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Best hidden waterfalls in the Lake District

Updated: Mar 11

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track waterfalls scattered across the Lake District.


The Lake District is at the very top of every hikers to-hike bucket list. Whilst the Lakes offer amazing mountains to climb and explore, you'd be amazed at how many explorers don't know about the waterfalls hidden away amongst nature and the mountains. Some of these waterfalls can even be swam in!


In this article, we share our top 10 hidden waterfalls in the Lake District and what to expect from them. So sit back and take some notes for your next Lake District adventure!





Skelwith Force is a stunning spot in the Lake District, with nature showing off its beauty and power. Visitors can enjoy a selection of natural waterfalls with some amazing scenery around it, and is easily accessible from the footpath. It's family friendly and we definitely recommend a visit to those in the area.


Skelwith Force really is a gorgeous location, and you'll have to walk a beautiful and easy hike to get too it which is an added bonus! There's a bridge called the Trevor Woodburn Bridge which goes across the waterfall meaning you can step onto the rocks beside the falls.


Please take extra caution though as majority of the time the rocks can be very slippery as well as the waterfall being fast and deep.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Skelwith Force


1) Where is Skelwith Force located?

Skelwith Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Skelwith Bridge in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Skelwith Force a hidden gem?

Skelwith Force is considered a hidden gem due to its relatively secluded location, stunning natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a series of rocky steps, offering visitors a tranquil and enchanting experience amidst the wilderness of the Lake District.


3) How do I get to Skelwith Force?

Visitors can access Skelwith Force by foot from the nearby village of Skelwith Bridge. There are footpaths leading from Skelwith Bridge into the surrounding countryside, including the Cumbria Way and the Elterwater Circular Walk, which pass near Skelwith Force.


The waterfall can be reached by following these footpaths and then taking a short detour off-trail to reach the waterfall.


Places to stay near Skelwith Force




Stanley Ghyll Force is a 60ft striking waterfall and can be reached by a steep path along a ravine. As it is mostly untouched by human hands, it feels like you're completely away from the noise of the city and connected with nature.


It's a bit of a journey to get to Stanley Ghyll Waterfall, however it is a nice and scenic walk and once you get to the falls it is amazing to see. It an be quite steep for people who aren't used to it, so we recommend leaving via the gate opposite back down to the road to avoid the steps.


Eskdale as a whole is brilliant, but finding this hidden gem in the mature woodland is just incredible. Unfortunately the lower viewing platform is now longer around, however there is now a high level platform which has been thoroughly designed and is much better.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Stanley Ghyll Force


1) Where is Stanley Ghyll Force located?

Stanley Ghyll Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Boot in Eskdale, Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Stanley Ghyll Force a hidden gem?

Stanley Ghyll Force is considered a hidden gem due to its remote location, stunning natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a series of rocky steps amidst lush woodland, offering visitors a serene and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Stanley Ghyll Force?

Visitors can access Stanley Ghyll Force by foot from the village of Boot. There is a well-marked footpath leading from Boot to Stanley Ghyll, which passes through scenic woodlands and alongside the rushing waters of the beck. The waterfall is located at the end of the trail.


Places to stay near Stanley Ghyll Force






A gorgeous hidden gem tucked up out of the way at the North end of Wastwater. Visitors can enjoy lovely scenery and great photo opportunities which are available to aspiring photographers. You can also enjoy a quick dip if the water isn't freezing!


Ritson's Force is a small but pleasant waterfall just a short walk from the Wasdale Head Inn. It can be a bit of a pain to get too, however the easiest route would be to follow the stream behind the Inn and go over the little arched stone bridge and follow the path. Sooner or later you'll be in this paradise!


The photos don't do this idyllic place any justice, it really is amazing and worth the trek. It's spectacular especially after heavy rainfall with the falls being in full force, and if you're brave enough why not have a wild swim?


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Ritson's Force


1) Where is Ritson's Force located?

Ritson's Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Wasdale Head in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Ritson's Force a hidden gem?

Ritson's Force is considered a hidden gem due to its remote location, pristine natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a series of rocky steps amidst the rugged mountain scenery, offering visitors a tranquil and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Ritson's Force?

