Buckden Pike Walk (The Perfect Yorkshire Dales Day Out)
If you’re looking for a scenic and quiet yet challenging circular walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, then this Buckden Pike walk is for you. The summit of Buckden Pike offers stunning views over North Yorkshire but doesn’t attract the visitor numbers of the three peaks and other popular spots.
This guide walks you through the route step-by-step and with pictures. Plus, it answers all your questions in the FAQ section at the bottom of the page. This will leave you perfectly equipped for a wonderful Yorkshire Dales day out!
The Route to Buckden Pike
Start and end point: Buckden Car Park (postcode: BD23 5JA; grid ref/coordinates: 54.191872, -2.089735)
Distance: 5 miles
I followed the Buckden pike walk route from Where2Walk. However, I did the route in the opposite direction from the image on their website. This meant that the ascent stage is steep but shorter and then the descent is longer but a bit more gradual. The GPX navigation provided by Where2Walk is great for navigating the open land and keeping on track. I definitely recommend downloading an app such as GPX Viewer and uploading the GPX for the route.
A popular, longer Buckden Pike circular walk heads from Buckden Pike summit down to Starbottom, via Walden Road. This route then takes you along the Dales Way, which runs parallel with the River Wharfe, back to the village of Buckden. This longer route is around 7 miles/11 km and is detailed by the National Trust.
Buckden Pike Walk: Stage 1 (Car Park to Summit)
Your journey to the summit of Buckden Pike starts by heading north out of the car park. Consider this fair warning that it is steep from the get-go.
If you, like me, attempt this walk after many months of being in lockdown and limited exercise, you’ll start to wonder if your legs work anymore!
Keep heading uphill and following the track until you reach a split in the path (pictured below). Keep left at the split, pass the drystone wall and then head right immediately after the wall.
From here, the path crosses diagonally through the next few fields. Although this is a grassy area, the path is fairly well-trodden. Because of this, you should be able to stick to the path fairly easily, but the gaps in the drystone walls where the paths cross do help keep you on track.
While this section isn’t as steep as the initial climb out of the car park, it’s still deceivingly tiring!
As you keep following the trodden grass path it soon becomes a clear footpath as you head uphill for what feels like a lifetime. At this point, you’ll feel like you’re almost at the top…
But, sorry to break it to you, you’re not as close as you think! The path just keeps climbing! And, it constantly feels like you’re almost at the top only to see more of the top of Buckden Pike appear into view!
Don’t forget to look back on yourself during this section from the car park to Buckden Pike Summit – the scenery behind you is spectacular, particularly on a clear day!
Eventually, you will reach the summit of Buckden Pike… And, it’s even more rewarding for the hard work that’s gone into walking up there! You’ll know you’re at the top of Buckden Pike when you see the concrete trig point and stone markings.
The view from the summit is simply stunning. On a clear day, you can see for miles over North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The distinctive shape of Pen-y-ghent as well as Ingleborough and Whernside visible in the distance.
My sheer exhaustion on climbing one mountain suddenly put the thought of climbing these Yorkshire Three Peaks, as they’re known, into perspective!
Buckden Pike Walk: Stage 2 (Summit to the Polish Memorial)
The next stage of this Buckden Pike Walk is to head along the ridge of Buckden Pike to the Polish War Memorial. After the long uphill climb to the summit, this flat section will be a breeze!
The Polish War Memorial is about 750 meters south of the summit of Buckden Pike. A small but poignant memorial to the 5 Polish soldiers killed when their plane crashed into the Buckden Pike hillside mid-snowstorm in 1942.
Miraculously, one other person survived the crash and managed to navigate down off the mountain in heavy snow and with a broken ankle to get to safety.
Buckden Pike Walk: Stage 3 (Polish War Memorial to the Car Park)
The path back to Buckden from the Polish War Memorial is much less obvious. And, I was very grateful for the GPX navigation at this stage. Even when I had no phone signal, the app told me where I was and how far off course I was. Which, was a few hundred metres at times so it was reassuring to know I was heading back on track!
The descent of this Buckden Pike walk is definitely longer than the ascent and is still tricky with a lot of loose rock from the lead mines. But, with the pain of the ascent still fresh in my mind (and my legs) I couldn’t have been more grateful to be walking downhill! The further you descend down, the clearer the path becomes, generally speaking.
The path brings you back into the small village of Buckden by Buckden Beck – a stream you can easily hop across in summer. The car park is just a stone’s throw from the beck.
For another scenic walk in the Yorkshire Dales, check out this Malham circular walk route – taking in Malham Cove, Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar (away from the crowds!)
Where is Buckden Pike?
Buckden Pike is located at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, north of Grassington. The town of Buckden, where most routes start and finish, is approximately 20 miles from Skipton along the scenic roads of Upper Wharfedale. Driving time from Skipton is around 30 mins and from Leeds is around 90 mins.
Is Buckden Pike a mountain?
Yes, Buckden Pike is classified as a mountain. In the UK, 610 metres/2000 feet is the threshold used to differentiate hills from mountains.
The word pike is old northern English for a hill with a peaked top. Perhaps, the most famous pike is Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain and the jewel of the Lake District.
How high is Buckden Pike?
The summit of Buckden Pike is 702 metres above sea level. In fact, this makes it the 7th highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales – just 34 metres off being the tallest mountain in the national park.
Is there a Buckden Pike car park and how much does it cost?
Yes, there is a public car park in the village of Buckden. The cost of parking for one day is £4.80 and you can pay by card on the machine.
Are there toilets at Buckden Pike?
Yes, a public toilet block is next to Buckden car park. These toilets are free to use and are kept in a clean condition.
Is there a shop or pub in Buckden?
A shop and a pub! A small village store (named Buckden Village Stores) is located near the entrance to the car park. Also, The Buck Inn is a pub that serves food at lunchtime (midday to 2.30pm) and dinner time (6 to 8.30pm). It is open all day (midday onwards) and has plenty of outdoor seating for sunny days!
Will I see waterfalls on this Buckden Pike walk?
This Buckden Pike walk sadly does not pass any waterfalls! However, there are waterfalls on Buckden Pike. For instance, one Buckden Pike waterfall walk you could take is to head directly from Buckden village to the summit via Buckden Beck. This more strenuous and scrambling route is steep and boggy. Mud and Routes describe this route in detail.
For another walk that does feature lots of waterfalls, you’ll want to check out this Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls Walk post! It covers 4 waterfalls and an abandoned farmhouse with incredible scenic views.
So, you’re now all ready for a great Buckden Pike walk! Let me know if you go to Buckden Pike or try this route…
If you have any questions or want any more information drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Prices and offerings mentioned are correct as of March 2021 but are subject to change in future.
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