When it comes to walks in Sligo, you’ve an almost endless number to choose from.
But, for some strange reason, in many guides to the best things to do in Sligo, walks and hikes rarely feature, which makes minus sense, as this county is best explored on foot!
In the guide below, you’ll discover our favourite long and short walks in Sligo, each of which treats you to mighty views.
From lengthy rambles, like the one up Knocknashee, to more gentle forest walks, like the ‘hidden’ Glen, there’s hikes in Sligo to suit every fitness level.
Our favourite walks in Sligo
The first section of our Sligo walks guide tackles our favourite walks and hikes in Sligo, and it’s packed with a mix of lengthy hikes and handy forest walks.
As always, for any longer hike, make sure you plan your route in advance, check the weather and bring snacks, water and a fully charged phone.
1. The Glen (45 minutes, easy)
Few walks in Sligo can go toe-to-toe with the experience of a morning spent rambling around The Glen. You’ll find it hidden away on the side of Knocknarea, and it can be tricky to find.
Stepping into The Glen transports into a land that makes you feel like you’ve almost stepped into a different dimension.
With towering walls of mossy rock trickling with water on one side and an array of trees on the other, a ramble here really is something else.
2. Knocknarea (1.5 – 2 hours, strenuous)
The Knocknarea Walk is arguably one of the most popular Sligo walks, and for good reason – the views from the summit have a knack of knocking you sideways.
Finely plonked between Sligo and Ballysadare Bay, Knocknarea reaches a height of 327 metres (1,073 ft) and there’s a 2.4km, 1.5 – 2 hour walk here that’s well worth doing.
This is one of the more strenuous Sligo walks, but it’s a rewarding climb on a clear day. You’ll also see the cairn where, legend has, Queen Maeve is buried.
3. The Devil’s Chimney (1 hour, moderate)
The stroll up to the Devil’s Chimney is arguably one of the most unique walks in Sligo, however, it’s weather dependent – it needs to be raining/have recently rained.
A walk in Ireland that relies on rain. There’s a fair bit of irony in that! This is a looped walk that stretches around 1.2km and that’s steep enough, so moderate fitness is needed.
Unlike some of our Sligo walks, the trail is easy to follow, and there are plenty of viewpoints along the way if you need to rest. Hopefully, when you arrive at the viewpoint that looks out towards the Devil’s Chimney, it’ll be in full flow.
4. Benbulben Forest Walk (1.5 hours, easy)
The Benbulben Forest Walk is another of the better-known of the many Sligo walks, and it’s a great way of seeing Sligo’s table-top mountain up close.
Now, as this walk 1, doesn’t involve climbing the mountain itself and 2, follows a flatish trail, it should suit those of you looking for walks in Sligo for families.
This walk stretches for around 5.5km, and it should take you around 1.5 hours to complete. There are some spectacular views on this ramble, with everything from Sligo Bay to Knocknarea visible at different stages of the walk.
5. Caves of Keash (40 minutes, strenuous)
The hike up to the Caves of Keash is one of the more unusual walks in Sligo, and it’s one of the harder climbs in this guide. There are 17 caves scattered across the western side of Keashcorran, and the area is steeped in legend.
EXTREME care is needed when you get up near the brow of Keashcorran, as it can get VERY slippy here at times and walking shoes really are a necessity for this walk.
When you hit the top, you’ll get some incredible views out over the surrounding countryside from the first couple of caves.
Other brilliant Sligo walks
Now that we have our favourite walks in Sligo out of the way, it’s time to see what other rambles this county has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Glencar Waterfall Walk and the trail up Knocknashee to the Gleniff Horseshoe and more.
1. Glencar Waterfall Walk (2 hours, moderate)
The Glencar Waterfall Walk is actually in Leitrim but, as it’s right on the Sligo border, I’m going to pop it in here, as it’s well worth doing.
If you fancy seeing the waterfall and doing the hill walk, you need to alter the ‘official’ route a little. When you’ve finished at the waterfall, you need to make your way to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, it’s a decent climb up to the top where you’ll be treated to a view out over Glencar Lough. This version of the trail takes around 2 hours to complete.
2. Knocknashee (1.5 hours, strenuous)
I’d argue that the Knocknashee Walk is the most overlooked of the many Sligo walks, which is mental considering the views from its summit.
This walk follows a nice trail and, while there’s limited parking, if you arrive early the chances are you’ll have it all to yourself.
This walk is around 1.5km in total, and it’s very strenuous, however, it’s worth the effort. The views from the top on a clear day are some of the best in Sligo.
3. Union Wood (1.5 to 2 hours, easy)
If you’re on the lookout for forest walks in Sligo, you can’t go wrong with a few hours spent tackling one of the trails at Union Wood.
There are two trails to tackle at Union Wood, each of which is relatively handy which, considering the views you’re treated to, is good going!
The walks here shouldn’t take you any longer than 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. When you finish up, you’re a short, 20-minute spin from Strandhill where you’ll find plenty of spots for a post-hike feed.
4. Gleniff Horseshoe (2.5 hours, moderate)
Although you tend to here it described as the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive more often than not, this is a fine spot for a ramble with mighty views throughout.
The Gleniff Horseshoe is a 10km loop that boasts gorgeous views of the Dartry Mountains, and, on a clear day, Donegal Bay.
The walk here is one of the longer walks in this guide, and it’ll take you around 2.5 hours to finish, if you kick it off at the Benwisken Centre.
5. Lough Gill (30 minutes – 1 hour, easy to strenuous)
Now, there are several different walks that you can head off on in and around Lough Gill, each of which will be doable for people with a half decent fitness level.
If you head off on the Lough Gill Drive (you should – it’s class) your first stop will be Hazelwood Forest. There are several trails here, and the longest will take you around 1 hour.
One of the other walks here is at Slish Wood. This is a toughish walk and it follows a nice hillside track and it offers glorious lake views (takes around 1-hour).
The final Lough Gill ramble is Dooney Rock – another one for those of you in search of forest walks in Sligo. This is a short walk (30 minutes), but a rewarding one.
6. Mullaghmore Head Walk (2.5 hours, easy)
The Mullaghmore Head Walk is an easy enough walk that stretches around 8km and that’ll take you up to 2.5 hours to complete.
This walk kicks off near the Pier Head Hotel, and hugs the coast around the headland. On a clear day you’ll be able to enjoy views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League as well as back towards Benbulben.
7. Beaches galore
There’s an almost endless number of mighty beaches in Sligo dotted along the coastline that are perfect for a ramble.
Grab a coffee (or an ice cream from Mammy Johnston’s, if you’re in Strandhill!), lash off the runners and head off on your many way.
What Sligo walks have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Sligo Walks from the guide above.
If you have a walk or hike that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best walks in Sligo
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best family walks in Sligo to which ones offer the best views.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best walks in Sligo?
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with Knocknashee, The Glen, Knocknarea and the Benbulben Forest Walk.
What Sligo walks are the most unique?
You won’t get much more unique than The Glen, however, the views from Knocknashee really are outstanding.
What are the best forest walks in Sligo?
Hazelwood Forest, Slish Woods and Union Wood are all great for those looking for forest walks to head off on.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.