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.
The Mahon Falls Walk
One of a variety of walks (of varying difficulty levels) available around the Comeragh Mountains, the easy-going Mahon Falls walk is a deadly little trek for all times of the year.
Those that ramble along this trail can observe the elegant Mahon Falls waterfall plunging into the River Mahon.
Should you wish, you can also scramble up the side of the waterfall and take in the stunning scenery from what’s a unique vantage point.
The 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!
How long the walk takes and difficulty level
There are a couple of ways to approach the Mahon Falls walk. 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!).
But if you want more of a challenge then there’s always the longer option of climbing up the rocky side of the waterfall and turning the Mahon Falls hike into a loop, adding another km or so onto the hike.
The short walk is easy and fine for all experience levels. The loop walk is tough and requires a little more fitness and agility. You’ll find more info on both trails below.
Where to park for the Mahon Falls walk
The Mahon Falls are 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.
The drive down from Dublin along the M9 is about 180km and should take just over two hours. If you’re coming up from Cork via the N25 then the 100km journey should take about an hour and a half.
What to bring with you
Since this is a fairly easy ramble, you won’t need much in the way of extensive hiking gear. In fact, if you’re just doing the short walk then just normal trainers will be fine as it’s a gravel path (check the weather first though).
If you’re taking on the loop, then some sturdier boots will be in order. Of course, if you’re planning on seeing more of the Comeragh Mountains on the day, then you should pack supplies like water and snacks. Also, fully charge your phone and let people know what your plan is.
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 short trail (45 minutes)
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 activity.
The long walk (4 hours+)
Known as the Mahon Falls And Coum Tay walk, the longer walk stretches for 11km and takes roughly 4 hours to complete.
From a distance, it looks quite intimidating but up close it’s actually a pretty easy climb up the rocks, although make sure to take particular care in wet conditions.
From the top of the falls, you’ll be treated to some savage views across the valley and out towards the sea! It’s definitely worth stopping here and taking in the glorious Waterford landscape for a little while.
From here you can then cross the River Mahon and back again before joining a trail along the western side of the ridge that will then take you back south and around towards the car park.
Things to see nearby
As I mentioned earlier, you may want to spend some time exploring the rest of the area (And why wouldn’t you? Just look at it!).
In fact, 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?
The stunning Coumshingaun lake is only a short drive away from Mahon Falls 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.
And the Comeragh Mountains Drive is a great way to enjoy the splendour of the entire area. Stop often and drink it all in!