The Yorkshire Dales are one of the most picturesque areas in England, filled with beautiful scenery to explore. Hiking trails are abundant, many of them leading up mountains and along streams. The most dramatic landscapes feature cascading waterfalls that plummet down cliff faces, providing the perfect places for photo opportunities or quiet pondering. If you’re looking for the most impressive waterfall in the National Park, read on.
Time your visit to Aysgarth Falls to follow a period of heavy rain to see the triple waterfalls in their full glory. The circular walk that passes the falls from Aysgarth car park is an easy route, allowing visitors to stop to admire the cascades and even climb down to view them from up close. While these falls aren’t the highest or the most dramatic in the area, the three cascades have attracted famous visitors for centuries with Wordsworth and Turner among their most famous historic fans.
Named after Janet, the Queen of the Fairies, this small cascade close to Malham is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of the Dales. Located in a picturesque wooden glen, it’s easy to see where the waterfall got its name – it really does look like a place lifted out of a fairy tale. During warm summer months, it’s possible to bathe in the shallow pool at the waterfall’s foot.
Tucked away behind the Green Dragon Inn in Hawes, you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee to visit Hardraw Force, but it is more than worth it. Known to be the longest single drop waterfall in England, it is perhaps best known as the waterfall that Robin Hood bathes beneath in the Prince of Thieves film. The waterfall is a short walk from the pub, past a stunning river, and it’s possible to scramble up the rocks to stand right next to the cascade. Visit in winter for a chance to discover the waterfall completely frozen into a gigantic icicle.
More impressive cascades close to the village of Hawes, Cotter Force is a popular spot due to its easy access path that enables wheelchair and pushchairs to reach the waterfalls. The series of six waterfalls may be individually small in comparison to other falls in the area, but the overall sight is incredibly impressive, especially shrouded by the surrounding woodland.
If you want to get a little more off the beaten track and discover a waterfall that you might just have all to yourself, head to the small village of Stainforth just outside Settle. Admire the salmon leaping up Stainforth Force just a short stroll from the carpark, then walk through the village and uphill to seek out a more secluded spot. Catrigg Force lies within a deep gorge, surrounded by trees and vegetation. The short hike will bring you out above the waterfall, allowing visitors to peer down into the abyss.
One of the most impressive waterfalls in the Dales, simply because it can be seen from a great distance, Cautley Spout is another lesser frequented cascade. The hike to the top of the waterfall is hard and steep, perhaps putting off less hardy hikers, but the view from the top is more than worth the climb.
Perhaps the most impressive of all the waterfall spots in the Yorkshire Dales, the Ingleton Waterfalls walk reels in hordes of visitors thanks to its extensive collection of impressive waterfalls all on one route. The seven-mile circular trek leads uphill before crossing fields to loop back round, taking in several waterfalls on both the climb and the descent. The most impressive cascades to look out for are Pecca Falls with its five waterfalls dropping an overall 30 metres, Beezley Falls for the three side-by-side cascades and the star of the route, the dramatic Thornton Force.