Visitors can access Ritson's Force by foot from the village of Wasdale Head. There is a footpath leading from Wasdale Head to Ritson's Force, which follows the course of Mosedale Beck. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Ritson's Force





Scale Force is a breathtaking place to visit in the Lake District; with it being the highest single drop waterfall of 20ft hidden away in a deep gorge! You will be greeted by flooded paths and muddy terrain but it is definitely worth the walk too!


If you're brave enough, it's definitely worth climbing up the waterfall to the second level for some truly breath-taking views. It can be a bit difficult though especially when it's raining.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Scale Force


1) Where is Scale Force located?

Scale Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Buttermere in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Scale Force a hidden gem?

Scale Force is considered a hidden gem due to its secluded location, impressive height, and the stunning natural beauty of its surroundings. Tucked away in a wooded ravine, the waterfall offers visitors a serene and enchanting experience amidst the tranquil landscape of the Lake District.


3) How do I get to Scale Force?

Visitors can access Scale Force by foot from the village of Buttermere. There is a well-marked footpath leading from Buttermere to Scale Force, which follows the course of Scale Beck through the woodlands. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Scale Force





A beautiful waterfall only a short walk from the car park at Newlands Hause. Be careful though as the path is usually wet/rocky/uneven so waterproof footwear is required. You can have the luxury choice of either walking up to the falls or continue up the hill and walk over the top for magnificent views!


There is a car park right next to Moss Force in which we've seen people stay in their car with a picnic whilst admiring the views of the falls. However, we definitely think you should go and see the falls for yourself! You can even climb half way and still have some pretty amazing views.


It's worth noting it does have some steep steps and it can get quite slippery and uneven in places, but with a good pair of walking boots that'll be no problem for you.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Moss Force


1) Where is Moss Force located?

Moss Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Buttermere in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Moss Force a hidden gem?

Moss Force is considered a hidden gem due to its secluded location, pristine natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it tumbles down a series of rocky steps amidst the tranquil woodland surroundings. The waterfall offers visitors a serene and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Moss Force?

Visitors can access Moss Force by foot from the village of Buttermere. There is a footpath leading from Buttermere to Moss Force, which follows the course of Mill Beck through the woodlands. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Moss Force






Probably one of the more known waterfalls in the Lake District, however you'll be surprised at how many people still don't know about Aira Force. You can easily get around the walking route in under 2 hours, which offers nature trails and cool viewpoints.


Even though we wouldn't really consider Aira Force a hidden gem anymore due to the increase in popularity, it's still worth the visit if you're visiting the Lake District! There are many pathways which take you up and around the falls; offering great views of the water and providing some great photo opportunities!


Overall, Aira Force is a beautiful place to visit and walk either alone, with your partner or fluffy companion, and even the kids. If you're a beginner when it comes to walking/hiking, then this little hike is the one for you.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Aira Force


1) Where is Aira Force located?

Aira Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Glenridding in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Aira Force a hidden gem?

Aira Force is considered a hidden gem due to its stunning natural beauty, impressive height, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a series of rocky steps amidst the lush woodland surroundings. The waterfall offers visitors a tranquil and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Aira Force?

Visitors can access Aira Force by foot from the village of Glenridding. There is a well-marked footpath leading from Glenridding to Aira Force, which follows the course of Aira Beck through the woodlands. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Aira Force





A lovely set of cascading waterfalls on the path from Easdale towards Easdale Tarn. This small river cascades gently down the hills, so from a waterfall POV it may not be as impressive as the others listed in this article.


However there's a sublime beauty to the water, the falls, the countryside and the stillness of the scene. You can also have a quick dip if the water isn't too freezing!


If you're talking the popular walk from Grasmere to Easdale Tarn you'll be surprised to know theres a gorgeous hidden gem of a waterfall waiting for you only about a mile away. If there's been plenty of rain (which isn't surprising for the UK!) you'll see the amazing cascading waters long before you reach them.


It's a pleasant resting spot on the way to the Tarn offering visitors breath-taking views of Easdale as you look back towards Grasmere.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Sour Milk Gill Falls


1) Where is Sour Milk Gill Falls located?

Sour Milk Gill Falls is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Grasmere in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Sour Milk Gill Falls a hidden gem?

