The Trinnacle is one of the most epic viewpoints in all of the Peak District. In this guide, I share the details of the short but challenging Trinnacle trail, as well as all the essential information you’ll need before visiting.
The Trinnacle trail is one I hadn’t heard too much about, but it ended up being one of our favourite walks in the Peak District. The hike itself is challenging and exciting, while the views from the top are out of this world. I couldn’t believe we were just 15 miles outside Manchester.
You can access the Trinnacle trail from Dovestone Reservoir. It’s a relatively short hike but a real leg burner, leading you to a series of unique rock formations known as The Trinnacle. Climb the rocks for some seriously epic photos overlooking one of the best views in the Peak District.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about accessing the Trinnacle Trail. By the end of the article, you’ll be well prepared to visit. Let’s get to it.
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The Trinnacle Trail at a Glance
Time: 2-3 hours
The Trinnacle Trail FAQs
Before I share my experience tackling this exciting walk to The Trinnacle rock formations, let’s cover some key information to help you plan accordingly.
How to Get There
The Trinnacle is located by Dovestone Reservoir in Oldham, just 15 miles east of Manchester. Being so close to the city, it’s easy to forget that it’s part of the Peak District National Park.
The easiest way to get there would be by car, but parking is limited, and spots fill up quickly during busier times. We started our hike from the free Binn Green car park. Click here for the Google Maps location.
The alternative is to look at public transport since I did see a bus stop close to the reservoir—the 350 bus runs between Dovestone Reservoir and neighbouring areas.
Best Time to Visit
While The Trinnacle trail isn’t too popular (yet), other walks in the area attract the crowds. The Dovestone Reservoir walk, for example, is relatively flat and accessible, so it’s a favoured spot amongst locals.
The reservoir can get uncomfortably busy during weekends and school holidays, especially on warmer days. There have been a few reports of problems recently, with visitors parking irresponsibly, illicitly swimming, or having BBQs and campfires which are strictly prohibited.
If you’re visiting during busier times, I suggest arriving early in the morning. That way, you’ll avoid the bulk of the crowds and won’t have to fight for a parking spot.
Sunset is also an excellent time to schedule your walk around. You only have to look at our photos to see that visiting The Trinnacle during sunset is pretty damn magical.
Finally, I would take extra care on the Trinnacle trail after it’s been raining and certainly do not attempt to climb the rock formations. The rocks are slippery even when dry, and falling could be fatal.
The Trinnacle Trail Difficulty
While the total distance and ascent of the Trinnacle trail might seem easy to any experienced hiker, do not underestimate the intensity of this hike. The incline was incredibly steep, and my legs were screaming at me by the time we reached the top.
The trail levels out once you conquer the initial climb and undulates gradually on the approach to the iconic rock formations. There are plenty of them, but the 3-tiered megalith that rises like a podium from the landscapes is the star of the show.
Please assess the situation thoroughly before attempting to climb the rocks. It’s easy enough to mount, but to fall would be fatal, so I suggest avoiding it in wet or windy conditions.
Besides that, the trail is easy enough to handle, and it would be difficult to get lost. There are no signs to lead the way, but so long as you stick to the trail closest to the edge, you’ll know you are on the right path.
The Trinnacle Trail Map
Other Things Worth Knowing
Dogs: The Trinnacle Trail is dog-friendly. Our 11-year-old Jack Russell/Chihuahua handled the route with no problems.
Kids: I would not class the Trinnacle Trail hike as kid-friendly. Bigger kids, perhaps, but certainly not toddlers and younger children.
Pushchair/Wheelchair Access: Unfortunately, this route is not accessible with a pushchair or wheelchair; however, the Dovestone Reservoir Walk is.
Facilities: There are no facilities nearby. Please bring enough food and water for your hike, and take all your rubbish home.
Midges: We completed this hike on a warm and humid summer’s day in June. By sunset, there were thousands upon thousands of midges swarming us along the trail. Repellent is a must!
Swimming: Swimming or paddling in any reservoir is strictly prohibited. Many factors make doing so extremely dangerous.
Map: It’s always good to have a map handy should you get lost or lose the trail. We use All Trails.
