Hike the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Yorkshire Three Peaks
North Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s Three Peaks Challenge is the ultimate Yorkshire adventure with some 250,000 people challenging themselves every year to complete the 26-mile arduous hike spanning Yorkshire’s three highest mountains in 12 hours or less. The combination of distance, several steep accents and descents and the none-stop nature of the challenge make it a tough rewarding one.

The mountains of Whernside (2,415 ft), Ingleborough (2,372 ft) and Pen-y-ghent (2,277 ft) circle the heads of the valleys of the River Ribble and of Chapel-le-Dale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with nearly 5,249 ft of ascent and descent.

Some choose to climb each peak individually, taking a day to complete one at a time. And then there those who challenge themelves to do all three peaks in 12 hours or less.

There’s a mix of big organised groups participating in the challenge as a fund-raising effort for charities, and then those who choose to complete it alone or in smaller groups. Some even crazier folk choose to run it! The route, which forms part of the Pennine Way, is open all year round. You can rock up, park your car and complete it at your own pace.

There are a couple of camp sites at the beginning for those wishing to make a weekend of it or who might want to take on each peak one day at a time. There are also a handful of bunk barns and places to crash en-route, again for those who want to break the challenge up. These places are few and far between so we would absolutely recommend booking in advance.

What our editor says:

“We’re not going to lie to you… the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is every bit as tough as it sounds. That toughness comes with ample reward though – or at least for those who have trained well (failing to do so means you may succeed, but you’ll likely be aching for days later.

“When we completed the route, we sat in a pub in Horton and savoured glasses of celebratory red as we releases our sore, swollen feet from our walking boots and replaced our footwear with flip flops. We soon forgot about the pain our bodies were in, and focussed on the huge achievement that each one of us had just accomplished.”

Best for:

Those looking for an exacting but doable challenge that will leave them with a warm glow on completion.

top tip:

Invest in walking poles – climbing up the peaks is hard, but getting back down them is harder and incredibly harsh on the hips and knees due to very loose terrain and steep inclines. Poles will help take the pressure off of your legs and will also help to steady you and prevent you from injury.


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