The Cruagh Woods walk is arguably one of the best walks in Dublin.
It’s also one of the most overlooked of the many Dublin Mountains walks, which is odd, as this ramble really does pack a punch.
Stretching for around 4km, the Cruagh Woods walk is moderately difficult, but it can be conquered in around 1 hour.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking for the Cruagh Woods walk (a potential pain) to an overview of the trail/route.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Cruagh Woods Walk
Although a visit to Cruagh Woods in Dublin is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
16km south of Dublin and just beyond the village of Rockbrook, the Cruagh Woods’ name in historical records goes back almost 1000 years. You’ll find it a 5-minute drive from both Tibradden Wood and the Hellfire Club and a 15-minute drive from Ticknock.
Take a right off the R116 onto the Cruagh Road where you’ll eventually spot the car park on the left-hand side amid a small smattering of pine trees. There are 40 spaces and there’s no fee to pay (but on fine day it’s wiser to get here earlier to guarantee a spot).
3. Opening hours
Opening hours differ between summer and winter. The Cruagh Woods car park is open from April to September between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm, and then from October to March between 8:00am and 5:00pm.
This is a moderate difficulty walk with a hard walking surface which will make things easier for less experienced visitors. There’s a 100 metre ascent which is high enough but shouldn’t pose too many problems (the epic views from the summit will provide more than enough motivation to tackle it!).
5. Time it takes
The Cruagh Wood Slí na Sláinte route is around 4km in length and can be walked in either direction. It should take around an hour to complete, though feel free to linger at the cracking viewpoints and natural beauty along the way.
About Cruagh Woods
I mentioned earlier that there are historical records talking about Cruagh Woods that go back almost 1000 years, but these ancient woods have been around a lot longer than that!
In fact, the area has been inhabited since the neolithic period and it’s likely that settlement in the area continued through the Bronze Age.
1184 is when we see Cruagh mentioned in records. Prince John, son of Henry, granted Creevagh or Cruagh with its churches to the See of Dublin, a gift confirmed by Edward in 1337 and by Richard during his visit to Dublin in 1395.
These days the land is open for everyone to enjoy and, at its highest point, it is some 522 metres above sea level, offering some of the best views of Dublin city anywhere in the county.
An overview of the Cruagh Woods Walk
The walk you’ll probably want to be taking on is the Slí na Sláinte route (‘path to health’) – a 4km loop that offers panoramic views of the Tibradden, Two Rock, Three Rock and Glendoo Mountains, as well as Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Howth and Dublin city.
Starting the walk
Starting from Cruagh Woods Car Park, you can do the loop in either direction but in this case we’re going to be talking about taking the walk in a clockwise direction.
Beginning at the barrier beside the car park, follow the forest road through a lovely stand of mature larch trees before passing through Sitka spruce along the road.
Keep an eye out for
Check out the views of Tibradden Mountain through the trees up ahead as the road then climbs gradually uphill past the first km mark.
Approaching the top of the hill, there is young Sitka spruce on the right and to the left, much clearer views of Tibradden Mountain and beyond to the unique Fairy Castle.
The half-way point
At the 2km mark, you’ll pass the Cruagh Mountain Access Route bog bridge which provides access to the open mountain.
Again over to the right, there are spectacular views of Dublin city, Dollymount strand and Howth head.
Looping back to the start
The forest road then gradually descends through the spruce forest and then through larch forest back toward the car park.
The loop is perfect for an easy weekend ramble (like some of these other Dublin walks), just make sure you time it with some nice clear weather!
Other mighty walks in Dublin
There’s an almost endless number of walks in Dublin to tackle after you’ve conquered the Cruagh Woods walk.
Below, you’ll find 4 of our favourites, from hill walks with mighty views to forest walks where, if you start early, you’ll dodge the crowds.
1. Killiney Hill
For some gorgeous coastal views after an easy little ramble, walks don’t come much better than the Killiney Hill walk just south of Sandycove. Taking just 20 minutes from the car park to the summit, you get a load of bang for your buck and you’ll be treated to stunning views out over Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains on one side and of Dublin city on the other.
2. Howth Cliff Walk
With its cinematic coastal scenes and easy-to-follow trail, the number one reason to visit Howth would be the famous Howth Cliff Walk. The 1.5-hour walk begins at Howth Summit car park and takes you north to Howth Head Peak where you should have some deadly views of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island.
3. Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk
Stretching from Sandymount Strand out along the Great Sand Wall to Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin Bay, the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is about 5km one way and should take an hour there and an hour back. The great red shape of the lighthouse is a pretty cool landmark and it dates back to 1768, although its current redesigned form dates from 1820.
4. Dublin Mountains Walks
Did you know there are 43km of mountain trails, country paths and rural roads along the Dublin Mountains Way? So yeah, plenty to get stuck into! Whether it’s coming across the mysterious Hellfire Club or taking in epic views from Dublin Bay to the Wicklow Mountains, there’s a ton of great trails only a few kms south of the city.
FAQs about the Cruagh Woods walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from is the walk buggy friendly to what to see nearby.
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 Cruagh Woods walk?
You’ll want to allow around 1 hour minimum to do the Cruagh Woods walk. It’s moderately difficult but the views are excellent.
Is there much parking at Cruagh Woods?
There’s around 40 spaces in the Cruagh Woods car park. On a good day (or at the weekend) this can get busy, so try and arrive early.