This walk in the Yorkshire Dales takes you from Settle, to Jubilee cave, Victoria Cave, Attermire Scar, and Scaleber Force waterfall, before heading back.
My main reason for doing this walk was to see Scaleber Force Waterfall, however, that turned out to be my least favourite part of the walk. In fact, it felt like an unnecessary detour, and if I was to do it again, I would skip it.
Why I wasn’t keen on the walk to Scaleber Force Waterfall
To get to Scaleber Force Waterfall, involved walking on road, then back again on the same road. If you look on my map, it’s the random line that comes off the main trail. It just didn’t feel like it fit in with this particular route. Also….
The photos I found online make it look so much better. I much preferred the Valley of Desolation Waterfall.
Saying that, I’m not sure that I gave Scaleber Force waterfall a proper chance. I only saw it from up top. To get down to it involved walking on a steep muddy strip of trail, with a drop. It was raining and I didn’t feel safe to do that.
Read more: Tips for rainy wet weather hiking
However, just because it wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be for you. What I will do is show you what it’s like so you can make your own mind up. I will also show you an alternate route to take if you decide to skip the waterfall.
What I did like about the Settle caves and waterfall walk
Everything else. The rest of the walk was so much better. Through wonderful landscape, with peaks and limestone outcrops.
I particularly enjoyed walking through Attermire Scar, which is an impressive limestone crag.
The landscape reminded me a little of the Malham Cove circular. It’s actually fairly near here, so it makes sense.
Parking in Settle
There are a few car parks. I parked in Ashfield Car Park. You can pay contactless. It’s reasonably priced. It cost me just under £3 for 3 hours. There is Greenfoot car park, however, it seemed to be closed off when I got there. There is also car parking at the station.
- Start/Finish: Settle – I started in Ashfield Car Park
- How to get there: Located in the south west area of the Yorkshire Dales. If you don’t have a car, there is also a train line. The station is aptly called Settle. It’s about 1h direct from Leeds, or 1h40min from Carlisle.
- Distance: Just under 7 miles
- Time: 2h 40min (with little break)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Terrain: Grass, mud, dirt, trail, a bit of road, ladders, hills.
- Amenities: In Settle you have car parks, a small Co-op, Boothes, numerous pubs/cafes/restaurants.
- Time of year: I did this in winter
- Dog Friendly: Not so much – There are a couple of ladders which I think a dog would find tricky. Then the road leading towards the waterfall.
Tips for the Settle caves and Waterfall Walk
- Hiking boots. This won’t be fun in trainers.
- If you are staying in Settle, then skip the waterfall, and just walk to it a more direct way another time. It’s actually practically on the road, and there are a couple of roadside spaces you can park at to see it.
- Keep your eyes open for Victoria Cave. I missed it and had to turn back. It’s not on the main trail. I will show you when I describe the walk below.
Map for the Settle caves and waterfall walk
You can find my more detailed Settle caves and waterfall route map on Alltrails.
For more local walking ideas, check out my route recommendations around Yorkshire Dales National Park here.
A guide to the Settle Caves and waterfall walk
First you want to make your way to the main square. If you are starting from Ashfield car park, look towards a big hill (see photo below), then walk along the alley way.
Once you reach the main road, turn left to reach the square.
If coming from the station, follow the road out to reach Station road, then turn right. At the end of that road, turn left and keep going to reach the square.
At the square, walk around the left of it, past the co-op, and follow the road up the hill.
When you reach the junction (photo below) take the right one to walk up a dirt track.
You now have a hefty uphill.
Walk up the hill
Keep going up, up, and up some more, through the wooden gate, then follow the track along the bottom of the hill field. Keeping the stone wall to your left.
Some way along, there will be a gate to the left of the track. I missed it initially, and only realised something was wrong when I was walking up a hill and noticed people walking on a trail in the field below me, on the other side of the stone wall.
At this point I had already walked uphill a bit and would be damned if I had to go back. So I continued walking up, in hopes there would be a gap in the stone wall, so I could get over there. Once the trail started taking me back in the opposite direction, I admitted defeat and went back.
Keep going through the fields
Following the correct trail, and through another gate (or two. Not sure exactly. They all merge in to one at some point), you should reach a large field, with a view ahead to an impressive cliff.
I looked on my map to see what that was, but couldn’t find anything.
The trail you now want to take is up and slightly to the right. See the group of trees ahead in the photo below, you want to head over to those.
Once through the gate on the other side, there will be an obvious muddy dirt track to follow, which will lead you to another wooden gate and more field walking on the other side.
Keep going until you reach the road.
Walk to Jubilee Cave
Go through the gate, onto the road, and turn right. Once over the cattle grid, a short way along, turn left off the path and into the field, where you should be able to make out a grass trail. Now follow this all the way.
