From the Yorkshire town of Ilkley, all the way to Bowness in the Lake District, the Dales Way covers 84 miles (135 km) through the North York Moors on quality running trails.

There are several testing hills as you cross two national parks, taking in classic moorland and the much-loved lumps of the Lake District. Enjoy classic Yorkshire countryside, singing rivers, dreamy dales and old stonewalls.

dales Way Signpost

Start with a long rise and fall through the moors, with smaller hills to tackle towards the end. Muddy your running shoes in two of England's finest national parks.

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Map of the dales Way

Route facts

  • Length 78 miles (125 km)
  • Ascent 7454 ft (2272 m)
  • High point 1726 ft (526 m)
  • Ascent per km 18 m
  • Start and Finish
  • Ilkley/Bowness-on-Windermere
  • Grade
  • Easy to Strenuous  
  • Season
  • 8th April to 14th October

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  • Meadows near the Wharfe

    Meadows near the Wharfe, taken by Deborah Jackson.

  • Wharfedale

    Wharfedale Countryside, taken by Andrew Flowerday.

  • Views over fields from Sutton Bank on the dales Way

    Arten Gill Viaduct on Settle-Carlisle line, taken by Andy Flowerday.

Trail profile

dales Way Profile

Itineraries

3 nights
2 days running

Grade: Strenuous

Ilkley

69 km (43 miles) and 1326 m (4350 ft) ascent

Dent

56 km (35 miles) and 992 m (3255 ft) ascent

Bowness-On-Windermere

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Tour code: TDAW-1

Price £310 per person

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4 nights
3 days running

Grade: Challenging

Ilkley

43 km (27 miles) and 724 m (2375 ft) ascent

Buckden

43 km (27 miles) and 751 m (2464 ft) ascent

Sedbergh

39 km (24.5 miles) and 838 m (2749 ft) ascent

Bowness-On-Windermere

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Tour code: TDAW-2

Price £365 per person

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5 nights
4 days running

Grade: Moderate

Ilkley

26 km (16 miles) and 399 m (1309 ft) ascent

Grassington

28 km (17.5 miles) and 520 m (1706 ft) ascent

Oughtershaw

32 km (20 miles) and 550 m (1804 ft) ascent

Sedbergh

39 km (24.5 miles) and 838 m (2749 ft) ascent

Bowness-On-Windermere

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Tour code: TDAW-3

Price £425 per person

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6 nights
5 days running

Grade: Easy

Ilkley

26 km (16 miles) and 399 m (1309 ft) ascent

Grassington

28 km (17.5 miles) and 520 m (1706 ft) ascent

Oughtershaw

24 km (15 miles) and 457 m (1499 ft) ascent

Dent

26 km (16 miles) and 490 m (1608 ft) ascent

Patton Bridge

21 km (13 miles) and 437 m (1434 ft) ascent

Bowness-On-Windermere

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Tour code: TDAW-4

Price £465 per person

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Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are running on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo Runner Supplement: £40 per person / per night
  • Single Supplement: £35 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard): £55 per person / per night

The price you pay includes:

  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.

Air

The most convenient major cities and international airports are Leeds-Bradford and Manchester. There is a regular train service from Manchester Airport to Ilkley (2 hours 20 minutes)

Rail

There is a railway station at the start of the trail (Ilkley) and at the end of the trail (Windermere)

From London – There are regular trains from London Kings Cross to Ilkley (journey time approximately 3.5 hours) and from Windermere to Kings Cross (5.5 hours).

Car

For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Returning to the start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail (Ilkley) is by taking a train from Windermere railway station to Ilkley. Alternatively, you can take a train from Windermere to Leeds railway station, changing at Manchester Piccadilly and completing the journey by bus.
Taking an extra night is the perfect way to extend your trail running holiday and give yourself extra time to relax and explore the Yorkshire Dales, as there is plenty to discover and enjoy at each location along the trail.

Grassington is a delightful village with traditional cottages, pubs and shops surrounding a cobbled market square, making it a very popular choice for a rest day. The village’s longest-serving outdoor clothing and equipment shop, The Mountaineer, is perfect if you need to replenish your running kit, otherwise feel free to explore Grassington’s many little alleyways and hidden gems while you relax and prepare for your next stint out on the trail.

Alternatively, Buckden is a village and civil parish worth exploring on a rest day; an attractive jumble of stone cottages perched on the hillside with fantastic views over the River Wharfe. In the centre of the village sits Buckden Palace, a former residence of the bishops of Lincoln between the 12th and 19th centuries and host to a number of Kings of England who have stayed there, making this just one of many interesting local landmarks to visit. Take a gentle recovery jog around the local area and see what you can discover.

Dent is also worth considering for a rest day. This lovely village complements the surrounding dales wonderfully, with its narrow cobbled streets, quaint shops and ancient church to explore. As well as this, Dent is well-known for its annual music and beer festival at the end of June, and nearby in Cowgill is the independent Dent microbrewery, meaning this area is great for enjoying a locally-produced drink in one of its traditional inns.

At the end of the trail, Bowness-on-Windermere provides a perfect base from which to explore the southern Lake District after completing your running holiday. By spending an extra day in this sprawling tourist town, you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the various sights and attractions on offer. In particular, Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the main centres of outdoor activities in the UK and boasts a wide variety of activity options, including sailing, kayaking and other water sports out on the lake. With such a variety of things to do, a stay in Bowness-on-Windermere will ensure your holiday finishes on a high note.

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