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Glendalough Walks And Hikes: 8 Mighty Rambles To Try Today

Glendalough Walks And Hikes: 8 Mighty Rambles To Try Today

There’s plenty of Glendalough walks, with something to suit most fitness levels.

Some of the hikes in Glendalough, like the Spinc, are tough going while others, like the waterfall walk, are grand and handy.

In the guide below, you’ll find an outline of each of the Glendalough trails along with maps and useful info.

Handy info before you do one of the Glendalough walks

Glendalough walks

Photos via Shutter

Before we look at the different Glendalough hikes, take 20 seconds to read the points below – they’ll save you time in the long run:

1. Parking

As the Glendalough trails are so popular, parking can be a pain on fine days. There are three main Glendalough car parks – the Upper and Lower Lake car parks (€4 for the day) and there’s a free car park in Laragh. There’s also St Kevin’s Bus from Dublin if you don’t fancy driving.

2. Toilets

You’ll find toilets at the main starting-points for the various Glendalough walks – the Visitor Centre and the Upper Lake car park.

3. Plan accordingly

The different Glendalough walks vary massively in terms of length and difficulty. If you’re doing one of the longer Glendalough trails, it’s worth packing and dressing for every type of weather along with bringing food and snacks.

An overview of the best Glendalough hikes (by difficulty level)

Glendalough Upper Lake

Photos via Shutterstock

We’ve broken down the different walks in Glendalough by tough, moderate and easy. Keep in mind these difficulty levels will depend on your own fitness levels.

Tough Glendalough hikes

There are several tough but very rewarding Glendalough hiking trails, two of which are some of our favourite things to do in Wicklow.

Our three favourites are the White Route, the Red Route and the Blue Route, each of which involve the Spinc.

1. Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk (White Route)

the spinc glendalough

Photos via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 9.5km
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Time: 3.5 hours
  • Map: See our Spinc Walk guide

With a distance of 9.5km and an estimated completion time of around 3 hours 30 minutes, the Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk is one of most strenuous Glendalough walks so it’s important to prepare properly for it. 

However, with a highest point of 500 metres, you’ll be rewarded with some breath-taking vistas along the way.

You’ll head past Poulanass Waterfall and then up onto the boardwalk and into the beautiful deer-filled landscape of the Glenealo Valley.

The rough and rocky trail then leads back down towards the old miner’s village and along the Miner’s Road before finishing up at the Upper Lake.

2. Spinc and the Wicklow Way (Red Route)

glendalough blue route

Photos via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 11.8km
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Map: Find one here

One of the more popular Glendalough hikes, the Spinc and Wicklow Way route, should only be taken on by those who are well-equipped and possess a high fitness level.

At 11.8km and with an estimated completion time of around 4 hours, this is the longest of the Glendalough trails and features a demanding climb of 490 metres.

Therefore, navigational experience, food, rainwear and strong footwear are all required to take on this route.

You’ll follow the same route as all the other Spinc trails before heading off in the direction of Lugduff Mountain. The trail then links up with the Wicklow Way track which will take you back down to the Glendalough Visitor Centre.

3. Short Spinc Walk (Blue Route)

Glendalough Viewpoint

Photo via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 6km
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Map: See our Short Spinc Walk guide

A shorter version of the popular Spinc and Wicklow Way route, the Blue Route is still a challenging looped walk that involves climbing a total of 300 metres up to the stunning Spinc ridge overlooking Glendalough.

Head on into the Lugduff Valley and past Poulanass Waterfall and then take on a steep climb bringing you up onto the boardwalk.

Hugging the cliff of the Spinc, the boardwalk trail runs on for 1.2km before it cuts down through the forest and leads back to the Information Office in Glendalough.

Now, although this is called the ‘short walk’, don’t underestimate it – any of the Glendalough hikes involving the Spinc are graded as strenuous.

Moderate Glendalough trails

The second section of our Glendalough walks guide tackles the moderately difficult walks that the area has to offer.

Below, you’ll find the Poulanass Pink Route, the Woodland Round and one of the more overlooked Glendalough hikes.

1. Derrybawn Woodland Trail (Orange Route)

glendalough orange walk

Photos via Shutterstock

Climbing back past our old friend the Poulanass Waterfall before heading up into Derrybawn Mountain, this 7.3km ramble should take around 2 hours to complete.

Although if it takes longer then that’s probably because you’ve been taking in some of the views of the valley.

