The Trinnacle is a unique three columned gritstone rocky outcrop, towering above the Dovestone and Yeoman Hay reservoirs, with an adventurous trail to get to it. It had been on my radar for a while.
I actually first came to this area a few weeks ago to just walk around the reservoir. I didn’t walk up to the Trinnacle then, because I was very unwell, and the thought of hills made me nauseous. But I knew I would be back soon….
What I’m going to do in this guide, is first give you a bit of an overview of the Trinnacle Trail, with some useful tips for the walk, logistics, and a map. Then I will go on to describe the route step by step with lots of photos. At the end, I will provide my recommendations for other walks in the area.
What to expect on the walk to the Trinnacle
Lots of people. Ok, there is more to it than that, but it is a very popular place, and I did hit some traffic on the trail up the waterfall to the Trinnacle.
The walk starts off gentle, alongside the reservoirs, with wonderful views of the surrounding hills.
Then you will have a bit of an adventure up the waterfalls and river, with the option to take a dip in one of the many little pools.
When you reach the Trinnacle, you will have a wonderful view down into the valley and the reservoirs below. You will then skirt along the edge as you make your way back and then down onto the reservoir again to finish.
Is the Trinnacle trail hard?
I would rate this walk to the Trinnacle as moderate difficulty. The first part along the Dovestone Reservoir is easy. Then you have the waterfall section, which is quite a challenge. It’s a long old hike up the river and waterfall side, with lots of scrambling involved, and some very narrow bits of trail, with a drop down onto the rocks. When you reach the Trinnacle, the trail is then easy(ish) for the rest of the way.
How long is the walk?
This circular walk to the Trinnacle is just under 6 miles, and took me just over 2 hours to complete.
If you want to keep things simple and just do the reservoirs, you can read my Dovestone Reservoir Guide here.
Parking for the Trinnacle
To walk to the Trinnacle, you can park at the Dovestone Reservoir car park, which is where this trail starts. It’s fairly small, and fills up quick. I arrived at 11am on Saturday, and there was a queue for parking. Parking costs £2 for up to 4h, and is pay and display. The machine only takes contactless. There are limited free spaces up along the main road.
Tips for walking to the Trinnacle
- Definitely hiking boots. You will want them for the scramble up the waterfall.
- Try to avoid the doing this route to the Trinnacle after or during heavy rainfall. I have read that the waterfall scramble is almost impossible, and quite dangerous….
- You can still hike up to the Trinnacle in wet weather, I would just avoid this particular route. If you follow the trail in reverse, and turn back once you reach the Trinnacle, you avoid the waterfall river section.
- Take layers. It was a glorious hot day when I did it, but up on the trail along the Trinnacle, it became very windy and cold.
- If it’s the weekend, come early. The car park fills up quick. On my way out later, the entrance had been blocked off with signs saying car park full.
I actually left because I couldn’t get a space. I went on the hunt for petrol. You see, I had 1 bar left. I was already low when I left home, but figured a petrol station would present itself along the way. It didn’t.
The nearest one was about 10min away, and before I reached it, all my bars went. I had no bars left. This has never happened to me.
After a little bit of panic, and preparing myself to have to walk the rest of the way to pick up the petrol, I made it in time. After my panic had settled, I had a research of somewhere else to walk, then thought to myself, no. I didn’t come all this way to not walk to the Trinnacle. So I went back to the car park. After some more circling, I gave up again. On my way out, a guy came up to me and asked me if I wanted his space. I thank you whoever you are.
Logistics for the Trinnacle Trail
- Start/Finish: Dovestone Reservoir car park.
- Where is it: The Trinnacle is located above the Dovestone Reservoir, in the very north west side of the Peak District. The local village is Greenfield. Post code for the car park is OL3 7NE.
- Public Transport: Greenfield has a train station. From there it will be about a 40 min walk to get to the reservoir.
- Distance: 5.9 miles
- Time: 2h 15 min
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Terrain: Easy path, rocks and scrambling, dirt trail, grass
- Elevation: One big hill to hike up to the Trinnacle, one big descent, the rest of the trail is level (with some undulations).
- Amenities: Ice cream van and coffee truck in the car park. Note: These are day/time of year dependant. The first time I came here when I walked Dovestone Reservoir, the coffee truck wasn’t there. Public toilets and accessible toilets in the car park. Accessible parking (which you need a radar key for).
- Time of year: I walked the Trinnacle Trail in late spring
Map for the Trinnacle Trail
You can find my more detailed route map, for the walk to the Trinnacle on Alltrails.
For more from the Peak District, you can read about the best walks I recommend here.
How to walk the Trinnacle Trail
From the car park, head up the little hill to get to the reservoir edge. From there, take the main path on the left, and away you go. This bit is easy to follow, as you just keep going along the main path, first alongside the Dovestone Reservoir, and then alongside Yeaman Hay.
Having been here before, I knew how busy it would be, so brought my AirPods for their noise cancelling. They stayed in my ears for this whole section.
The only navigation you need to be aware of here, is when alongside Yeoman Hay. Where the trail splits, take the left one.