Up until this point between Settle and the first cave, the walk had been nice, with lovely views to all the fields and hills in the distance. Nothing special though. Now things are about to change.
Walking along here, the trail will undulate, with really cool, unusual shaped hills ahead and to the right.
When you reach the grass trail junction, take the right one which will lead you to the ladder.
Over the ladder, if you look ahead to the left, you should see Jubilee Cave. Now go have a look.
I only peaked inside, staying firmly outside. I like caves but don’t like to venture too far into them. Spiders live in caves.
Walk to Victoria Cave
To walk to the next cave, you need to follow the path. Follow it in the direction of straight ahead if standing with your back to the cave.
Following this path, when it goes through the stone wall, don’t follow it. Instead, head over to the left, through a different gate.
You will now be walking on a gravel trail, with the stone wall to your right, and a steep hill to the left, with a wonderful view of all the craggy hills.
It is when walking along here, that you need to keep your eye out for Victoria Cave. It will be up the hill on the left.
I missed it and had to turn back.
Walk to Attermire Scar
Back onto the trail, keep following it and through another gate, then onto a grass trail.
After a little while, it will start to take you downhill, and then onto a gravelly dirt trail. Keep going down, then through a gate in the stone wall on the right.
Once through the gate, keep going down some more, following the grass trail as it then curves to the right around the hill.
You will now be walking alongside Attermire Scar. This was my favourite bit.
Keep on the trail with the stone wall to your left, over a wooden ladder, to reach a gap in the stone wall.
Walk back to Settle or the waterfall
To walk back to Settle, if you stay on this trail (without going through the stone wall), it will lead you all the way back to the start of the fields from the start. From there, if you turn left, you will reach Settle.
To walk to the waterfall, turn left through the hole in the stone wall.
Walk to the waterfall
Through the wall, you want to head towards that pointy hill ahead, and walk around the right side of it.
As you are walking along the side of the pointy hill, you should see a stone wall ahead. Walk towards that, and then along the grassy trail alongside it.
Once you reach the wall, you will walk downhill a little more, with lovely views to the hills and fields in the distance.
At the gate with a wooden ladder, go over the ladder, and continue straight down the road.
At the road junction, turn left and keep walking along here for a bit…well, for a bit longer than is enjoyable.
It is a nice road though, and not busy with cars, but at this point, I was kind of wishing I was back in the fields. I had this feeling that the waterfall wouldn’t be that good. Like I had made a mistake coming this way. But it was too late now. The waterfall would be next
Scaleber Force Waterfall
When you reach the mini gate and stone steps in the stone wall, go through there, and the waterfall will be on your left.
I forgot to mention, it had been raining on me for much of the walk. On and off. Once I reached the waterfall, it was on again.
There is a dirt trail here that you can follow to take you down to the waterfall, but as I started to make my way down it, it became a lot steeper, muddier, thinner. It was all too slippy for my liking. With a big drop. So I abandoned that idea.
After a very short time at the waterfall, I turned to walk back to Settle. A little annoyed that I had wasted my time with this one….and prolonged my rain exposure.
Walk back to Settle
On the road, turn back the way you came. Keep going, past the junction you got here on, then when you see the wooden trail signpost (photo below), follow it onto a dirt track.
Follow this for a bit, alongside the stone walls, and past the ruins.
When you reach the trail signpost directing you into the field on the right, follow it.
Keep going along the main grass trail, which leads you to some stone wall steps on the other side, then keep going some more.
This will lead you to a wooden ladder, or big hole in the wall.
At this point, you should be able to see Settle below to the right.
Through the wall, keep going down, and at the bottom of the field, turn right onto a track. This will lead you through a wooden gate.
Go down some more to reach the road, with some stone shed buildings. Turn right onto this road, and it will lead you back down to the town.
More local walking ideas
Simon’s Seat and the Valley of Desolation – This one has some of the best views I have seen out here in the Yorkshire Dales, and finishes off with a wonderful waterfall.
Malham cove via Gordale Scar – Very nearby. Much much busier though. It’s one of the most well known routes out here, so you can imagine it draws in the crowds.
Pen-y-Ghent – Another one with fantastic views. It’s much tougher though, and involves scrambling. I loved it.
Burnsall to Grassington – A lovely, easy walk along a river, with a few stepping stones and suspension bridge thrown in. You then have the option of walking back along the river, or higher up along the hill top for some wonderful views.
If you like waterfalls, then you might like the Aysgarth Falls. It’s a series of three waterfalls, and if you follow this route, there are some cool stepping stones thrown in.
Bolton Abbey via the Strid – This one is very pretty, along a river, and through Strid Wood.
Hardraw Force is another waterfall you could check out. You do have to pay for this one, which I have thoughts about. I think it would be much more suited to a family day out, than for me.
For a more detailed comparison, and lots more route recommendations, you check out my best of the Yorkshire Dales guide.