If you’ve read our guide to the best walks in Killarney, you’ll know that we’re fond of the Torc Mountain walk.
This is one of those rambles that never gets old, thanks to the knock-you-on-your-arse scenery that you’re treated to throughout.
A challenging walk in places, the Torc Mountain walk packs a mighty punch, and it’s well worth conquering during your time in Killarney.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from where to park for the Torc Mountain walk to an outline of the trail to follow.
Some quick need-to-knows before setting off for the Torc Mountain walk
Unlike some of the walks that we covered in our Killarney walks guide, the Torc Mountain hike isn’t as straightforward.
However, once you have a good gist of the trail, you’ll be fine! Below, you’ll find some need-to-knows that’ll help you on your merry way.
Torc Mountain can be found a short, 7km from the centre of Killarney. It’s a 25-minute drive and roughly a 35-minute cycle from the town.
2. How long it takes
There are 2 Torc Mountain walks to choose from: a long walk and a shorter walk. I’ve only ever done the shorter, 2 – 3 hour (depending on pace) walk up Torc, so that’s the one I’m going to cover in this guide.
The best starting point for the Torc Mountain walk (in my opinion) is the Upper Car Park. You can find it by sticking ‘Killarney Hiking Parking Lot‘ into Google Maps. There isn’t a huge amount of parking here, so arrive early if visiting during peak season.
Reasonable fitness levels are required if you plan on giving the Torc Mountain hike a go. The trail gets steep in places and the ground can become uneven underfoot. It’s a very doable walk for most.
5. Proper care/hiking gear
Decent foorwear is needed for this walk. Part of the ascent is covered with boardwalk, which has fantastic grip, however, there’s a good chunk of the walk where you’ll need to use stone steps, that get slippy when wet.
The Torc Mountain walk: An overview of each stage of the trail
The first time that I did the Torc Mountain hike, we got lost, and had to double back. This happened at the start of the walk, after leaving the car park…
Not ideal. Below, I’ve explained where to go when you leave the car park and I’ve outlined a rough guide on how to reach the summit.
Section 1: The Old Kenmare Road
When we did the Torc Mountain walk the first time, the first section of the trail had us puzzled, as we couldn’t find the signs that many guides to the trail said to look out for.
However, you need to turn left out of the car park and head off along the Old Kenmare Road. Look out for the barrier – you need to walk through this and then head over the bridge.
You’ll then reach a junction – turn left here and soon after you’ll see a sign that says something like ‘Torc Mountain Path/trail/route’.
Section 2: The trail to the summit of Torc
So, once you’ve arrived to the signpost (it should be on your right), it’s time to start climbing. Shortly after the signpost, you’ll come to the beginning of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk on Torc covers a good chunk of the route to the summit, however, there are stone steps you’ll need to walk along, which can get slippery, so be careful.
The views from this section of the Torc Mountain walk are out of this world, with mountains surrounding you in almost every direction.
Section 3: Reaching the summit
You’ll know you’re near the summit of Torc Mountain when the boardwalk disappears. You’ll soon be greeted by a view that’ll knock you sideways.
On a clear day, those that conquer the Torc Mountain hike will be treated to views of everything from the Dingle Peninsula (to the west) to the Lakes of Killarney.
Kick back here for a while and soak it all up. When you’re ready, you can make your way back down via the same trail that’ll take you back to the carpark.
Things to do after the Torc Mountain walk
One of the beauties of the Torc Mountain hike is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other things to do in Killarney, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Torc Mountain (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Refuel in Killarney
If you fancy a post-walk feed, there are plenty of great restaurants in Killarney to nip into. There’s also loads of great places for breakfast in Killarney, if you do the walk early.
2. More walks and hikes
There are plenty of walks in Killarney itself, and there are loads nearby, like the Carrauntoohil hike and the Gap of Dunloe walk.
3. Historical sites and more things to do
As Torc Mountain is on the Ring of Kerry, there’s no end to the number of things to do and places to visit nearby. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Torc Waterfall
- Ladies View
- Moll’s Gap
- Killarney National Park
- Muckross House
- Muckross Abbey
- Beaches near Killarney
- The Black Valley
FAQs about climbing Torc Mountain
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park for the Torc Mountain walk to how long it takes.
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.
Where do you park for the Torc Mountain hike?
As mentioned above, I prefer to park in the Upper Car Park, as it’s a little bit handier. I’ve also found, on the times that I visited, that it was a little bit quieter, too.
How long does the Torc Mountain walk take?
The walk takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on pace and how much time you spend soaking up the views at the top.
Is the climb to Torc summit difficult?
Although a moderate level of fitness is needed, this walk shouldn’t prove too troublesome for most (proper footwear is a must, however!).
Wednesday 7th of September 2022
There are still no signs from the car park to the start of the Torc Mountain walk. The directions on this website are very good and will get you there. However, when you get to the junction and turn left the sign to Torc Mountain is 20 minutes later rather than "soon after". The walk is then very well marked and very enjoyable. There are great views at the top of the Killarney lakes. It took us about 2 hours for the round trip and walking shoes are fine for this walk.
Don't bother going to the Torc waterfall as it is very touristy and disappointing.
Friday 18th of March 2022
This site is accurate in description and detail which is what is needed when planning a hike. Torc was wonderful 2 hours up I hour back with breaks to enjoy the fabulous scenery. Tough in places but well worth it. Senior average fit hikers!!
Saturday 19th of March 2022
Cheers Noreen. Glad you found it useful!