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Kinder Scout
Sunrise at Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout is the highest peak in the Peak District National Park. It provides some of the most spectacular views over the rolling hills and shows off a different landscape from what’s on offer elsewhere. If you’re looking for a Kinder Scout route from Hayfield that is challenging yet rewarding and leads beside Kinder Reservoir and Kinder Waterfall, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before you head out on this hike.

I’ll cover all of the key details about the route and let you know how to get there and what to expect on the day.

You’ll also find some alternative hiking trails, a route map, some information about the facilities and some suggestions on where to stay.

I’ve put an FAQ at the end of the guide, however, if you have any questions then pop them in the comments box if there’s anything I’ve missed.

Kinder Scout route details

Kinder Reservoir

Disance | The distance of this walk is just under 14 kilometres.

This is a great middle-distance walk for those looking to push themselves when it comes to time of their feet.

Duration | It takes most walkers around 4 hours to complete this circuit.

However, for us, this took around 5 hours as we tend to spend a while taking pictures and stop for a bite to eat.

Difficulty | This walk is certainly no mean feat, however, it’s not unachievable for the novice hiker.

There is a super steep section at the start of this walk but once that’s out the way, it’s a relaxing hike across the top of a rocky surface.

The descent is tough on the knees due to the steepness, however, it’s short-lived.

Elevation | The elevation of this walk is just over 600 meters, all of which is covered in just a couple of kilometres.

It’s a tough one to tackle for sure, but the views are worth the short-lived pain and it’s great to know that you’ve ticked off the highest peak in the Peak District!

How to get to Kinder Scout

Road in the Peak District

By car | As with every walk in the Peak District National Park, the best way to reach the trailhead is by car.

The majority of the area is made up of small country roads which span across the rolling hills, so getting anywhere by public transport is going to take much longer than if you were to travel by car.

If you need to rent a car for your trip, then are a great platform to rent through. They always have the best deals which save heaps of time checking out every provider individually.

Kinder Scout Parking: SK22 2LE

The postcode above will take you to a road where you’ll see a lot of cars parked for free.

However, if you’re not comfortable with this, then there is a car park a little further down the road called Bowden Bridge Car Park.

Bowden Bridge Car Park: SK22 2LH

By bus | If you’re getting the bus to the trailhead of this route then you’ll need to head to Hayfield – most likely by bus number 358.

The walk starts near here and buses pass through here from some of the well-known villages around the Peak District.

For further information then check out the Peak District Bus Timetable ahead of your trip.

Alternatively, you can check Rome2Rio – my favourite platform that makes it super simple to understand the best way to get from A to B.

If you’re heading here in summer and think the bus might be the option for you, then it’s worth checking out The Hope Valley Explorer ticket.

This will give you some good bang for your buck and contributes to fewer cars on the road around the National Park during its busiest period.

Train in the countryside

By train | The train isn’t really an option when getting to the trailhead of this walk.

However, if you’re coming from larger locations such as Manchester or Sheffield, then you can hop on the train to Chapel-en-le-Frith or Edale and take the 358 bus from there.

Check prices: trainline

What to expect on the day of the Kinder Scout route from Hayfield

The walk begins in the nearby village of Hayfield – your typical Peak District village perched on the hillside with a couple of cute coffee shops and a pub.

The route leads a gentle incline along a woodland path.

You’ll reach a point where the trees disperse and there is a moment of rest as the route flattens.

This isn’t for long, as you’ll soon begin to climb the steps towards Kinder Scout Reservoir.

The route leads around the reservoir for some time and offers some fantastic views that are well worth taking a break for to snap some pictures.

The image shows a bridge crossing the river.
The image shows Kinder Scout Reservoir.

As you arrive at the small bridge which crossed the Kinder Scout Reservoir, the route begins to get tough as you begin your climb to the summit.

Although this steep incline doesn’t cover too much distance, the time it takes to reach the top soon adds up as your pace will drop significantly.

Once you’ve made it to the top, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the best views over the Peak District National Park for quite some time as the route leads across the top of the rocky summit.

The image shows Kinder Scout waterfall.
The image shows a view in the Peak District.

Along the way, you’ll pass Kinder Scout Waterfall which topples over the summit and cascades it’s way down the valley.

Many people use this section to take a break and sit on top of the rocks with a bite to eat or drink.

It’s then time to head to the Kinder Low which is the plateau of Kinder Scout.

The walk is quite undulating at this point and the surface can be quite unstable.

You’ll see plenty of trail runners up here who clearly seem to love the technical footwork coupled with the excellent views.

The image shows the trail from Kinder Low.
The image shows Kinder Low trail.

Once you’ve passed the trig point, the walk slowly begins to descend.

It’s a gentle descent until the point where you’ll take a sharp right. From here, there are some very steep and rocky steps to navigate down carefully.

If you’re not too steady on your feet, you may want to consider taking some hiking poles to use for this section of the walk.

Once you’ve made it to the bottom of Kinder Scout, the route continues to descend across multiple fields before arriving at a country lane.

From here, you’ll follow the road alongside the river all the way back to the car park.

