12 of the best Lake District mountains

Haystacks best lake district mountains

by Trail magazine |

England’s most mountainous National Park is home to so many great walking routes that it's hard to know where to start. So we've created a list of the very best Lake District mountains to choose from on your next trip.

The collection of walks below includes 12 of the Lake District highlights from our Trail 100 bucket list, with tips on the best routes to walk them by and an interactive map for each.

CLICK HERE to view the full collection of our best Lake District mountains in Komoot, or scroll download for full descriptions, photos and routes for each peak.

Pike of Stickle and the Langdale Pikes

View of the Langdale Pikes

Although firmly joined to the Langdale Pikes’ lumpen massif, the Pike of Stickle boldly pokes its head above the parapet as it watches over the head of Langdale itself. It was also the site of a Neolithic axe quarry which, if you know where to look, can still be spotted. Walk it out of the Langdale valley or the village of Elterwater for a full tour of this magical collection of peaks, with plenty of good pubs to visit when you get back down.

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Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route

Corridor route best lake district mountains

England’s highest summit is not easily won. Whichever way is taken to the summit demands an investment of time and effort, but whether it starts from Wasdale, Eskdale, Langdale or Seathwaite, it’s a journey full of epic Lakeland landscape. If you want a challenging and intriguing route that avoids the crowds, we recommend the dramatic Corridor Route from Borrowdale.

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Pillar from Ennerdale

Pillar Rock, Lake District

The broad, flat summit of Pillar is wonderfully situated above the wild Ennerdale valley to the north and Mosedale, the remote offshoot of Wasdale, to the south. The scenery is spectacular, including the monolithic Pillar Rock, whose own compact summit is the realm of climbers only. There are multiple ways to approach, but if you ascend from Ennerdale and take on the 'High Level Route' you won't be disappointed.

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The Old Man of Coniston circuit

Heading up Coniston Old Man from Low water
Heading up Coniston Old Man from Low water

Coniston Old Man is industry-scarred but remains stoical and unbowed. Towering high above the village of Coniston, it's a popular fell with good paths exploring high tarns, lofty ridges and the historical remnants of centuries of slate quarrying and copper mining. The full round from Coniston village, also taking in Swirl How and Wetherlam, is a Lakes classic.

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Bow Fell from Langdale

The Great Slab, Bow Fell
A lone figure gives scale to Bowfell's Great Slab.

Muscular and feature-packed, Bow Fell ranks among England’s very best mountains. Looming over three popular valleys – Great Langdale, Langstrath and Eskdale – it looks magisterial from all angles. Walk it from Langdale and take the climber’s traverse up the Great Slab for superlative rock scenery, with a return journey over the Langdale Pikes.

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Cat Bells and The Newlands Round

Summit of Cat Bells best lake district mountains
On the summit of Cat Bells looking over Derwent Water and Keswick to Skiddaw and Blencathra

Cat Bells is a classic Lakeland outing for young, old and everyone in-between. Sweeping aesthetically above Derwent Water with a conical profile, it is a little fell with big features: a taste of scrambling, a domed summit and stunning views of the Borrowdale and Newlands valleys. This is an extended route, also taking in the main peaks of the Newlands Round for a full taste of this awesome part of the Lakes.

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Yewbarrow from Wasdale Head

Yewbarrow best Lake District mountains

Despite being the lowest of the main Wasdale peaks, Yewbarrow is more than a match for its neighbours. Like an upturned ship’s hull, the mountain is steep-sided, craggy at either end, with a long, drawn-out summit that opens up some of the best scenery in the Lakes. This route sneaks up to the summit from the north, then descends via the long southern nose with great views of Wast Water all the way.

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Skiddaw via Longside Edge

Skiddaw best lake district mountains

This northern fell is a sprawling beast that looks like an up-turned jelly. What it lacks in intricacy it makes up for with sheer presence. The Back o’ Skiddaw is wild and remote (and home to England’s highest hostel), and its summit, while barren and rocky, presents a phenomenal view of Lakeland to the south. The absolute best way to climb it is via the lonely spur of Longside Edge with big views over Bassenthwaite.

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High Stile from Ennerdale

High Stile is the highest point of the eye-catching ridge above Buttermere. Traversing this ridge – the Buttermere Edge – should not be rushed. It’s a place to linger: find a rocky outcrop and savour the panoramas over the Buttermere Valley and its wild neighbour Ennerdale. This route approaches from the wilds of Ennerdale, keeping away from the crowds until you reach the high fells.

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Helvellyn via Striding Edge

Helvellyn via Striding Edge
Enjoying the views and exposure on one of Striding Edge's rocky outcrops.

Helvellyn is home to a horseshoe ridge of legendary quality. First comes Striding Edge, a knife-edge arête with a tightrope path edging along the crest, before bagging the summit and completing your high-level loop of Red Tarn via Swirral Edge. This route starts from Glenridding, traverses both edges and also bags the summit of Catsycam on the way back.

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Haystacks from Buttermere

Haystacks from the NW ridge of Fleetwith Pike Lake District Photos Tom Bailey.JPG
©Tom Bailey

Alfred Wainwright’s favourite fell and final resting place, Haystacks is a place where rocky, craggy coarseness meets the quaint charm of tarns and streams in perfect harmony. Alf described the peak as a ‘wonderful cure’ to the everyday worries of life. If you’re feeling stressed, go climb it. This circular route from Buttermere takes in Warnscale Bottom on the way up and Scarth Gap on the way down. Lakeland perfection.

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Great Gable from Borrowdale

Britain's greatest scrambles: Threading Napes Needle, Great Gable

A rugged mass of rock and crags and cliffs, Great Gable is an unbroken, devilish pyramid from the south; the dome of a sleeping, curled-up giant from the north. It is a spiritual place too, its summit adorned with a poignant war memorial. Approaching from Seathwaite and taking in Green Gable along the way, this is a long and spectacular walk.

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CLICK HERE to view the full collection of our best Lake District mountains in Komoot.

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