain’s Gill.

All the Walking Routes up Scafell Pike

Walk up Scafell Pike via Cam Spout From Eskdale

Height Gained – 1000 metres,  Distance – 17 km, Time – 6 hours.

Lesser known approach for the quieter walks from the south, offers a number of different options. Setting off on the western bank of the River Esk, it makes for Mickledore where you join that path from Wasdale. You then descend via the Little Narrowcove route back along the eastern bank of the River Esk. This route could easily be extended to include Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End and descending via Esk Hause; or even continuing on and over Bow Fell.

Walk up Scafell Pike and Scafell

Height Gained – 1150 metres,  Distance – 12 km, Time – 7-8 hours.

No roundup of this mountain would be complete without a mention of Scafell – once thought to be the tallest of the pair. The direct route between them is over a crag known as Broad Stand, hardly somewhere the average walker would wish to stand! It’s a rock climb in sections and should be avoided by those without the skill or equipment (which includes the author of this post!!). The usual route between these hills is via Fox’s Tarn. Scafell can also be climbed via Lord’s Rake from Wasdale, which provides a circuit with Scafell Pike by descending to Fox’s Tarn.

You can see Broad Stand in the image below – yes, it’s that cliff that drops to the col in the middle of the picture.

All the Walking Routes up Scafell Pike - Broad Stand and Scafell from Scafell Pike

To make it even easier – we’ve created our own Walk up Scafell Pike website that’s dedicated to climbing England’s highest summit.

Or alternatively, we recommend the The Mid-Western Fells (Lakeland Fellranger) guidebook that covers Scafell Pike in some detail.

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