12 Peak District Walks (Routes + Maps) [2021 Guide]

12 Peak District Walks (Routes + Maps) [2021 Guide]

Getting out into the countryside is a great way to relax, socialise, think or exercise. Of course, there’s a reason that the Peak District is one of the most visited national parks in the UK – it has a lot to offer! And, the best way to get up close to experience the sights is on foot. So, it’s no surprise that there are some incredible Peak District walks to enjoy!

This handy guide covers the best walks – including circular routes, short walks and easy strolls. Each comes with a map, directions and GPX file to download – which can be downloaded on your phone to follow with GPS. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to explore the Peak District National Park…

Best Walks (My Top 3)
Circular Walks

Short Walks
Easy Walks

Best Peak District Walks (My Top 3)

Chrome Hill Straight Walk

These stunning sunset views of a golden sky against the dark hills of the Peak District are one of the reasons that climbing Chrome Hill is one of the best walks in the area!

Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 km

Elevation gain: 160 metres

Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours


Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: Glutton Bridge

Starting and ending in the tiny village of Glutton Bridge, this route to the top of Chrome Hill and back is one of the most scenic Peak District walks.

This Chrome Hill walk is perfect for those seeking the best sunrise or sunset spot in the Peak District. Additionally, as the walk takes just 2 hours, it’s also perfect for beginners to countryside or hill walking.

Try this route on a weekday evening for the best chance of being the only person on Chrome Hill!

Mam Tor Circular Walk

Another great Peak District walk is a circular route from Castleton to Mam Tor. It's sunken south-east face visible in the photo against the pale blue sky and green hills.

Distance: 5.6 miles/9.0 km

Elevation gain: 396 metres

Walking time: 3 hours


Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: Castleton

Mam Tor is one of the most popular hills to climb in the Peak District National Park. And, for good reason – the views are truly beautiful!

Undoubtedly, my favourite part of this Mam Tor walk is the (pretty much) flat ridgeline to Back Tor for more incredible views. Makes the long slog to the top of Mam Tor even more worth it – two peaks for the hard work of one!

Head to Mam Tor for some of the best Peak District views including Kinder Scout and the Hope Valley.

The Roaches Circular Walk

An incredible viewpoint from one the Peak District's best walks, The Roaches. Looking out over the Peak District Countryside from a rocky protrusion with a reservoir in the background.

Distance: 3.6 miles/5.8 km

Elevation gain: 160 metres

Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Start point: The Roaches Parking

On the western edges of the Peak District is the unique and stunning Roaches ridgeline. Once the steep climb to the ridge is complete, you’ll enjoy over 1 km of pathway with incredible views over the Staffordshire countryside.

Given that there’s an easy-to-follow path, this 3.6-mile walk is a good option for beginners to countryside walking or those wanting to build their fitness. You’ll not be thinking about how hard the ascent was when you have views like these!


Peak District Circular Walks

Chrome Hill from Glutton Bridge

Sunset at the top of Chrome Hill is a true Peak District bucket list item. Pictured are the sun beams bursting through breaks in the clouds over the rolling Peak District hills.

Distance: 3.9 miles/6.2 km

Elevation gain: 154 metres

Walking time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: Glutton Bridge

This circular walk in the heart of the Peak District takes you up and over Chrome Hill before looping back around into Glutton Bridge.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of the vast Peak District countryside including many working farms and varying landscapes. What’s more, although Chrome Hill is a great sunrise and sunset spot in the Peak District, this walk can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Perfect for those looking for a mid-length walking route or a weekend stroll.

Chrome Hill from Earl Sterndale

On the climb to the summit of Chrome Hill, the silhouette of Zoe is shown against the golden sky as the sun is setting over the Peak District

Distance: 4.7 miles/7.6 km

Elevation gain: 142 metres

Walking time: 3 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: The Quiet Woman, Earl Sterndale

This Chrome Hill circular route from Earl Sterndale is a slightly longer version than the one above from Glutton Bridge.

Starting from The (currently closed) Quiet Woman pub and with parking available in the village, this walk is perfect for weekend warriors and sunset seekers.

While the main attraction is certainly Chrome Hill, this route will take you through several miles of Derbyshire countryside with the rolling Peak District hills in the background.

Lud’s Church Walk

Inside the narrow chasm that is Lud's Church in the heart of the Peak District. A short 2-mile walk (round trip) will get you to this unique, moss-covered passageway in the depths of woodland.

Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 km

Elevation gain: 53 metres

Walking time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy

Starting point: Hazelwood Road

Many walks to Lud’s Church start and end in Gradbach – which is also the starting point of the Three Shires Head walk. But, this route starts south of Lud’s Church where the car parks aren’t so quickly full.

Lud’s Church is an 18-metre deep and 100-metre long chasm. With moss-covered walls and its own microclimate, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an alien planet!

This mostly flat 2-mile walk is the perfect Peak District family day out or for those seeking an other-worldly experience!

The Roaches Walk

Looking out from the highest point of The Roaches ridgeline. Stunning views from a stunning rock formation

Also features in the My Top 3 Walks!

Distance: 3.6 miles/5.8 km

Elevation gain: 160 metres

Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Start point: The Roaches Parking

The Roaches is not a particularly well-known spot in the Peak District. Which, is surprising since the views from the top rival many other popular peaks.

The protruding and overhanging rock formations of the ridgeline make for incredible photos. This is a must-visit for anyone who loves landscape photography!

Plus, as the walk takes just 2 hours, it is perfect for weekends, bank holidays and sunny summer evenings. A great way to feel productive on slower days.

Shining Tor Circular Route

There are many routes to the summit of Shining Tor and all have incredible views over the vibrant-coloured hills of the Peak District.

Distance: 6.2 miles/10.0 km

Elevation gain: 435 metres

Walking time: 3 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: The Street Car Park

As both the longest walk featured and the one with the highest elevation gain, this walk is for those seeking a Peak District hiking experience.

This circular route to Shining Tor takes you along Foxlow Edge before making the ascent to the Peak District’s 7th highest hill. The return leg takes you via Errwood Hall and past Errwood Reservoir.

A challenging route that is suitable for experienced walkers and/or those wanting to build their fitness for more demanding walks.

Ladybower Reservoir Walk

The beautiful Ladybower Reservoir in the centre of the Peak District. A great walk for all the family as it is flat and scenic with stunning hills as a backdrop!

Distance: 6.0 miles/9.6 km

Elevation gain: 50 metres

Walking time: 2 to 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Start point: A57 by Ashopton Viaduct

Ladybower Reservoir is one of the gems of the Peak District. Supplying water to the people of Derbyshire, the reservoir is set in the pristine countryside with incredible scenery.

Under the shadow of Bamford Edge and Win Hill, a walk around the shores of Ladybower Reservoir is enjoyable all year round – come rain or shine!

This relatively flat walk ascends only to the Derwent Dam viewpoint on the reservoir’s northwest tip. Perfect for families, couples, solo hikers and dog walkers.

Mam Tor Circular Walk

Looking west from the summit of Back Tor towards Mam Tor at the far end of the path. Combine Back Tor and Mam Tor in this circular route from Castleton

Also features in the My Top 3 Walks!

Distance: 5.6 miles/9.0 km

Elevation gain: 396 metres

Walking time: 3 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: Castleton

This Mam Tor circular walk is one of the most scenic Peak District Hikes. From Castleton, you’ll pass several caverns on the slow climb to the summit before enjoying vast and stunning views of the beautiful Peak District.

From the summit, the walk continues along the Great Ridge to Back Tor. And, after a short but steep climb, you’ll have incredible views over Edale and towards Kinder Scout.

This walk is perfect for those looking for a challenge or a full day out in the Peak District.


Short Walks in the Peak District

Chrome Hill Straight Walk from Glutton Bridge

Chrome Hill has some of the best sunrise or sunset views in the Peak District. This rocky peak, nicknamed Dragon's Back, stands out against the gentle hills of the Derbyshire countryside.

Also features in the My Top 3 Walks!

Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 km

Elevation gain: 160 metres

Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Start point: Glutton Bridge

This short walk provides stunning views from the summit of Chrome Hill. Best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset, this walk is great on fairly clear days all year round.

This 2-mile route is perfect for those short on time – in fact, it’s best enjoyed on a weekday evening. A great way to relax after a hard day at work. Additionally, photographers of all levels will love this walk for the spectacular views. It’s not one to be missed!

Shining Tor Straight Route

One of the best Peak District Short Walks is to the summit of Shining Tor and back from Pym's Chair car park. In the background you can see the city of Manchester in stark contrast to the rolling Peak District hills and the flat Cheshire plain.

