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
2. More walks and hikes
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!).
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.