Malham Cove walk via Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove view via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Admiring the view on top of the stunning Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The view into Gordale Scar and the fun scramble up next to the waterfall that awaits



Malham Cove via Gordale Scar walk overview:


Distance: 12.14km / 7.7 miles.
Total climb: 855.31 ft Time: 3 hours with stops (add more to include a stop at the pub at the end :-)
Difficulty: Medium/Hard - most of the route is quite easy - the only difficult part is the scramble up next to the waterfall at the end of Gordale Scar - this is quite tricky - especially when wet. I would only recommend this scramble if you have done similar scrambles before as at times you have to pull yourself up by one hand.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar map route:

Map route Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The full 7.7 mile route [click to enlarge], which starts in Malham village, then heads to Janet's Foss, onto Gordale Scar with a tricky but fun scramble up a waterfall. It's then a flatfish walk over to Malham Tarn, a perfect spot to have some lunch - then back via the popular Malham Cove. You can view the full route online and download it at http://outdoorsgps.com/route/show/428489_ny159-gordale-scar-and-malham-cove-from-malham-1-2-1

Map route Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Here you can see the elevation of the route - which isn't too much. The only steep parts are the scramble up the waterfall at Gordale Scar and the path down from Malham Cove.




Photos of the route:

I'd had this walk on my list for a while after seeing the area on Julia Bradbury's TV show 'Best walks with a view' - and if you haven't done it - it's definitely worth adding to your list! As you will see there are some stunning views and the walk is quite varied. The scramble up the waterfall at Gordale Scar is fun and I love stuff like that - but you will be able to adapt the route if you don't quite fancy that scramble. For a more leisurely stroll - Malham Cove straight from Malham Village is a very popular route and again gives some pretty amazing views. The photos below are the order of the walk - starting in Malham.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
We parke don the road just before entering Malham Village - with a relative cheap parking cost of £1 payable into the honesty box!

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
As we enter Malham Village there are lots of quaint old buildings, shops & pubs. The footpath we take is just over the bridge to the right and then the path follows the river (which we will later meet up with upstream at Malham Cove)

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The anti-clockwise route heads for Janet's Foss initially.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Approaching Janets Foss along Gordale Beck.


Janets Foss Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Janets Foss - the first place we stop and have a drink. The waterfall caroes Gordale Beck over it - which we will follow into Gordale Scar. Traditionally the pool here was used as a sheep dip - and a quick look on wikipedia brought up this: The name Janet (sometimes Jennet) is believed to refer to a fairy queen held to inhabit a cave at the rear of the fall. Foss is a Nordic word for waterfall, still used in Scandinavia, and is presented in a number of cases in England as 'force'

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The path leads through Gordale Campsite and it's one of the most scenic campsites I've seen - I wouldn't mind coming back at some point to camp!

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
There can't be many more picture perfect places to camp than this!

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Looking over Gordale Beck into Gordale Scar.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The path is quite accessible into Gordale Scar and we pass quite a few people of various ages having a wander into the Scar.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Here the well marked path ends into a rocky floor flanked by steep Limestone cliffs over 100m high.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The view into Gordale Scar and the fun scramble up next to the waterfall that awaits


Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Just incase you weren't sure how easy the scramble is - the sign warns you it's difficult.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The fact people in front have just made it up the waterfall means we should be able to do it too :-)

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Making our way up the waterfall

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Our boots get a bit wet here - so the right footwear is essential.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The scramble is a little difficult in parts when figuring out where hands and feet should go - but if you take your time it's manageable.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales






Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Looking back down over the waterfall. A few people watched up climb up and follow - some only come this far.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
We now cross over Gordale Beck and come out the ravine towards the top left of this picture.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The second waterfall on Gordale Scar

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
After a little bit of a walk uphill the route flattens out and it's a leisurely stroll to Malham Tarn a couple of miles away.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The unique Limestone Paving of the Yorkshire Dales.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Looking back towards Great Close Scar as we approach Malham Tarn.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Malham Tarn!

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Warning - Product Placement shot :-) I was testing out this rucksack by Vango (Nanga 60+10) on this walk - if you are interested in reading the review of that - click here.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
This walk had everything - even an ice-cream van! Happy days

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
We head along part of the Pennine Way as we head towards Malham Cove

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Walking through Malham Lings

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove view via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Admiring the view on top of the stunning Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The view from Malham Cove down towards Malham Village.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Malham Cove is a pretty stunning place. As for a bit more about it: Malham Cove is a limestone formation which was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Walkin across Malham Cove's Limestone pavement

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Heading down to the base of Malham cove to get a different view of it.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
We decide to track the river and see where it comes out at

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
You can just about see the rock climbers on this pic - and there are quite a few of them. A great spot for a bit of climbing!

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
This is where the beck comes out from the cove from under a sliver of rock.


Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Now we head away from Malham Cove back to the village for a drink.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
The path finishes at the Lister Arms - so we decide to stop here for a pint. The food looked good too! With the sun out it was tempting to stay for more than one drink - but we need to get back :-) We had a great walk and I will be very tempt dot come back when I have more time and camp at Gordale Campsite for a night or two with the family.





As ever I hope you have enjoyed that little write up and photos and it inspires you to want to visit the area and give the route a go.  If you have any questions about this route - just post a comment and I'll try and answer. 

Blog Post by Stuart Hodgson, 'The Hiking Photographer'


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