After Yeoman Hay, the next reservoir is Greenfield. It’s only a little one. Then when you reach the end of it, stay on the main trail straight, where you will soon get a view to the Trinnacle above in the distance.
This is also where the uphill starts, and will continue for some time.
The waterfall and river scramble
When you reach the gate, you have two options. The left or the right side of the river. I chose the right (which I later discovered was wrong). I started to become suspicious when I noticed everyone else taking the other side, but didn’t fully get it until I couldn’t go any further and had to precariously cross over the river.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s all rocks and scrambling up this bit. Sometimes there is a trail, but it can be very narrow and slanty. The ground was very dry when I was here, and even then I was a little nervous in parts, and did some bits on my bum.
There was a lot of people hanging out at the different pools, taking dips. I was a bit jealous, in my sweaty state, but I was on a mission to hike up to the Trinnacle. Plus, there were too many people for my liking.
When the river starts to level out, keep an eye out for the trail on the other side, and cross over the stones to get to it.
Walk up to the Trinnacle
When across the river, keep going up on the very rugged dirt trail, and someway up, you will see a trail leading right (second photo below).
Follow this trail, and it will soon start to lead you past some rocks, before reaching a mass of them, which is where the Trinnacle resides.
There is a little trail that you can walk to climb up the Trinnacle, but it made me a little nervous to look at. I’m at the age where I start to fear this stuff. Plus it was occupied. That’s not a place I want to be navigating around anyone else.
Leave the Trinnacle to walk along the edge
The trail leading away from the Trinnacle is quite obvious. You now follow it for some time. It’s nice and rugged, and a little muddy in parts. You won’t have any hills for now, but the trail does undulate a little.
Looking all the way along the edge with the rocky outcrops, the views along this section are quite spectacular, and my photos don’t really do it justice. The sun was extremely bright. In fact, going forwards, the photo quality is going to get worse and worse I’m afraid.
The big reservoir view
If you ever reach a trail split, keep to the right one along the edge, then when you reach the point where the trail curves to the left, you will get one of the best views down to the reservoirs.
From here, the trail actually goes sharp left, on a very narrow strip of heather trail.
Then further along you will reach another mass of rocks, with another great view down to the Dovestone Reservoir, and to the rocky edge ahead.
My initial plan was to next walk along that edge, however, it was at this point where I fell. A good old proper flying through the air type of fall, smashing my camera on the ground. My camera still worked, but I now had scratches on the lens, and was limping from a bruised and bloody leg. Feeling a little sorry for myself, I decided to head back down.
Leading up to the big rocks, the terrain is all grass, then just past the rocks you will see the trail leading all the way downhill. The way down is steep, and I was more nervous than usual, after my fall.
I also didn’t want to go all the way down to the reservoir, so decided to head to the trail you will be able to see along the side of the hill ahead (you can see it in the second photo back).
When you reach the stile, just a few meters over the other side, look out for the grass trail on the left:
This will lead you to another stile, and over the bridge.
The rocky edge
Continuing on the trail on the other side, you will be walking with the big rock edge above to your left. Interestingly, I found this section of the Trinnacle walk to be the most peaceful. I didn’t pass a single other person.
At times, the trail sort of disappears, but just keep going in the same direction, past the mass of rocks, to reach the grass trail.
When you reach the gate, don’t go through it, but instead take the grass trail just before it to the left.
The final stretch
Unfortunately, this next bit is a cheeky uphill.
After a bit more uphill than you will like, when you reach the gap in the stone wall, go up a little further, and follow the grass trail as it curves to the right. Then a short way along, you should see the trail to lead you back down to the reservoir.
As I made my way down, I started to hear the sounds of people again. People and crying babies.
I hadn’t mentioned, I had taken my AirPods out a while back. Well, I put them back in for this bit.
At the bottom, head over to the junction, and follow the big main path which will lead you to the boathouse and back to the start.
More walks near the Trinnacle
About 10min up the road, you will reach Wessenden Reservoir. If you liked the Trinnacle, I think you will enjoy this trail. You can read bout the Wessenden Reservoir here. First of all, the walk around the reservoir, is nice and rugged, with vast valley and moorland views. Then you will have a series of waterfalls, and a surprise waterfall half way through, with pools you can take a dip in. It’s much much less crowded than the Trinnacle.
The Doverstone and Yeoman Hay Reservoirs are also quite lovely to walk around on their own, if you don’t fancy the big hike up to the Trinnacle. You can read about the Dovestone circular here.
Other similar walks
If you like rocky edges, you will find a lot of them in the Peak District. A big one is Stanage Edge. That’s probably my favourite one. You can read about the Stanage Edge walk here.
If you want a trail with a mix of edge and reservoir, like with the Trinnacle, you should try Derwent Edge.
Another quite lovely one, which takes in rocky edge and mystical vibes, is the Roaches walk. That one features Lud’s Church, which is one of the top places I recommend seeing if you are out in the Peak District.
There really are so many wonderful walks out here, which you can read more about on my guide on the best walks in the Peak District here.