When it comes to walks in Louth, you’ve plenty to choose from.
From hikes, like the Slieve Foye Loop, to woodland walks, like the trails at Ravensdale Forest, there’s endless rambles to tackle.
There’s also heaps of beaches in Louth for those of you that fancy strolling alongside the sea.
In the guide below, you’ll find a mix of hard and handy hikes in Louth. Dive on in!
Our favourite walks in Louth
The first section of our Louth walks guide tackles our favourite walks and hikes in Louth.
As always, for any longer walk or hike, make sure you plan your route in advance, check the weather and let someone know where you’re going.
1. Clogherhead Cliff Walk
The Clogherhead Cliff Walk starts from the car park over near the harbour in Clogherhead. The trail follows the sea cliffs and ends out near Clogherhead Beach, taking around 30 – 45 minutes to complete in total.
You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the East Coast of Ireland along with the Mourne Mountains, Cooley Mountains, Lambay Island and Rockabill Lighthouse.
The one thing to note is that the ground here gets extremely muddy after heavy rainfall, so good walking shoes are needed. This is one of the more unique walks in Louth and you can easily pair it with fish and chips by the sea.
2. Slieve Foye Loop
The Slieve Foye Loop is one of the more popular walks in Louth for good reason. It’s marked by blue arrows as it follows forestry roads, lanes, grassy tracks and mountain paths. Start from wherever you park in Carlingford Town.
The trailhead is clearly marked as you head towards the square. You’ll need stout footwear as it takes in boggy areas and some steep ascents and descents.
The reward is stunning views of the coast, the Mourne Mountains and Carlingford Lough. Allow 2.5 hours for this strenuous hike. The loop brings you back to Carlingford where pubs, restaurants and cafes will be a welcome sight!
3. Ravensdale Forest Loop
The Ravensdale Forest Walk is within the woodland of the same name which flanks the Black Mountain with its 506m summit. There are 3 waymarked trails, but one of the shortest and arguably the most interesting is the Ravensdale Circular.
It passes ancient standing stones, bridges and old driving trails as it takes you into the belly of the forest. Start at the car park and head up the left side of the hill for about 400m to join the forest road.
The trail takes about 2.5 – 3 hours, depending on pace. Here’s a guide to the walk.
4. Annaloughan Loop Walk
The 8km Annaloughan Loop is one of the more popular hikes in Louth and it explores the scenic Cooley Peninsula on a quiet country trail with a river and amazing views.
Park at Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant and Bar (free) and you can nip in for a post-walk feed on your return. Follow purple arrows to a minor road and laneway to reach the barrier entrance to the forest.
Once you join the forest road there are information boards. This moderate hike ascends 250m and takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.
Other very popular hikes in Louth
Now that we have our favourite hikes in Louth out of the way, it’s time to see what else this historic corner of Ireland has to offer.
Below, you’ll find some of the more popular Louth walks, with a mix of short strolls and half day rambles.
1. Carlingford to Omeath Greenway
Enjoy the 7km Carlingford Greenway walk that takes about 2 hours to complete in total. Starting in Carlingford, the Greenway follows the shoreline of Carlingford Lough along a relatively flat surface.
This is a very doable trail for most fitness levels and it offers stunning views of the Mourne Mountains and the surrounding Lough as you stroll.
If you fancy, you can rent a bike from one of several places in Carlingford Town and cycle the route – it’ll take you around 30 minutes each way.
2. The Boyne Greenway
Ideal for all ages and fitness levels, the Boyne Greenway is about 4km long and has lovely views as you amble along the waterside. It starts in Dominic’s Park near the Bridge of Peace in Drogheda.
There’s a good surface for walking or cycling with stretches of boardwalk in places. Stroll along beside the River Boyne and pass beneath the Mary McAleese Cable Bridge before joining the Boyne Canal.
Check out the heritage signs along the way and learn more about Irish mythology in this area. The walk ends at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre in Oldbridge.
