Coal Force is the most northerly of a number of waterfalls that are found in West Gill, a subsidary stream of Cotterdale Beck. Its remote location makes it one of the least visited of the named waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales.
Getting to Coal Force requires a quite long but fascinating walk from Cotterdale. A number of other waterfalls such as Seavy Sike Force and Acroy Gill Force are met along the way. All the waterfalls of West Gill would be more impressive after heavy rain, but therein lies the rub for even in fairly normal conditions West Gill needs to be crossed at least half a dozen times to reach Coal Force. To do this after a period of heavy rain would be almost impossible.
Coal Force itself is a two-tier waterfall and is arguably the best of the waterfalls of West Gill. The water drops down over two dark, almost black ledges, and this is perhaps what inspired the name.