Flanked by larch and pine trees, this scenic route is good for those seeking a longer Glendalough walking trail but who probably aren’t at a level to take on a full hike up into the mountains.

Red Squirrels and Treecreeper birds will likely accompany you along the way before the trail drops back down to the Green Road alongside the Lower lake and through the elegant oak forests to the car park.

2. Poulanass Waterfall Walk (Pink Route)

Poulanass Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

The Glendalough Waterfall Walk (the Pink Route) is a nice short stroll. And, while there is some incline at the beginning, it’s a good option if you’re short on time and don’t fancy exerting yourself too much.

This trail is nice and easy to follow and you start it from up past the visitor centre. You’ll reach Poulanass Waterfall in no time before continuing down into the lush woodland.

The trail then loops back around to the starting point. If you parked in the Lower Lake car park you can follow the trail back and nip into the Glendalough Monastery.

3. Glendalough Woodland Road (Silver Route)

St. Kevin's Bed

Photo via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 7.3km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Map: Find one here

The secluded Woodland Road walk is a 4km journey through thick woods up into the Glendasan Valley.

Taking around 1 hour 45 minutes to complete, it’s suited for those with a reasonable level of fitness and comes to a total climb of 90 metres.

Following the Glendasan River back towards Glendalough, the trail can get a bit muddy at times due to the soft ground so make sure you’ve got some sturdy boots with you!

Easy Glendalough routes

The final section of this guide tackles the easier walking trails Glendalough has to offer.

Below, you’ll find the Glendalough Lake Walk, the Miners Road trail and one of the handier Glendalough hikes.

1. The Green Road Walk (Green Route)

glendalough green road walk

Photos via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 3km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Map: See our Green Route guide

Taking in views of the Lower Lake and the surrounding oak forest, this is one of the more popular of the Glendalough trails.

It features a superb boardwalk section that’ll take you over the wetlands and some glorious lake views. Start it from wherever you park and then follow the green arrows.

They’ll take you over bridges, to both of the lakes and past many of the most popular things to do in Glendalough.

2. The Miners Walk (Purple Route)

miners village glendalough

Photos via Shutterstock

Almost entirely flat with a few gentle inclines here and there, the Miner’s Road Walk (aka the Glendalough Lake Walk) is a 5.4km ramble alongside the Upper Lake.

One of the easier-going walks in Wicklow, it’s very straightforward the trail. The Wicklow Mountains rise up on either side and you’ll be able to explore the old mining works when you reach the end of the trail.

If you’re stuck for time, this is one of the shorter Glendalough walks and it’ll give you a good look around the valley.

3. Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell Walk (Bronze Route)

Glendalough Derrybawn walk

Photo via Shutterstock

  • Distance: 1.2km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Map: Find one here

A short 30 to 45-minute walk, the Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell Walk has more of an incline than some of the other shorter Glendalough walks but at just 1.2km it shouldn’t be too taxing on the legs.

Rising up beside the majestic Poulanass Waterfall, the track is steep but eventually descends down to St Kevin’s Cell where you’ll be treated to some mighty views over the Upper Lake and is also a good spot for birdwatching.

Before you finish your walk, don’t forget to stop by the quaint remains of the 11th century Reefert Church.

Glendalough walking trails FAQs

Over the years, we’ve been asked everything from, ‘Which Glendalough routes have the best views?’ to ‘Which are buggy friendly?’.

We’ve answered the most FAQ below, but if you have a question please feel free to shout in the comments.

What are the best walks in Glendalough?

The Spinc, the Glenealo Valley Walk, the Glendalough Spinc Walk (Blue Route) and the Miners’ Road Walk (Purple Route) are our favourites.

Which walking trails in Glendalough are easy going?

The Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell Walk (Bronze Route) The Miners’ Road Walk (Purple Route ) are two of the easier Glendalough walks.

Is there a Glendalough walks map?

If you scroll up to any of the Glendalough hiking trails above you’ll see that we link to a map in each one. You can also get one from the visitor centre.

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Wednesday 21st of February 2024

Your site has been instrumental in planning my Ireland trip. Thank you so much for your thorough and excellent information.

Arulmozi varman

Friday 2nd of September 2022

Wonderful walk in Glendalough. Did the entire walk! Fantastic! - Brown coffee channel


Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

There’s a new path, replacing the wooden steps if you approach from the Poulanass start of the white trail.. I usually start at the miners village. They’ve done an amazing job!! It used to get quite crowded and was very narrow

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