3. The Barnavave Loop
The Barnavave Loop is another of the more popular hikes in Louth, and thus gets busy on fine weekend mornings. Signposted with red waymarkers, this is a moderate to hard 14km hike that starts and ends in Carlingford, near King John’s Castle.
Head north over the Golden River Bridge and follow the forest roads in the shadow of Slieve Foye Mountain. As you ramble, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Carlingford Lough and the surrounding countryside.
Return through Barnavave (hence the name) and Commons to the charming walled town of Carlingford with its craft shops, studios, pubs and cafes. This walk takes around 4.5 hours.
4. The Tain Way
Arguably the most notable of the many walks in Louth is the Tain Way which follows the ancient trails through the scenic Cooley Mountains and along the shores of Carlingford Lough with equally spectacular views.
The area is steeped in legend and historic sites including cairns, passage graves, portal and court tombs, monastic ruins and medieval remains. From Carlingford, the Tain Way visits Omeath before ascending into the countryside and mountains.
After crossing Clermont Pass it descends through Ravensdale Woods before heading to Ballymakellett, the valley of Glenmore and back to Carlingford via the southern ridge of Slieve Foye. It’s an epic 40km walk that takes around two days!
Family-friendly walks in Louth
The final section of our guide to the best walks and hikes in Louth looks at family-friendly rambles.
Note: These are nice, leisurely walks – they may not necessarily be buggy friendly.
1. Rathescar Lakeside Walk
Next up is another of the more popular family-friendly walks in Louth and you’ll find it close to the town of Dunleer. The Rathescar Lakeside Walk is a favourite for families that enjoy birdwatching, fishing and ambling along in scenic surroundings.
The lake is well stocked with roach and fishing is by permit only. Parts of the walk go through established woodland of beech, ash, sweet chestnut and silver fir.
This beautiful lakeside ramble is ideal for families with the chance to spot flowers, birds and wildlife in the peaceful wildlife reserve with wonderful lake views.
2. Stephenstown Pond
Another lake that’s popular with families of all ages is Stephenstown Pond in Dundalk. This well planned nature park has plenty of parking (admission fee per car), fishing by permit, lakeside trails, woodland and plenty of wildlife.
There’s a large playground for youngsters and plenty of ducks to feed. Interpretative boards along the way identify flowers, fauna, birds and animals that live in the area.
After the walk, drop into the Dairy Maid Coffee Shop for a cuppa or head to neighbouring Agnes Burns Cottage where the sister of Scottish poet Robbie Burns lived until 1834.
3. Townley Hall Woods
There are a number of nature trails around Townley Hall Woods which was once the estate of the Balfour family. The 1.7km loop Glen Wood Nature Trail is perfect for families.
It starts in the car park where you can enjoy a picnic before setting off. The trail weaves through the woodland to a viewing point over the site of the Battle of the Boyne (1690).
The woods include trees planted by the Balfours over 150 years ago, along with mature oak, beech, sycamore and ash trees. The walk here takes around 30 minutes.
4. Blackrock prom and beach
Enjoy a stroll along the promenade in the popular Victorian holiday resort of Blackrock, a dormitory town of Dundalk. The sandy Blackrock Beach is lined with a broad promenade and at the centre is the Blackrock Millennium Sundial, reputedly the largest in Ireland.
The prom has many restaurants and bars where you can sit and watch sailboarders, canoeists and kitesurfers. The walk has superb views across Dundalk Bay towards the Cooley Mountains.
At low tide, the beach becomes a mixture of sand and mud flats that is a feeding ground for wading birds, Brent geese and dunlins.
FAQs about the finest walks in Louth
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What hikes in Louth are the hardest?’ to ‘Which Louth walks are the most scenic?’.
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 walks in Louth?
It’s hard to beat the Clogherhead Cliff Walk, the Ravensdale Forest Walk and the Slieve Foye Loop, in my opinion.
What are the best hikes in Louth?
In my opinion, the Slieve Foye Loop and the Annaloughan Loop are hard to beat. The Barnavave Loop is another popular trail to tackle.