Exploring on foot: The best hiking trails in Cornwall

Hiking in Cornwall provides some of the most memorable experiences and beautiful scenery – and what makes this even better? Holidaying here too! For the more active holiday goers amongst you, or if you’re looking to try something new, here you’ll find some of the best hikes in Cornwall where you may even stumble across some scenic treasures…

After a long hike, a pair of hiking boots being rested after a hike through Cornwall.

Whether you’re staying in a St Ives Bay holiday park or Newperran accommodation, there will be a variety of Cornwall hiking experiences nearby, so you can access the best landscapes around!

Plus, you can make your holiday complete by including your four-legged friend, as many Cornwall hiking trails offer a dog-friendly holiday experience, so all family members can enjoy the great outdoors.

Hell's Mouth to Godrevy

Circular walking

Some of the most popular hiking trails are circular walks. This is a route that finishes back where you started, giving a sense of accomplishment when it’s completed. Why not follow the high cliffs from Hell’s Mouth to Navax Head.

One of the best circular walks in Cornwall is the route that follows the high cliffs from Hell’s Mouth to Navax Head.

This is a perfect hiking trail if you’re situated near a seaside  location in St Ives Bay, as you’ll follow the coast from Hell’s Mouth to Godrevy lighthouse, to the gorgeous St Ives Bay beaches.

Beautiful wildlife

The best aspect of this Cornwall hiking trail happens when you reach Mutton Cove, where you may see a large grey seal colony. Of course, do not disturb them, as they are frightened by noise, but they are a fantastic sight to see.

But that’s not all the wildlife you’ll come across.
Another element that makes this one of the best Cornwall hikes is that once you get to Godrevy Head and the iconic lighthouse, you could come across basking sharks, ocean sunfish, and even dolphins!

Along the way...

You’ll find some of Cornwall’s other treasures that come in small coves until you reach Red River Valley through the Gwithian towers – spotting some glowworms along the way.

With so much wildlife to explore along one of the best walks in Cornwall, you won’t regret adding this one to your bucket list for your next Cornish staycation.

Zennor to St Ives

One of the best

Before you start your day of holiday adventures, this Cornwall hiking trail will set you up for the day and is one of the best, especially during the winter. You’ll pass through Zennor where you'll get to the South West Coastal Path.

Take a moment to enjoy the golden hour during the later sunrise in winter and the beautiful coastal views.

After golden hour, you’ll continue on your way to Wicca Pool where you’ll see a set of cascades that hurl down into the ocean. Additionally, here you’ll find the waterfall, which is simply breathtaking and one of the best attractions during this walk!

Continue hiking...

Near the end of this one-way walk you’ll see Porthmeor Beach, which can be argued as St Ives’ premier beach. If you want a pit stop here, as the walk will last around three and a half hours, you won’t be disappointed by what you’ll find!

With a long stretch of golden sand, it’s surrounded by various art studios – you can even take a look inside the Tate Gallery.
You could have a snack at the Sands Bar & Bistro to refuel for the final part of the journey where you’ll pass Man’s Head, which is a rocky outcrop that many (unsurprisingly) say looks like an old man from certain angles.

Home sweet home

Ending up in St Ives which is where you might be staying, you can carry on exploring the town – if you’re not too tired.

Or, head to your accommodation in St Ives Bay to take a well-earned nap before your next Cornwall hiking adventure.

The Camel Trail: Bodmin to Padstow

Simply beautiful

Arguably one of the best hiking trails in the UK, you can explore all things Cornish countryside, as you travel through a disused railway line.

About 50 minutes from the Retallack Resort, it’s probably the most well-known multi-use trail in Cornwall – so will you be exploring by foot, bike, or horse?

Padstow loving

The 18-mile trail begins at Padstow on the estuary of the River Camel, which then leads on to Wadebridge and beyond. Padstow is a working harbour where you will find lots of attractions along the way.

But most importantly, why not treat yourself to an ice cream?

After a difficult ice cream choice, you can then head on to the stunning Camel Valley – perfect for enjoying the Cornwall scenery! See if you can spot the wildlife – plenty of picture-perfect moments.

The walks in Cornwall have never been better as the walk ends up near Blisland, a pretty moorland village. So, where’s first on your list?

Cornwall hiking FAQs

There are many Cornwall walks to experience on your next holiday! But with so many, the choice can be difficult. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions allowing you to hike to success.

What is the app for walking in Cornwall?

After deciding on your chosen routes, you may be thinking – where do I even start? Even with our guide, you still need some more information on how to begin. 

You may go old-fashioned with a physical map, but for ease, a popular digital walking app is iWalk Cornwall. It’s easy to download, and once you have, you’ll be able to enjoy Cornwall hiking without getting lost. 

Where is the nicest place to visit in Cornwall?

While some may be focused on just walking in Cornwall, others may want to explore the scenery or attractions whilst on holiday – which could even happen during a coastal hike.

Although, whittling down the nicest place to visit in Cornwall is simply impossible, there are a few places definitely worth visiting…

If you’re into the foodie scene, Penzance comes alive with food, and once you’ve eaten all you can, take in the local art nearby. Porthcurno is home to various secret coves. It’s a sandy area that’s brilliant for a family swim, especially as you might spot some dolphins here!

As a surfer, visiting or staying in Bude is the perfect location, but it also caters to families with plenty of rockpools and places to make sandcastles.

Is Cornwall good for walking?

Cornwall is absolutely good for walking. There are many different paths with much to discover, both for seasoned walkers and newbie hikers.

Whether you’re into stargazing, wildlife, or just getting some exercise – you’ll find some of the best walks in Cornwall – so come and explore everything the county has to offer!

Where is best for walking in Cornwall?

The best places for walking in Cornwall all come down to specific factors, like how long you want to walk for and what you want to see during your walk.

And with so many beautiful places to walk in Cornwall, here are just a few of the best to get you started!
For scenic views, walking from Looe to Polperro is a 5.4-mile moderate coastal walk along the South West Coast Path, that will take you to rockpools, beaches, and a picturesque fishing village.

If you’re looking to walk along a flat-level trail with a very steady incline, The Camel Trail is perfect for both walks and cycle rides. For more challenging terrain along the way, St Ives to Zennor is the perfect choice where you can see some amazing views of the craggy Cornish coast.

How far is the coastal walk from Zennor to St Ives?

The coastal walk from Zennor to St Ives is around six miles.

You can tackle the walk in various ways – either with a 12-mile circular route where you’ll walk inland back to St Ives, or you can take the bus to Zennor and walk back to St Ives.

What will you decide to do?

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