Hiking route map

The image shows the view from the top of the Kinder scout walk.

One of my favourite platforms to use for hiking maps is Alltrails since you can download the maps ahead of time for offline use.

I’ve created this one for you to use on the day.

Route map: Kinder Scout and Kinder Low from Hayfield

Facilities along the trail

Unfortunately, the Peak District isn’t a destination where you have little huts and restaurants dotted along many of the routes.

However, quite often they do have pretty good toilets and car parks at the beginning and the end of popular trails, which is exactly what you’ll find here.

If you’re looking for somewhere to swing by for lunch or dinner, then I’d recommend The Pack Horse in Hayfield.

Best time to hike Kinder Scout

The image shows flowers and hills in the Peak District National Park.

To get the best experience on this hike, you’ll want to pick your time very carefully.

Being the highest peak, it’s super exposed and so you’ll want to pick a day when it’s not too windy.

If possible, you’ll also want to avoid weekends during the summer months, as a lot of people head on hiking trips during this time and it can be a challenge to get a car parking spot.

If you can, then I’d recommend heading to Kinder Scout outside of June – September and preferably on a weekday, and when the weather is decent.

I know, that’s a lot to ask for!

Alternative routes

Sunrise on the Kinder Scout route

Whilst I think this is a pretty epic route, I know some people may be looking for something slightly easier or harder.

Below are some alternative options which I looked into ahead of this walk which may be more suitable for you.

Easy Kinder Scout hiking route

The Hayfield and Kinder Scout Circular is about as easy as it gets when you’re trying to conquer the highest peak in the area.

It covers just over 400 meters of elevation rather 600 and is around 3 kilometres shorter that the route which I chose.

It’s not exactly easy, but it’s certainly the easiest route to Kinder Scout that you will find. The only annoying thing is that this one missed out on Kinder Reservoir, which is a shame.

Route map: Hayfield and Kinder Scout Circular

Alternatively, if you’ve decided that perhaps Kinder Scout is a little daunting, but you’d still like to hike around this area and look up to the summit, then Kinder Reservoir Cicular may be more suitable.

This route is just under 7 kilometres and only covers 263 meters of elevation.

It’s up and down most of the way, but nothing too steep. You’ll also get to enjoy the stunning views of Kinder Reservoir, too.

Route map: Kinder Resveroir Circular

Hard Kinder Scout hiking route

If you’re looking to really challenge yourself then following the Kinder Long Circular is a similar accent to the loop I did, but it extends the walk at the summit which will give you another 4 kilometres on your feet.

Route map: Kinder Long Circular

What to wear for hiking in the Peak District


If you’re hiking in the Peak District in summer then you can expect to be wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and during the winter, you’ll need lots of layers, including a hat, scarf and gloves. Either side of that, you’ll need clothing somewhere in the middle and want to pack extra layers, just in case.

Regardless of what time of year your hiking, you’ll need a solid pair of hiking boots and if you’ve got them, then a pair of poles would be handy.

Whilst Kinder Scout is relatively high, the only real change in temperature will come from the additional wind exposure.

It’s not like Ben Nevis or Snowdon where you see drastic changes from the bottom to the top.

Where to stay near Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park

  • Edale is the obvious place to stay near this trail. It’s about 20 minutes from the starting point and is a sweet little village thats got everything you’ll need for a few days hiking in the Peak District National Park.

  • Hathersage is a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere slightly more atmospheric and don’t mind travelling a little bit further, then Hathersage is another great choice. It’s somewhere that’s always bustling with people and is filled with lots of cute pubs and cafes.

    Parking can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare, so often you’re best bet is to find a residential road not too far away and walk to the main high street.


The image shows the rugged surface of Kinder Scout.
The image shows the view from Kinder Scout summit.

  • Can children walk Kinder Scout?

    If your child is relatively fit and used to hiking, then they should be absolutely fine on this route. As long as you stick to the trail, there are no real dangerous sections which should cause concern.

  • Is this hike dog friendly?

    Similar to the above answer, most dogs will absolutely love this route. There are a few sections at the summit where you’ll most likely want to put them on the lead, but this won’t be for too long. There are also no main roads around here to worry about.

  • Is Kinder Scout a hill or a mountain?

    Kinder Scout is a hill rather than a mountain, but at times it will sure feel like you’re climbing a mountain.

  • Can you see Manchester from Kinder Scout?

    If you’re lucky enough to be hiking on a clear day, then you will be able to see Manchester, as well as Snowdonia in Wales.

  • Does this route go past Mermaid Pools?

    No this route does not go past Mermaid Pools, however it can easily be included with a slight diversion. Personally I didn’t do this, but that was only because I spotted it glistening down below once I have missed my opportunity. If I were to go back I would definitely take the detour, as it looked like a great wild swimming spot with awesome views.

Explore the Peak District further

The image shows the Peak District.

Over the last year we’ve spent tonnes of time in the Peak District National Park and it’s been awesome. If you’re interested in doing more than this Kinder Scout route, then below are some of our other favourite hikes which are nearby.

Stay Wild Travels.

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