A series of locks over 2 to 3 miles take the canal through Gargrave and up to the Marton Pool (458 feet). This runs for around 5 miles before the 3 rises to the Summit Pool. This runs for about 6 miles and includes the 1,600 yard Foulridge Tunnel.
About 47 miles from the Leeds the descent to the sea starts with the Barrowford Locks, followed by the 24 miles of the Burnley Pool (418 feet) - passing through Nelson, across the Burnley Embankment, through Gannow Tunnel and on to Hapton, then Church before reaching Blackburn Locks.
The next section, Riley Green Pool (364 feet), runs for over 7 miles before the descent through Johnson's Hill Locks at Wheelton to the junction with the Walton Summit Branch and the 10 mile run past Chorley to Heath Charnock and on to Aspull.
The descent to Wigan involves a drop of over 200 feet and near the end meets the Leigh Branch with its link to the Bridgewater Canal. Over the next 5 or 6 miles there are a number of locks before reaching Appley and the start of the Liverpool Pool (54 feet above sea level and around 29 miles in length). This section passes through the canal town of Burscough; at the junction with the Rufford Branch. This is a 7 mile canal running to Tarleton Lock and its link to the River Douglas.
The final 24 miles run through Pinfold, Halsall, Haskayne, Lydiate, Maghull, Melling, Aintree and Bootle before reaching the Stanley Dock Branch and the western terminus in Liverpool.