Train-Accessible Hikes for an Epic Adventure

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29 Aug 20239 min read

Summer is the perfect time to lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on unforgettable adventures. Imagine combining the thrill of train travel with the joy of hiking through stunning landscapes. In the UK, there are incredible train routes that lead you straight to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails. Join us as we explore these epic train routes for hikers, promising an extraordinary journey through nature's beauty.

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Here's the legend for the challenge levels that are mentioned on this blog:

  • ⛰️ Easy: Suitable for beginners and casual hikers. Generally well-marked trails with gentle terrain.
  • ⛰️⛰️ Moderate: Requires a reasonable level of fitness and some hiking experience. Trails might have steeper sections or uneven terrain.
  • ⛰️⛰️⛰️ Hard: Intended for experienced hikers with good fitness. Trails can be strenuous, featuring steep ascents, rocky paths, or exposed ridges.

Snowdonia, Wales - Conwy to Betws-y-Coed 

Image credit: Péter Cseke | Getty Images

Your journey begins in the historic town of Conwy, where the medieval castle and charming streets set the tone for adventure. Board a train to Betws-y-Coed, the gateway to Snowdonia National Park. From here, a network of trails awaits, including:

  • Fairy Glen Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Betws-y-Coed
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️ Easy
    Wander through enchanting woodlands and rocky terrain to discover the magical Fairy Glen. The trail's gentle slopes make it accessible for all ages, and the views of cascading water and lush landscapes are nothing short of enchanting. More info here.

  • Llyn Elsi Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Betws-y-Coed
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️ Easy

    This beginner-friendly circular trail revolves around the serene Llyn Elsi reservoir. As you stroll, keep an eye out for local wildlife, and soak in the peaceful ambiance. It's a wonderful way to connect with nature without venturing into steep terrains. More info here.

  • Swallow Falls Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Betws-y-Coed
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️ Moderate
    Explore this scenic 3.7-kilometer circular trail located close to Betws-y-Coed in Conwy. Regarded as a trail of moderate challenge, it typically takes around 1 hour and 14 minutes to finish. Widely favored for camping, hiking, and running, you can also relish moments of tranquility during off-peak hours. Accessible throughout the year, this trail boasts timeless beauty regardless of the season. More info here. 

  • Mount Snowdon Ranger Path

    Nearest Train Station: Betws-y-Coed
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️ Moderate
    For those seeking a moderate challenge, the Mount Snowdon Ranger Path offers a rewarding ascent to the summit of Wales' highest peak. The path winds through changing landscapes, from grassy slopes to rugged rocks, providing panoramic views at every turn. More info here.

  • Mount Snowdon Horseshoe

    Nearest Train Station: Betws-y-Coed

    Sherpa Buses allow you to reach the Ranger from Porthmadog/Beddgelert, Llanberis, Caernarfon  and Betws-y-coed. Park and ride available from Nant Peris.
    For real time bus info, download the Sojo app

    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️⛰️ Hard
    A true challenge for seasoned hikers, the Mount Snowdon Horseshoe encircles Wales' highest peak. With steep ascents, rocky paths, and exposed ridges, this trail demands excellent fitness and mountain experience. Your efforts will be rewarded with unparalleled views of Snowdonia's rugged beauty. More info here.

Lake District, England - Oxenholme to Windermere

Lake District
Image credit: Andrei Capota | Getty Images

Start your Lake District exploration at Oxenholme and hop aboard a train to Windermere. The shimmering lakes, rolling hills, and quaint villages define this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike along:

  • Tarn Hows Circular Walk

    Nearest Train Station: Windermere
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️ Easy
    An easy stroll around Tarn Hows, a breathtaking natural attraction. The path is well-maintained, suitable for beginners and families. The views of the surrounding fells and the tranquil waters of Tarn Hows make it a must-visit spot. More info here.

  • Orrest Head Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Windermere
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️ Moderate
    This beginner-friendly trail presents an opportunity to ascend to Orrest Head viewpoint. The relatively short hike rewards you with expansive vistas of Lake Windermere and the picturesque landscape beyond. More info here.

