Climbing Scafell Pike
Scafell Pike, at 978 metres, is England's highest mountain and war memorial, cared for by the National Trust as a result of a gift after the war. Thousands of people enjoy Scafell Pike each year with Fix the Fells working year round to manage footpaths and care for the fragile montane habitat. The climb to the top should not be underestimated so, to have the best experience, plan ahead, use a map and compass and check mountain weather conditions before setting off.
We've been seeing unprecedented numbers of visitors hiking up Scafell Pike this year and the local mountain rescue teams have been under extreme pressure. Scafell Pike will always be here and there are many other equally exciting, beautiful and much quieter routes. Could you save this adventure for another day?
What's it like?
Climbing Scafell Pike is a serious undertaking and should not be underestimated. Whichever route you take, it's a tough, steep hike which involves scrambling over hard terrain. Planning and preparation are key whatever the season - there could be high winds, rain, snow, extreme cold or poor visibility. So, check the mountain forecast, have the right clothing and equipment and know how to use it. Use the links below for advice from the Mountain Rescue.
It's not only England’s highest mountain but also our highest war memorial, given to the National Trust in memory of those who died in WW1 so that people would have the freedom to enjoy the mountains.
Where should I park?
Follow the signs and park at Lake Head, a pay and display car park, grid reference NY 182 074. National Trust members park for free. Please endeavour to lift share - the valley road is very narrow and frequently busy.
What facilities are available?
There are basic, temporary toilet facilities at Lake Head car park. Construction has started on new visitor facilities. Installing permanent toilets in this highly sensitive location is complex and costly but these will hopefully be completed for spring 2020.
We make every effort to maintain facilities but heavy overnight use can cause problems, and sometimes the toilets are not as clean as we'd like them to be. The last opportunity for public toilets are at the car park in Gosforth and in Eskdale Green (seasonal) and it may be worth scheduling a stop to use the facilities before driving down to Wasdale Head.
Can I bring my dog?
Well-behaved dogs are welcome and many will enjoy a long day out climbing Scafell Pike as much as their humans. It's likely to be a long and tiring day across rocky terrain so climbing Scafell Pike is particularly suitable for dogs used to long walks in the fells. If your dog is not used to the fells then it is perhaps worth trying a few lower, introductory fells before trying Scafell Pike. Please follow local and seasonal guidance; and where livestock are grazing please keep dogs on leads. For safety please keep your dog on the lead in the car parks.
Scafell Pike is a very fragile environment and is under pressure from hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Please stick to the footpaths as shortcutting causes serious erosion.
Although it may look like the mountain and the paths look after themselves they don’t, and in fact they are in constant need of management and repair. The National Trust (together with Fix the Fells) provides ongoing remedial work to reduce erosion, protect the natural environment and ensure future generations continue to enjoy this much-loved mountain.
You can help us to care for the mountain by making a donation or volunteering - see the links below.