Hiking Essential Items
Check out our Hiking Must Haves Blog for a list of hiking essentials for each and every adventure. Alternatively, here are some essential items I recommend you have in preparation for your walk:
- Sturdy worn-in hiking boots
- Twin Skin Socks
- A waterproof hiking backpack
- A refillable water bottle
- A waterproof jacket
- Life straw
- Hiking snacks
- Blister plasters
- First aid kit
- Power bank
Here are some other essentials for your adventure:
Our Experience on The Trinnacle Trail
As I mentioned earlier, we started and ended our walk at the Binn Green car park, which is free. There is another car park to the south of Dovestone Reservoir, but this one is pay & display, and to walk to The Trinnacle from here adds another 2km onto the hike.
From Binn Green car park, we followed the sign to the reservoir through the woodland and down a steep set of steps embedded into the dirt. Eventually, we came out through a wooden gate, and onto what looked like a road, though I never saw any cars on the few occasions I walked past it.
You have a choice here. You can swing a left and follow the road until you reach the reservoir or cross over into the woodland area, which is a bit more exciting and adventurous. It looked steep, but we took the second option and half-walked, half-skidded our way to the bottom.
At this point, I could just about grab the odd glimpse of the view through the trees, but I guessed we were in for a treat. My predictions were confirmed when we found ourselves on the banks of the reservoir.
I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this. I’d visited a few spots in the Peak District by this point, and the landscapes here were up there with some of the best I’d seen. I was even more excited now about what was yet to come.
We were in a race to catch the sunset, so we headed north along the reservoir and crossed the bridge that separates Dovestone Reservoir from Yeoman Reservoir.
If you want to add a few extra kms onto your hike, you do have the option to go south and join the Trinnacle trail that way. Or you can even continue North, passing Yeoman and Greenfield reservoirs and approaching the ridge from the other side. We agreed this would have made for an enjoyable circular walk to The Trinnacle if we’d had the time.
There were quite a few people around at this point. I secretly hoped that they wouldn’t be joining us for the climb to The Trinnacle. I had in mind a peaceful sunset, hoping to snap some photos without the pressure of crowds.
Alas, we continued. I could see the path we were set to take leading up to the ridge. It looked intimidating, and I was starting to regret the trail run I’d done earlier that morning.
The ascent was brutal from the offset, with no time at all to ease yourself into it. The heat and humidity certainly didn’t help. I was grateful for the epic views around us, so I could stop often to take photos and enjoy a short period of respite.
As my thighs and buttocks burned, I could see no end to the climb in sight. We must have been moving less than 2 miles per hour at this point. Ronnie faired better than us, but he does have an advantage being as small and agile as he is.
At least my wish came true. There weren’t many others joining us on the trail. In fact, we only saw people once we eventually reached the top of the ridge. Even then, it was only the odd few. The Trinnacle Trail hasn’t caught on in popularity, but it’s only a matter of time.
The sky was already putting on quite a show by this point. It wouldn’t be long before we’d lose the sun behind the adjacent hills, so we briskly walked along the gritstone ridge in search of The Trinnacle rock formations.
There are incredible vistas to enjoy every step of the way, but nothing compares to the view from The Trinnacle itself. Its jagged gritstone ridge with the Saddleworth Moors and reservoirs in the background makes it one of the best I’ve seen in the UK.
When we made it to the pinnacle of the walk, there were 2 or 3 other people around taking photos and enjoying the view. For a stunning evening like this one, that’s pretty good going. It was a buzz ticking off this Peak District hidden gem.
Naturally, we couldn’t resist climbing the podium for an Instagram moment. It was a dry and still evening, so the conditions couldn’t have been better. However, the midges were swarming us by this point, so it was hard to relax and enjoy the moment fully.
After taking a few photos and losing a pint of blood, we called it a night and made our way back down. Not quite the peaceful evening I’d had in mind, but still one of the most unforgettable sunsets of our month in the Peak District.
As the sun continued to set, the sky transformed into a sea of pink and orange hues. It was stunning, and so long as we kept moving, we could avoid the wrath of the blood-sucking midges and enjoy the tranquillity. What a moment. What an adventure.
Enjoy The Trinnacle Trail
I hope you enjoy walking The Trinnacle Trail as much as we did. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comments section below.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.