There are a handful of mighty hikes in Dublin, for those that don’t fancy leaving the capital. And there’s an endless number of hikes near Dublin for those that do.
If you’ve conquered the various walks in Dublin and you fancy venturing further afield, you’re in luck – there’s a fine mix of hard and handy trails within easy reach.
In the guide below, you’ll find a section on hikes in Dublin (mainly mountain walks) along with a clatter of hikes near Dublin, a reasonable driving distance away.
The best hikes in Dublin
The first section of our guide looks at the best spots to go hiking in Dublin, with a mix of long and short walks on offer.
Unsurprisingly enough, many of these trails are the much loved Dublin Mountains walks, but there are several others, like the Howth Cliff Walk, that follow flatter tracks.
The Ticknock walk is a moderate, 1.5 to 2.5 hour walk that takes you along forest tracks and up to Two and Three Rock Mountain where you’ll be treated to glorious views out over the city.
The Fairy Castle Loop is the most trodden trail at Ticknock, and a moderate level of fitness is needed, as there’s a lot of incline to conquer before you reach the top.
As this is one of the most popular hikes in Dublin, it gets insanely busy at the weekend, which makes parking a nightmare, so try and arrive early.
2. Tibradden Woods
The Tibradden Woods Walk is one of the handier hikes in Dublin, and there’s a well-maintained trail here that stretches for around 2.5km.
When I did this last, it took us just under 2 hours to complete it at a fairly leisurely pace. One of the most interesting sections of the trail can be found at the summit.
Here, you’ll find a prehistoric burial cairn that’s believed to date back to the bronze age. From the summit, you’ll also be treated to stunning views of Dublin Bay all the way across to Howth.
3. The Howth Cliff Walk
The picturesque little village of Howth is one of the more popular places to go hiking in Dublin, thanks to it’s peach of a coastline and its trails that take you up Howth Head.
The Howth Cliff Walk can be tackled via 3 or 4 different trails, each of which varies in length (1.5 to 3.5 hours) and difficulty.
If you’re after a long walk, try the Bog of Frogs loop from Howth DART station. This is a 12km ramble that takes in the areas best sights.
If you’re looking for shorter hikes in Dublin, park at Howth Summit and try the trail we discuss here. It’s doable for most fitness levels.
4. The Hellfire Club
The Hellfire Club is another of the more popular places to go hiking in Dublin, and the result is a packed out car park at the weekends, so aim to arrive before 9am.
There are two routes to tackle on Montpelier Hill and they vary in length (1 – 1.5 hours) and difficulty. However, the trails are well-maintained and it’s a very doable walk for most.
Each trail climaxes when the old (and supposedly haunted) hunting lodge comes into view, along with the panoramic view out over Dublin City.
Carrickgollogan is one of the most overlooked hikes in Dublin, and it’s located a stone’s throw from both Ticknock and Tibradden.
This is a short enough walk and it should take you between 30 and 40 minutes to complete it, depending on pace. There are two trails to try here.
The Lead Mines Way is a loop that takes in the historic (and unmistakable!) Lead Mines chimney. The Mountain Access Route takes you to the Viewing Rock where you’ll get some epic panoramas of County Dublin and beyond.
The best hikes near Dublin (under a 1-hour drive away)
Now that we have what we think are the best hikes in Dublin out of the way, it’s time to see what trails can be reached a short drive from the capital.
Below, you’ll find a mix of long and tricky hikes near Dublin along with some reasonably handy forest trails that are well worth tackling.
1. Djouce Mountain
The Djouce Mountain walk is a beaut. And the great thing about it, aside from the views, that is, is how straightforward the trail is.
You kick-start it from JB Malone car Park and you simply follow the boardwalk. The trail stretches for around 8km and should take you between 2 and 3 hours to complete (with stops).
If you arrive at the summit of Djouce on a clear day, you’ll be able to soak up views from Dublin City and Bray to Arklow and beyond. This is one of the most popular hikes around Dublin for good reason.
2. The Great Sugarloaf
i’ve been doing The Great Sugarloaf walk since I was a kid and, 32 years later, it still never fails to impress… unless you arrive at the top and it’s misted over, that is!
Standing at 501m above sea level, the Great Sugarloaf is the perfect place for a casual early-morning climb. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains, and the Irish Sea from its summit.
It should only take you around an hour to get up and back down. Just be careful not to leave any valuables in the car – I’ve heard to numerous break-ins here.
3. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
If you’re on the lookout for longish hikes near Dublin, then the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk is just the job. At 7k in length, this walk should take you around 2 hours to complete, and you’ll be treated to stunning coastal scenery throughout.
The trail takes you along a coastal path that winds along the side of Bray Head Hill. If you’re driving, park your car in Bray, do the walk and then grab the DART back to Bray from Greystones.
Or, if you’re getting the DART from Dublin, head to Greystones and then walk the trail to Bray. You can polish off your ramble with a bite-to-eat in the town.
4. Djouce Woods
People often get the Djouce Woods Walk mixed up with the Djouce Mountain Walk, but the two couldn’t be more different.
There are two trails you can use to explore the forest here: The Blue Loop (4.5km 1.5 hours) and The Deerpark Loop (9km 3 hours).
