Located in the heart of the incredible Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is the highest point in England. And 1/3 of the UK National 3 Peaks challenge. In a remote landscape of outstanding natural beauty, the climb will take you through shrub land, past waterfalls, and across boulder fields before reaching the barren, windswept, panoramic summit with incredible views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. 

There are 3 main routes up to the summit of Scafell Pike; one from Borrowdale, one from Great Langdale, and the one we chose from Wasdale and the shores of Wast Water, England’s deepest Lake. No route is easier than the others and it’s down to personal preference.

The Wasdale trail starts off at barely above sea level, at roughly 300ft with a total ascent of 2910ft in 6km, and considering the total height is 3210ft, it’s a considerable climb. From the Wasdale National Trust car park head east out of the car park towards to the foot bridge which crosses Lingemell Beck. The trail will be signposted from here as “The 3 peaks route” take this route on the left hand side of the Beck and follow it up the valley. 

Follow this trail up Lingmell Gill (the valley) until it forks at an area known as the “Hollow Stones”, you can take either the right or left trail, and both will lead you to the summit around the cliff that faces you – it’s hard to mistake the hollow stones area so don’t worry about not finding it. We elected the left hand trail through the hollow stones. The trail will climb steeply, and be harder to follow (follow the cairns if you become lost), before coming to another fork, one way to the summit the other way to a route known as the “Corridor Route”, bear right to cross the boulder field to the Summit. The summit is a flat, broad, windswept boulder field; it offers incredible views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Get your camera out!

To get down you have plenty of options to choose from – descend by the same route or follow one of the many routes down. We descended by the Corridor route then a less-trafficked fork which followed Piers Gill down to Wasdale head. It was then another short walk south back to the campsite and car park. After a stop at the pub, the Wasdale Head Inn, for a pint and some food, of course.

The area offers plenty of other climbing options too, such as Great Gable, Green Gable, Pillar, and Great End to name just a few. More than one peak can be climbed in a day or over a weekend. 

Pack List

Day Hike Essentials

  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Good solid hiking boots
  • Appropriate clothing (waterproofs, extra layers, etc.)
  • Map & Compass or GPS
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Sun protection (glasses and sun screen)

Nice things

  • Camera
  • Walking poles
  • Binoculars

If you want to camp overnight – you probably will – there are plenty of campsites. We stayed at the Wasdale National Trust campsite (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/wasdale-campsite). 

As always you can wild camp, make sure you pack out what you pack in, wherever you decide to camp. 

Maps of the area can be found at the campsites, or for a really good map think about getting the highly detailed Ordinance Survey (OL6) OS explorer map for that area (https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/explorer-map-the-lake-district-south-western-area.html).

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RT Distance 3.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 2910 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Adult Beverages
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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Overall rating: 

Early Start

We headed up Scafell Pike recently and timed it with perfect conditions. I can recommend going up Mickledore route for a bit of interest. We set off around 3am from Wasdale to enjoy sunrise from the summit and it more than rewarded the early start!

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