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Six of the Best Dog-Friendly Walks In The Lake District

Jun 2023, by Gareth

If you love spectacular dog walks, the Lake District is made for you. Stay at one of our luxury dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District, which are perfect for large groups, and try out our pick of the best dog walks. We’ve ranked them in order of how challenging they are, from easy dog walks for a pleasant stroll, through to scrambles up and down the mountains for energetic dogs and their adventurous owners.

840 Dog Friendly Lake District

1. Tarn Hows, Coniston – enjoy an easy waterside dog walk

This circular walk around the tarn takes very little effort, which means you can focus your attention on the pretty landscape around you. This includes ever-changing woodlands where you may even spot a red squirrel, glimpses of the Langdale peaks in the background and, of course the calm, still waters of the tarn itself. You can follow a well-maintained path and there are two Tramper mobility scooters available to hire for people with limited mobility.

  • Start/Finish: Tarn Hows Car Park, LA22 0PP
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Highlights: Pretty landscape, accessible, the possibility of red squirrels
  • Level: Very easy; well-maintained, wide path and small inclines
Tarn Hows, Coniston

2. Dodd Summit, Skiddaw, Keswick – big views for a small(ish) effort

Dodd Fell is a foothill in the Skiddaw mountain range. With relatively easy, waymarked paths to the top through Dodd Wood, this is an enjoyable dog walk that rewards you with amazing 360-degree views that take in Keswick, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake. On a good day, you can see across the Solway Firth to Scotland. The walk starts and finishes by the Old Sawmill Tearoom where you can tuck into some well-earned tea and cake when you descend.

  • Start/Finish: Dodd Wood car park CA12 4QE
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Highlights: Look out for the ospreys, one of only four nesting pairs in northern England
  • Level: Easy: a steep start but a well-maintained path
Dodd Summit, Skiddaw, Keswick

3. Elterwater Waterfalls, Ambleside - see waterfalls and caves

This 5.9-mile circular walk is a relatively easy way to get close to a couple of tumbling waterfalls. This walk is rewarding whether you are a fair-weather walker or an experienced hiker. From the car park, it follows Great Langdale Beck and skirts the shoreline of Elterwater, for your first waterfall, Skelwith Force. The second waterfall is Colwith Force at the River Brathay. Carry on to the caves of Cathedral Cavern before heading back along the valley to the car park at Elterwater. With all the excitement of waterfalls and caves, it’s wise to keep the dog on a lead for this walk.

  • Start/Finish: Elterwater car park, LA22 9HU
  • Distance: 5.9 miles
  • Highlights: Waterfalls, high-ceilinged caves
  • Level: Moderately easy, some walking on roads
Elterwater Waterfalls, Ambleside

4. Tarn trail, Grizedale Forest – a rewarding forest and lake walk

Grizedale is a picturesque forest with walks for all abilities. The Tarn trail is a great choice for a medium difficulty walk with the dog, which follows an old road from the visitor centre up to the natural mountain lake in Grizedale. Apart from the nature and wildlife and the towering trees, you also pick up part of the sculpture trail, with some wonderful artworks. If you and the dog are feeling full of energy and ready for a bigger challenge, the Silurian Way is the ultimate Grizedale dog walk. It’s a 10-mile walk which takes you to the top of Carron Crag, the highest point in the forest. The Visitor Centre has a café, toilets and a play park for the children.

  • Start/Finish: Grizedale Visitor Centre, LA22 0QJ
  • Distance: 5.9. miles
  • Highlights: Sculpture trail, forest heaven for the dog
  • Level: Moderate; waymarked path
Tarn Trail, Grizedale Forest

5. Walla Crag, Keswick – discover the Lake District’s top beauty spot

The Walla Crag dog walk starts in the bustle of Keswick’s Market square and takes you to a summit high above, where you can congratulate yourself as you look back at your starting place. From this high point, you have fabulous views of Keswick, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake. This six-mile walk is all that’s good about the Lake District, taking in those views and the beauty spot of Ashness Bridge. It seems fitting that you pass by a stone that marks 100 years of the National Trust, which cares for many of these landscapes. Back down in Keswick, there are plenty of dog-friendly Lake District pubs and cafes where you can enjoy a bite to eat while you look at your photographs.

  • Start/Finish: Market Square, Keswick, CA12 5JR
  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Highlights: Stunning summit views, Ashness Bridge – possibly the most photographed spot in the Lake District
  • Level: Moderately challenging; some steep hills and rocky paths
Walla Crag, Keswick

6. Stickle Tarn trail, Langdale – tough, but worth the challenge

Stickle Tarn trail is a Lake District dog walk for experienced walkers and hardy dogs. This out-and-back walk is only 1.9 miles but don’t let the short distance fool you. The steep path leads away from the car park and presents some rocky outcrops to scramble up (and down on the way back). Your reward? Waterfalls and rock pools on the slopes, Stickle Tarn at the summit, and fantastic views over Langdale.

  • Start/Finish: Stickle Ghyll car park: LA22 9JU
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Highlights: Stickle tarn, a great variety of birds and butterflies in the summer
  • Level: Challenging; rocky and uneven terrain but a well-defined path
Stickle Tarn Trail, Langdale

Stay in a luxury dog-friendly cottage in the lake District

The Lake District is one of the best locations for a UK break, particularly if you’re bringing the dogs. Our Lake District dog walks give just a tiny flavour of the countless walks you can find. If you’re planning a big family get together or visiting the Lake District in a large group, have a look at our luxury dog-friendly cottages in The Lake District. Get in touch if you would like some help choosing the perfect accommodation for your group.