Although neither walk is overly taxing, The Blue Loop is the handier. As you ramble, you’ll see everything from Djouce Mountain and Maulin to Powerscourt Waterfall and more.
5. Ballinastoe Forest
Ballinastoe Forest is one of those places that tends to go viral online every couple of weeks, due to the fact that it looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings.
There’s a fine little stroll here that can be a little bit tricky to follow, depending on your entry point to the woods (there are two main entry points).
There are several different walks of varying lengths at Ballinastoe, and they range from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours+ in length. This is another of the more popular hikes near Dublin, which means parking at the weekend can be tricky.
6. Lough Tay to Lough Dan
There’s a lovely stroll from Lough Tay to Lough Dan that’ll treat you to brilliant views from start to finish. The walk takes around three hours and climaxes with a mighty view out over Lough Dan.
This is a nice alternative to the walks in Glendalough and you’re likely to only encounter a tiny fraction of the people that you would on the likes of the Spinc Loop.
However, the trail can be tricky to follow in places and we’ve heard reports of one of the gates being closed at times in recent months, so keep that in mind.
The best hikes around Dublin (under a 1.5-hour drive away)
The final section of our guide to the best hikes near Dublin looks at the tracks and trails that can be reached in under 1.5 hours.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Slieve Gullion and Loughcrew Cairns to Lough Ouler and much more. Dive on in!
1. Lough Ouler
If you fancy grabbing a look at Ireland’s heart-shaped lake, get yourself up Tonlagee Mountain in Wicklow this weekend.
I did this hike recently and it took around 3 hours from start to finish (note: there are longer hikes around Tonlagee!). We parked in Turlough Hill car park and followed the trail directly across the road to the top.
We kept going until we had a decent view of Lough Ouler (above) and chilled on the grass for a bit. The climb from the car park to the summit is steep, but there’s a nice trail to follow.
Many of the more popular hikes near Dublin are located within Glendalough. Arguably the most popular of these trails is the Spinc Loop.
This walk will take you along the Spinc ridge overlooking Glendalough, offering endless panoramic views over Glendalough and the surrounding hills and mountains.
You’ll return past the Glenealo River via a couple of gorgeous waterfalls into the Upper Lough. There is a well-marked trail to follow for the entire walk, so you’ll have no hassle finding your way around.
The last two times that I’ve done this walk/hike it’s taken 3.5 hours. That includes several stops along the way.
3. Slieve Foy
Slieve Foy is the highest peak in the Cooley Mountains and it’s the perfect place to spend an active morning or afternoon. You can do a loop walk here that follows red and blue arrows along forest roads, grassy tracks and mountain paths.
As you get stuck into the climb you’ll be treated to a gorgeous panoramic view out over Carlingford Lough. The walk here took us around 2 and a half hours the last time that we did it.
Now, we probably could have finished it a little quicker, but got lost at one point and sat down for a while at another.
4. Slieve Gullion
You’ll find Slieve Gullion mountain in south County Armagh. It’s here that, on a clear day, you’ll be treated to views like the one in the photo above – patchwork-like green fields as far as the eye can see.
There’s a 15.2km circular route up Slieve Guillion that’ll take you through gorgeous woodland, along steep paths and across peaty grounds (decent footwear is essential!).
This is a brilliant but tough walk that can take the guts of 4 hours when you factor in time for stops and there’s a lot of incline walking needed to reach the top.
5. Bray Head
The Bray Head Walk is one of my favourite (handy) hikes near Dublin. You’ll find this 241m tall hill and headland slap bang in the middle of the towns of Bray and Greystones.
It’s a reasonably easy climb to the top and it shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to get up and back down again. At the top, you’ll find a now-iconic concrete cross which was placed there back in 1950.
When you finish up, you can nip into one of the many places to eat in the town and grab a post-walk feed.
6. Loughcrew Cairns
The next stop on our list takes us to out to Loughcrew Cairns in Meath. Interestingly enough, the cairns at Loughcrew are far older than Newgrange (they date back to 4000 bc).
Now, although this is the highest hill in the county, it’s just 276 meters high, which means that you’ll reach the top in around 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the lush green countryside that surrounds the hill. This is arguably one of the most overlooked hikes near Dublin.
If you’re a seasoned climber and you’re in search of hikes near Dublin that offer a decent challenge, look no further than Lugnaquilla in Wicklow.
At 925m, this is the highest mountain in Ireland outside of Kerry. The hike on ‘Lug’ can take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to complete and can be very challenging in places.
On a clear day, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the Sugar Loaf, a good chunk of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains and the glorious Irish sea.
Hikes in Dublin and nearby: Which ones have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to go hiking in Dublin and nearby from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best Dublin hikes and nearby rambles
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What Dublin hikes are the hardest?’ to ‘Which hikes around Dublin 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 places to go hiking in Dublin?
In my opinion, the best hikes in Dublin are Ticknock, Carrickgollogan, Tibradden and the Howth Cliff Walk.
What are the best hikes near Dublin to try this weekend?
Some of our favourite hikes around Dublin are Ballinastoe Forest, the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk, the Great Sugarloaf, Djouce and Tibradden.
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.