Distance: 4.0 miles/6.5 km

Elevation gain: 167 metres

Walking time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Start point: Pym Chair Car Park

Shining Tor is the 7th highest peak in the national park. So, the fact you can walk to the summit in just one hour each way is quite impressive! And, once you’re there, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of Manchester, the Cheshire plain and Wales.

This walk is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. A stone path runs most of the way to the summit, so it’s not too muddy of a walk after rain either!

Mam Tor Straight Route

The shortest of short walks in the Peak District. The quickest route to the trig point of Mam Tor (pictured) takes just 15 minutes each way and you'll be greeted by these fantastic views over the countryside.

Distance: 0.7 miles/1.1 km

Elevation gain: 70 metres

Walking time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Start point: Mam Nick Car Park

The shortest of all the walks featured, this route takes you to the summit of Mam Tor in just 15 minutes!

Since the drive to Mam Nick Car Park covers most of the elevation gain, there’s just a short but steep climb up the steps to Mam Tor. At the summit, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views over the Peak District including Edale and Castleton.

This walk is perfect for those passing through the area but short on time or those with younger children.

  • The Lud’s Church Walk (featured above in the circular walks section) is also a short, 2-mile route. The mostly flat loop can easily be completed in an hour – including the time spent enjoying the deep chasm.

Easy Walks

Lathkill Dale

In the heart of the Peak District is Lathkill Dale, a great walk to see waterfalls and abandoned mines. While the pictured waterfalls are small, they are still beautiful with a calm surrounding of trees and greenery.

Distance: 5.9 miles/9.5 km

Elevation gain: 62 metres

Walking time: 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Start point:

As one of the only featured walks with waterfalls (well one main one), a walk along the River Lathkill is a great weekend outing.

This mostly flat walk also features a cave at the source of the river and abandoned mines – one of which you can climb down a ladder into. The river is quite seasonal though, in the summer months it can dry up completely in most of Lathkill Dale, whereas after rainy periods the pathway can be one big puddle! Make sure to wear wellies or walking shoes if visiting then.

Hartington Walk through Beresford and Wolfscote Dale

The rugged Wolfscote Dale near Hartington is a stunning place for a walk in the Peak District. The rocky valley walls are covered in grass and trees and dwarf the small path below.

Distance: 5.3 miles/8.6 km

Elevation gain: 56 metres

Walking time: 2 to 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Start point: Path behind Hartington public toilets

From the small village of Hartington in the south of the national park, this walk takes you along the River Dove. You’ll pass through the towering Beresford Dale and Wolfscote Dale and each time you cross the river, you’ll switch between Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

In Wolfscote Dale, climb the valley walls to explore the caves and gain a fantastic vantage point. This walk is suitable for all the family and can be enjoyed in all weathers and seasons.

Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could just continue along the River Dove. The path carries on all the way to Dovedale stepping Stones and Dovedale Valley!

Three more walks featured in different sections above also have a difficulty rating of easy:

  • The circular walk around Ladybower Reservoir is 6 miles but being at water level, there’s hardly any elevation change. The walk is perfect for people of all ages and abilities.
  • The 2-mile circular Lud’s Church route is an hour of easy walking. Walkers of all ages can appreciate the wonder of Lud’s Church chasm.
  • The very short Mam Tor Straight Route requires just 15 minutes of uphill walking and climbing the steps to the summit. The short duration and wide steps make it suitable for children and adults. And, at the top, you’ll see some of the best views in the national park.

Where else is on my Peak District Bucket List?

I’m always looking for more inspiration for Peak District walks and adventures. So here’s my current list of must-do walks for when I’m next back in the Peaks!

  • Bamford Edge
  • Kinder Scout
  • Dovedale & the Stepping Stones
  • Nine Ladies Stone Circle & Rowtor Rocks
  • Stanage Edge
  • Monsal Trail

Am I missing any absolute gems? Always taking recommendations if you have any!


With so many walking routes in the Peak District, you’ll have a hard time picking where to start. But, the beauty of the English countryside doesn’t end there. Check out one of the posts linked below for more walk inspiration in the Yorkshire and the Lake District National Park.

Do you have any questions or want any more information on these walks? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Information is correct as of September 2021 but is subject to change in future. Some photos courtesy of Adam Brookes.


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