A Guide To The Mahon Falls Walk: One Of The Best Short Walks In Ireland

mahon falls walk
Photo left : By Tomasz Ochocki. Photo right : by Bob Grim

The Mahon Falls walk is one of my favourite things to do in Waterford.

And, as it’s no-where near as difficult as the nearby Coumshingaun Lake walk, it’s the perfect stroll for an early morning.

The Mahon Falls Walk is a 4km looped trail that features a magnificent waterfall. The difficulty of the walk is moderate and there’s plenty of parking nearby.

Rising up to 80 metres and offering striking views across the county and beyond, Mahon Falls is part of the gorgeous Comeragh Mountains range. Below, you’ll find a full guide to the walk.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Mahon Falls in Waterford

Mahon falls loop
Photo by Tomasz Ochocki (Shutterstock)

Although a visit to Mahon Waterfall is reasonably straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find Mahon Falls in Waterford, in the Comeragh Mountains. It’s a 25-minute spin from Dungarvan and a 40-minute drive from Waterford City. Although not technically part of the Copper Coast Drive, many take a detour to see the falls.

2. Parking

The Mahon Waterfall is well-signposted off the N25 and the Mahon Falls car park is just at the top of the Magic Road (more on that later!). If you get in any bother, just whack ‘Mahon Falls Car Park’ into Google Maps and you’ll get there without any trouble.

3. Distance from car park

It’ll take you roughly 20 minutes to get from the car park to the falls, so allow 40 minutes to get there and back and then at least 20 for soaking up the views.

4. The walks (there are 2)

So, there’s a Mahon Falls Walk (the one mentioned above) and there’s the Mahon Falls Hike. The latter is a 4 hour trail. You’ll find an overview of it below.

5. Safety warning

If you do the longer, Mahon Falls hike, you need to be properly prepared. We’d advise against doing it after bad weather as the ground is very boggy. The longer trail is unmarked, so you need to be able to follow a map. Please also be careful of the many sheer drops.

About Mahon Waterfall

the trail
Photo by Bob Grim on shutterstock.com

Mahon Falls in Waterford is an impressible, 80-metre waterfall that’s tucked away in the beautiful Comeragh Mountains and that’s often missed by those exploring the county.

Those that ramble along the long or short trail can observe the elegant Mahon Waterfall plunging into the River Mahon, while admiring the glorious views that surround it.

Mahon Falls is more of a gentle cascade than a powerful torrent of water (like Niagara), which means you can get up close and observe them from any angle. Only after a night of heavy rain do they start to get a little fierce! 

The lovely thing about the Mahon Falls walk is that you can see exactly where you’re going and what your destination is from the moment you leave the car park.

Meaning that you can soak up all the exquisite scenery surrounding you without worrying about getting lost. The gravel path is easy underfoot too, making it a cracking little ramble for families. 

The easy Mahon Falls walk

mahon falls hike
Photos by walshphotos on shutterstock.com

The easy-going Mahon Falls walk is one of the more popular walks in Waterford and it can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Starting point

You kick this ramble off right from the Mahon Waterfall car park. It’s easy to see where the trail begins from here.

How long it takes

From the car park to the falls and back, it’s a handy little stroll that’s just over 3km and takes less than 50 minutes (it’s also the most popular route!).

Difficulty level

The short Mahon Falls walk is relatively easy going and it should be fine for most levels of fitness. The only time that this walk becomes tough is when it’s windy. Just make sure to dress appropriately.

The trail

You’ll set off from the car park and head north along the gently twisting narrow path, with the waterfall in the distance at the back of a curved rocky ridge.

The grass and heather on either side of the path will slowly get rockier the closer you get to the falls, while the ridges get steeper and start to peer over you.

It’ll take you around 20 minutes to get to the waterfall and the same to get back to the car park. If you factor in 20 minutes to admire Mahon Falls, this is a 1-hour ramble.

The Mahon Falls hike

mahon falls with snow
Photo by VeeJey on shuttertstock.com

The much longer Mahon Falls hike is a looped trail that’s tough enough and that requires a little more fitness and agility and that requires experience in navigating an unmarked mountain trail.

Known as the Mahon Falls And Coum Tay walk, the longer walk stretches for 11km and takes roughly 4 hours to complete.

Although many websites describe this as an easy-to-follow trail, it’s not – and I’m saying this from first hand experience, as I tried it last summer and struggled to find the loop.

So, it’s for that reason that I’m not going to recommend the Mahon Falls hike here, as I genuinely struggled to find the way myself on a day when the weather was fine.

On a bad day, the Mahon Falls hike poses risk to those who lack proper navigation experience.

Things to see near Mahon Falls in Waterford 

two photos of Coumshingaun
Photo left via Dux Croatorum. Photo right via Andrzej Bartyzel. (on shutterstock.com)

One of the beauties of Mahon Waterfall is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of the best places to visit in Waterford.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the waterfall, from hikes and walks to scenic drives and more.

1. The Magic Road

Just beside the car park is the famous ‘Magic Road’ where cars mysteriously roll uphill! Is it an optical illusion or the work of higher forces? Hit play above and find out more in this guide.

2. Coumshingaun

Coumshingaun Lake loop walk
Photo by Dux Croatorum/shutterstock.com

The stunning Coumshingaun lake is only a short drive away from Mahon Waterfall and is one of Ireland’s most outstanding sights. The full hike is very demanding but it’s worth doing a shorter version just to get a look at this majestic work of nature.

3. The Copper Coast

the copper coast drive
Photos via Shutterstock

The brilliant Copper Coast Drive can be joined a stone’s throw from the falls and it’s here that you’ll discover some of the best beaches in Waterford, along with a clatter of towns and villages.

FAQs about the Mahon Falls hike

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from how long does the longer Mahon Falls hike take to what to visit 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 does it take to climb Mahon Falls?

Known as the Mahon Falls And Coum Tay walk, the longer walk stretches for 11km and takes roughly 4 hours to complete. There’s a shorter walk, also (see guide above).

How long does it take to walk from the car park to Mahon Waterfall?

Allow around 20 minutes to walk from the main Mahon Falls car park up to the falls itself. It’s a nice and handy walk.

Is there much to see near Mahon Falls?

Yes – you’ve everything from Coumshingaun Lough and the Magic Road to the Comeragh Drive and more nearby.

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