The Crone Woods Maulin Loop is, in my opinion, one of the best walks in Wicklow.
Crone Woods is one of the gateways to the Wicklow Mountains and it offers up some superb walking routes that range from hard to handy.
In this guide we’re focusing on the 6km Maulin Loop, with info on the car park (note the warning!), the trail and more. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows about the Crone Woods Maulin Mountain loop
As a well-maintained and well-signed route, navigating the Crone Woods Maulin Mountain Loop is pretty straightforward. But before you jump in the car, check out the basics first:
Crone Woods Car Park is more than big enough to accommodate plenty of cars, but it can get busy on bank holidays and summer weekends. The last time we were there, the car park was open from 7 am to 9 pm during the summer and 8 am to 5 pm over winter, but be sure to check the closing time before you head out.
3. Be careful when approaching car park
This warrants a point of its own. The Crone Woods Car Park is accessed via a narrow, one-track rural that cuts through Crone Woods. You’ll often find walkers, livestock and cyclists along it, so take it easy.
4. Length + Difficulty
Most websites rate this walk as strenuous as it involves a fair bit of climbing, narrow, rocky paths, and mountain weather fluctuations. However, apart from a few steep sections every now and then, it’s pretty pleasant walking for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. The loop is 6km in total, with an ascent of 350 metres. On average, it’ll take about 2.5 hours to complete.
About the Crone Woods – Maulin Mountain Loop
Crone Woods is a gorgeous wooded glen that is awash with history. It was once part of the nearby Powerscourt Estate and in the 13th century, sections of the wooded slopes were reserved by royal decree as a hunting park.
Once you start climbing the craggy slopes, it’s easy to see why. The rocks and thick vegetation provide superb cover for the animals that roamed the slopes.
But it wasn’t just animals that used the mountain as cover. During the 1798 uprising, bands of rebels used the area as a hideout. Nowadays, the Maulin Loop trail is open to all who are willing to take it on.
It serves as a gateway to the Wicklow Mountains and offers plenty of hillside tracks as you cut through the moody pine forest. You’re in for some spectacular views along the way.
An overview of the Crone Woods Maulin Loop
In the car park, you’ll find a handy map board that shows you all of the various marked walks and paths in Crone Woods.
The Maulin Loop is marked by a red disc featuring footprints and you can follow it in either direction.
Starting the walk
Once you’ve found the signs, they’re easy enough to follow, though it can be useful to take a map with you if you want to explore some of the other paths in the area.
I prefer to follow this loop in a clockwise direction, as it rewards you with some of the best viewpoints earlier on.
This way starts by following the Wicklow Way trail as well, making it a little easier to take a detour to the summit of Maulin if you want to later.
Up, up, and away
The first part of the Maulin Loop involves a gradual climb through the pine forest.
You’ll cross a bridge over a small but stunningly beautiful stream, surrounded by mossy rocks, before continuing through the woods along a forest road.
Soon, the road veers to the right, and this is when the more intense climbing begins.
Ride rock view point
The rocky forest road will zig-zag up a fairly hefty incline on the edge of the woods. To your left you’ll be rewarded with amazing views out and over the forest as you go, the Great Sugarloaf looming up in the distance.
There are a number of benches dotted along this section, so you can take a load off and enjoy the views as you take a breather and enjoy a snack.
Keep going and you’ll soon see Powerscourt Waterfall crashing down from the hillside, while closer to hand, towering trees are slowly but surely replaced by dwarf pines and a thick covering of gorse, heather, and other wild shrubs.
Then you have to make a choice
The Maulin Loop doesn’t actually take you to the summit of Mount Maulin. Instead, just after Ride Rock, it splits from the Wicklow Way.
It then cuts right and gradually climbing to about 500 metres high on the shoulder of Maulin and the edge of Crone Woods.
You’ll enjoy more superb views over the countryside, with the Irish Sea stretching out beyond and the Great Sugar Loaf still visible in the distance.
If you fancy the hike to the 570-metre summit of Maulin, stay on the Wicklow Way (signed by a yellow hiking man) for a little longer until you come to a T-junction.
The Wicklow Way continues left, going downhill towards Dargle River and out to Mount Djouce, but you’ll head right, up a fairly hefty incline. The path will then sweep left and carry on uphill to the summit.
Back to base
To get back to the path, follow the narrow, rocky trail that cuts through the heather-strewn slope. From the peak, if you’re facing north, it’ll be ahead and slightly to your left.
This is pretty steep so take care, but surrounded by heather on all sides, it’s a beautiful addition to the walk.
Keep following the narrow path down to the tree line and you’ll soon reach a gate that takes you back to the marked loop.
The rest of the route winds down a fairly steep slope that zig-zags through a mix of woodland trails, forest roads, and narrow paths.
Keep your eyes to the left to see the beautiful Raven’s Glen partway down, and before you know it, you’ll be back at the car park.
Things To Do After the Crone Woods – Maulin Mountain Loop
One of the beauties of the Crone Woods walk is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Wicklow.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Crone Woods walk (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Enniskerry for Lunch (15 Minute Drive)
Perched on the banks of the Glencullen River, Enniskerry is a beautiful and bustling village. You’ll find plenty of fantastic cafes and restaurants in the village, as well as a couple of pubs, making it a great choice for a bite to eat or a pint or two to sup.
2. Powerscourt House & Gardens (15 Minute Drive)
With 47 acres of gardens, Powerscourt House & Gardens is an impressive 18th-century country house, a distillery, a golf course, shopping experiences, and its own waterfall, you could spend weeks at the Powerhouse estate and still not see everything.
3. Take a spin on the 21 Bends to Bray (25 Minute Drive)
The R117 road between Enniskerry and the seaside town of Bray is known locally as the ’21 Bends’. Just 2.3 km long, it winds through gorgeous scenery alongside the Glencullen River, taking in a number of lovely sweeping bends. A fantastic road to take your time on and admire the surroundings, which include dense vegetation, old stone walls, country cottages, and the wild riverbank.
FAQs about the Crone Woods walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is the Crone Woods car park a disaster?’ to ‘How hard is the walk?’.
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.
How long is the walk in Crone Woods?
The Crone Maulin Mountain Loop is 6km in total, with an ascent of 350 metres. On average, it’ll take about 2.5 hours to complete.
Where is the Crone Woods Car Park?
You’ll find the Crone Woods Car Park a 15-minute drive from Enniskerry, right at the beginning of the trailhead for the walk.
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.