  • Cat Bells Fell

    Nearest Train Station: Penrith 
    A bus service, taking forty minutes, connects Penrith railway station with Keswick Bus Station. 

    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate

    A moderate-level trail for those looking to challenge themselves a bit more. Cat Bells Fell promises panoramic views of Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. While it involves some steeper sections, the sense of accomplishment at the summit is worth it. More info here. 

  • Loughrigg Fell Circular

    The closest train station to your destination is Windermere. From there, you can take a bus to Loughrigg Fell. For real time bus info, download the Sojo app. 

    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate
    A varied trail takes you through woodlands, past serene tarns, and up to viewpoints that offer stunning panoramas of Ambleside and Grasmere. The trail's diversity ensures there's always something new to discover. More info here. 

Peak District, England - Manchester to Edale 

trains to peak district
Image credit: SAKhanPhotography | Getty Images

Depart from bustling Manchester and arrive in Edale, the heart of the Peak District. A hiker's paradise, the rugged moorlands and gritstone edges offer diverse trails. Explore:

  • Monsal Trail

    Bus services from Nottingham, Derby and Manchester operate along the A6, the nearest main road to the Monsal Trail, with stops at Bakewell town centre, Ashford in the Water, White Lodge, Taddington, Blackwell Turn and Wye Dale (limited service). 

    Other routes include services operating from Chesterfield and Sheffield to Bakewell and also to Buxton via Tideswell and Millers Dale. A limited service also operates to Monsal Head.

    For real time bus info, download the Sojo app

    Challenge Level: ⛰️ Easy
     Following the route of a former railway, the Monsal Trail provides a gentle and scenic hike through picturesque valleys and old railway tunnels. It's an ideal choice for those seeking an easy hike with captivating vistas. More info here. 
  • Mam Tor Circular Walk

    Nearest Train Station: Edale
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️ Moderate

    This delightful circular walk from Edale takes you to the iconic Mam Tor, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Peak District. As a beginner-friendly hike, it's a perfect introduction to the area's natural beauty and hiking experiences. More info here. 

  • Win Hill from Hope

    Nearest Train Station: Hope 
    Challenge Level: 
    ⛰️⛰️ Moderate 
    Starting from the charming village of Hope, this moderate hike takes you up Win Hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the Ladybower Reservoir and the surrounding hills. It's a great choice for those ready to step up to a moderately challenging trail. More info here.

  • Kinder Scout (via Pennine Way)

    Nearest Train Station: Edale
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️⛰️ Hard

    Set out on the famous Pennine Way and explore the rugged terrain of Kinder Scout. While it's a bit more challenging, the dramatic landscapes and stunning moorland scenery make it a must for hikers looking for a moderate adventure. More info here.


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Scottish Highlands

Trains to Scottish highlands
Image credit: 2630ben | Getty Images

The Scottish Highlands boast untamed landscapes with ancient Caledonian forests and serene lochs. Discover:

  • Loch an Eilein Circular Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Aviemore
    Challenge Level: ⛰️ Easy
    Nestled in the Cairngorms National Park, the Loch an Eilein trail is a tranquil and easy circular route around a picturesque loch. With its enchanting forest and waterside views, this trail is perfect for beginners looking to explore the Scottish Highlands. More info here. 

  • Craigellachie Nature Reserve Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Aviemore 
    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate 
    Discover the beauty of the Craigellachie Nature Reserve with this beginner-friendly trail. It's a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in Scotland's natural landscapes without venturing into more challenging terrain. More info here.

  • Lairig Ghru Pass

    Nearest Train Station: Aviemore 
    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate 
    For those seeking a moderate challenge, the Lairig Ghru Pass offers a stunning hike through the heart of the Cairngorms. While it requires a bit more effort, the majestic mountain vistas and rugged landscapes are more than rewarding. More info here.