Sour Milk Gill Falls is considered a hidden gem due to its serene location, natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it tumbles down the rocky terrain amidst the lush greenery of the Lake District. The waterfall offers visitors a peaceful and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Sour Milk Gill Falls?

Visitors can access Sour Milk Gill Falls by foot from the village of Grasmere. There is a footpath leading from Grasmere to Sour Milk Gill Falls, which follows the course of Sour Milk Gill through the woodlands and rocky terrain. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Sour Milk Gill Falls





A gorgeous little hidden waterfall which is recommend to visit after a lot of rainfall. There's also a great pool at the bottom of Rutter Force for those who fancy a mild dip.


Rutter Force really is a beautiful spot which not many people know about, however in our opinion it's best for a quick visit after a heavy amount of rainfall. The waterfall can range from a ranging roaring torrent to even a tiny trickle!


So in conclusion, if you happen to be in the area, why not take a visit to Rutter Force. However if you're wanting to take a trip out to visit, it's best to plan it around the weather (if there's been enough rain). We recommend parking in the small park (can only fit in 4 cars at a squeeze!) and then walking over the bridge to view.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Rutter Force


1) Where is Rutter Force located?

Rutter Force is located in the Lake District National Park, in Appleby-in-Westmorland.


2) What makes Rutter Force a hidden gem?

Rutter Force is considered a hidden gem due to its secluded location, natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a rocky ravine amidst the tranquil woodland surroundings. The waterfall offers visitors a peaceful and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Rutter Force?

Visitors can access Rutter Force by foot from the village of Appleby-in-Westmorland. There is a footpath leading from Appleby-in-Westmorland to Rutter Force, which follows the course of a small stream through the woodlands. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Rutter Force






The hike to Holme Force can be quite challenging for some individuals, however it is definitely worth it. It is a stunning waterfall and is still fairly unknown to the majority of people so you'll more than likely have the whole place to yourself.


Holme Force is often missed by people who visit Holme Woods and follow the path around the lake (I guess that's why they call it a hidden gem!). Interestingly, the waterfall actually drops down in several cascades between Burnbank Fell and Carling Knott.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Holme Force


1) Where is Holme Force located in the Lake District?

Holme Force is situated near the town of Cockermouth in the Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England. It's nestled within a scenic wooded area, offering visitors a tranquil and picturesque setting to explore.


2) Can visitors swim in the pool at Holme Force?

Swimming in the pool at Holme Force is not recommended due to safety reasons. The water conditions can be unpredictable, and there may be submerged hazards. Visitors are advised to enjoy the waterfall from a safe viewing point and refrain from entering the water.


3) How do I access Holme Force?

To reach Holme Force from Cockermouth, visitors can take designated footpaths or hiking trails that lead to the waterfall. These trails may vary in difficulty, so it's essential to choose a route suitable for your hiking experience and fitness level. Additionally, consider using a map or GPS device to navigate the trails accurately.


Places to stay near Holme Force





Described by some as a craggy and fast flowing waterfall; Colwith Force is a true hidden gem located in Ambleside. The access path is passable, however this may change depending on the weather. As always, please wear appropriate footwear when visiting these types of places.


The walk around Colwith Force really is beautiful, and it's a short walk for those with walking difficulties.


You'll be presented with the magnificent waterfall as well as some amazing cascades scattered around. It's around 0.5 miles all together, so we recommend incorporating this visit into another walk.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Colwith Force


1) Where is Colwith Force located?

Colwith Force is located in the Lake District National Park, near the village of Elterwater in Cumbria, England.


2) What makes Colwith Force a hidden gem?

Colwith Force is considered a hidden gem due to its tranquil setting, natural beauty, and the picturesque cascade of water as it plunges down a series of rocky steps amidst the peaceful woodland surroundings. The waterfall offers visitors a serene and enchanting experience away from the crowds.


3) How do I get to Colwith Force?

Visitors can access Colwith Force by foot from the village of Elterwater. There is a footpath leading from Elterwater to Colwith Force, which follows the course of the River Brathay through the woodlands. The waterfall can be reached by following this footpath upstream.


Places to stay near Colwith Force




We hoped you enjoyed discovering the less known waterfalls which are scattered around the Lake District. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Lake District trip even more memorable!


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