  • Loch Morlich Circular Trail

    Nearest Train Station: Aviemore
    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate 
    Surrounded by ancient pine forests, the Loch Morlich Circular Trail is a moderate-level hike that combines serene lochside paths with panoramic views of the Cairngorms. It's an ideal choice for hikers with some experience looking to explore Scotland's natural wonders.
    More info here.

South Downs, England - London to Winchester

trains to south downs
Image credit: Matt_Gibson | Getty Images

Journey south from London to Lewes, your gateway to the South Downs National Park. Explore rolling chalk hills, picturesque villages, and iconic white cliffs. Hike:

  • Ditchling Beacon Circular Walk

    Nearest Train Station: Hassocks
    Challenge Level: ⛰️ ⛰️ Moderate
    This trail offers a gentle introduction to the South Downs, with the Ditchling Beacon providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Suitable for beginners, this easy hike showcases the beauty of the area. More info here.

  • Seven Sisters Cliffs Walk

    Nearest Train Station: Seaford
    Challenge Level: ⛰️⛰️ Moderate   
    As one of the most iconic walks along the South Downs, the Seven Sisters Cliffs route offers moderate challenges and stunning coastal scenery. With some steeper sections, it's perfect for hikers seeking a more immersive experience. More info here.

  • South Downs Way

    Nearest Train Station: Winchester
    Challenge Level:  ⛰️⛰️⛰️ Hard
    For experienced hikers up for a challenge, the South Downs Way covers a long-distance trail through diverse terrains. With its demanding stretches and rewarding views, this trail promises a truly memorable adventure. More info here.

Tips for Your Epic Train-Accessible Hikes

  1. Plan Ahead: Research the trail you're interested in and plan your journey accordingly. Check the train schedules, trail difficulty, and any weather forecasts before you start. Book your train tickets early on Trainsplit to secure your journey.

  2. Proper Footwear: Invest in comfortable and sturdy hiking boots. Good footwear provides support and traction, making your hike safer and more enjoyable.

  3. Pack Essentials: Carry a small backpack with essentials such as water, snacks, a map, a fully charged phone, and a first aid kit. Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.

  4. Stay Hydrated: Bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during warmer months. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and reduced enjoyment.

  5. Follow Trail Etiquette: Stay on designated paths to protect fragile ecosystems. Leave no trace by carrying out all trash and respecting nature.

  6. Check Trail Conditions: Some trails might be closed for maintenance or due to adverse weather. Check for any updates before you embark on your journey.

  7. Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding them. Keep in mind that some animals might be more active during certain times of the day.

  8. Hiking Poles: For more challenging trails, consider using hiking poles to provide extra stability and support, especially during ascents and descents.

  9. Know Your Limits: Choose a trail that matches your fitness level and experience. It's better to start with an easier trail and gradually progress to more difficult ones.

  10. Stay Informed: Let someone know your hiking plans, estimated return time, and the trail you're taking. This is especially important if you're hiking alone.

  11. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for sudden changes in weather, even during summer. Carry a lightweight rain jacket and dress in moisture-wicking layers.

  12. Trail Courtesy: If a trail is busy, yield the path to those going uphill. Keep noise levels down to respect the tranquility of nature.

  13. Enjoy the Journey: Take your time to soak in the stunning views and connect with nature. Capture memories with photos, but remember to be present in the moment too.

  14. Emergency Numbers: Save emergency numbers for local authorities or park rangers in your phone before you start your hike.

  15. Fitness Preparation: Engage in regular physical activity to improve your stamina and cardiovascular fitness. This will make your hiking experience more enjoyable.

And don't forget, when you're ready to embark on your epic train-accessible hikes, book your train tickets early on Trainsplit and use split tickets to save money on your journey. By following these tips, you can make the most of your adventure while ensuring safety, comfort, and savings along the way.

The UK's epic train routes for hikers promise the best of both worlds: the thrill of train travel and the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. From the rugged peaks of Snowdonia to the tranquil lakes of the Lake District and the wild moors of the Peak District, each journey leads to a treasure trove of hiking adventures. So, don your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and let the train whisk you away to explore the boundless beauty of the UK's natural landscapes. Your next unforgettable hiking adventure awaits!

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