When it comes to walks in Waterford, you’ve an almost endless number to choose from.
County Waterford boasts a huge variety of walking tracks and trails, with something to suit all ages and levels of fitness.
In the guide below, you’ll find a mix of everything from hikes and cliff walks to some often overlooked forest walks in Waterford.
Our favourite walks in Waterford
The first section of our Waterford walks guide tackles our favourite walks and hikes in Waterford, and it’s packed with a mix of lengthy hikes and handy forest walks.
As always, for any longer hike, make sure you plan your route in advance, check the weather and bring snacks, water and a fully charged phone.
1. The Mahon Falls Walk
The Mahon Falls Walk is an enjoyable and easy walk, popular with locals and visitors alike. There’s a car park nearby and it’s a 20-minute walk from the parking area to the falls.
Mahon Falls are formed by the River Mahon as it tumbles from the highest point of the Comeraghs. The falls drops 80m and are best viewed after heavy rain.
However, the scenery is so spectacular you will have plenty to see even if the water’s just a trickle. Here’s a full guide to this walk.
2. The Coumshingaun Lough Loop
You’ll need to be a climber to tackle the Coumshingaun Lough Loop as there’s a good bit of scrambling, and the path is close to the edge at times, so you wouldn’t want to be afraid of heights.
The loop is about 7km long, and the earlier in the day you start, the better, as it is popular and there can sometimes be queues at the scrambling places.
The recommended timing is 4 hours, but you might add an hour with the amount of amazing scenery to take in. Here’s a full guide to this walk.
3. Ardmore Cliff Walk
The 4km Ardmore Cliff Walk is one of the more popular things to do in Waterford. This is easy, enjoyable and the views are glorious. The most trodden route here begins and ends at the Cliff House Hotel.
As you ramble, you’ll see magnificent seascapes and historical sites. St Declan’s Well dates to the 5th Century, and there’s a look-out post from the Napoleonic era.
Stop for a while to investigate the Sampson Shipwreck and the coastguard station that was later a watchtower during the Civil War. Here’s a full guide to this walk.
4. The Waterford Greenway
The Greenway is made up of 46km (25 miles) of beautiful scenery and places of historical interest and it can be walked over the course of a couple of days.
Or, if you like, you can break it up into stages (see the stages here) and tackle it bit by bit, whenever you have time.
There are three viaducts to cross as well as eleven bridges before you reach Kilmacthomas, where you can stop for a break. The route is pretty easy, and you can either stop for a short rest or a night along the way.
5. The Anne Valley Walk
The well-maintained Anne Valley Walk is a favourite for both locals and visitors. The linear track has a car park at each end of its 5km length, and the level going makes the Walk suitable for everyone.
The Walk is well signposted with information about the plants and wildlife, which are abundant. Little touches like fairy doors and benches to rest and pass a word or two with passersby give extra features to the Walk.
Otters, herons, Kingfishers may surprise you along the route, and all the time, you have gorgeous scenery to entertain. Make sure to keep an eye out for Dunhill Castle on the way.
6. The Nire Valley Walks
The Nire Valley is a fantastic collection of coums and lakes with various walks to suit everyone. You can walk in the woods beside the Nire River or try one of the loop walks. People usually start out from the car park that has information boards for the different levels of walks.
The blue arrows are for the return Walk to Sgilloge Lakes, 2 of the 6 lakes on the lower part of the Comeraghs, while the purple arrows are for the more arduous Coumduala Loop. Each year, on the second weekend in October, the Nire Valley puts on a walking festival.
The unspoilt beauty of the Nire Valley gives it an other-worldly feel, a feeling of times gone by. It doesn’t matter when you visit because it has something for all seasons – vibrantly green and lush in the summer and carpeted with purple heather in the autumn. Even when the mist descends, it can’t take away from the beauty of this place.
7. The Dunmore East Cliff Walk
The Dunmore East Cliff Walk is an approx. 5km linear trail located near Rathmoylan, County Waterford. It is suitable for all levels of fitness.
Start the Walk from the designated point at the rear of the Old Convent in Dunmore East Village. The route can be as long or short as you wish, up to 10km. You’ll have beautiful views of Hook Head and the famous Hook Lighthouse, the sight of which we’ll never grow tired.
Have a break when you get to Portally Cove and enjoy the sound of the waves roaring over the rocks. Keep an eye out for cormorants, kittiwakes, and red-legged chough, and you may see a seal in the beautiful clear waters.
Garden and forest walks in Waterford
Now that we have our favourite walks in Waterford out of the way, it’s time to see what other rambles this county has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Ballysaggartmore Towers Walk and Lismore Castle Gardens to Curraghmore House and more.
1. Mount Congreve House & Gardens
With 16km of walkways and four acres of walled garden, the gardens at Mount Congreve House cover an impressive 70 acres.
Looking over the River Suir, the Mount Congreve Gardens contain over 3,000 species of shrubs and trees, not to mention the thousands of Rhododendrons and hundreds of Camellias, Acers, and conifers.
These aren’t gardens to rush through, so give yourself plenty of time. The different walks are colour coded according to the time you have available.
If you’re in search of family-friendly walks in Waterford, you’ll find several relatively easy strolls to head off on here.
2. Lismore Castle Gardens
Lismore Castle Gardens cover an area of 7 acres and are actually two separate gardens. The upper garden has been in situ since 1605, with the original steps and layout still very much as it was then.
A flower meadow has been created in modern times, which has added to the appeal of this charming 17th Century garden. Access to the lower garden is via The Riding House.
These gardens feature open lawns, a Yew tree avenue, Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons and many more. The sculptures dotted around these gardens add interest and your garden ticket also allows access to the modern art gallery housed in the castle.
3. The Ballysaggartmore Towers Walk
The Ballysaggartmore Towers Walk is small but perfectly formed. If you’re starting out from Lismore Castle, follow the signs towards Fermoy, and the Towers are about 3.5km out. There’s ample parking outside the entrance.
You can spend as little as 40 minutes to 2 hours walking as there are lots of benches dotted around where you can relax and enjoy the birdsong or watch the children playing among the trees.
There’s a small, hidden waterfall where the children can play (spare footwear might be an idea here). It’s not an exaggeration to say that it feels magical in this woodland, and The Towers’ gothic appearance only adds to the impression.
4. Curraghmore House
Set on over 2,500 acres, Curraghmore House is Ireland’s largest private estate. It is owned by the 9th Marquis of Waterford and his family, and guided tours allow visitors to get a glimpse into the history of the estate.
A Bronte novel comes to mind with the layout of the house and grounds. The first Earl of Tyrone laid out the gardens in about 1750, with the house as the centrepiece.
The third Lady Waterford designed the garden in front of the house in a French style with balustrades, terraces and statuary overlooking the man-made lake. The family continues the centuries-old tradition of farming, hunting and horse breeding.
Often overlooked Waterford walks
The final section of our guide to the best walks in Waterford looks at easy and tricky rambles that tend to get overlooked.
Below, you’ll find everything from the brilliant Fenor Bog Walk to the beautiful Boolas Loop and more. Dive on in!
1. The Fenor Bog Walk
A Fen is a wetland system that has consistently high water levels at or right below the surface. The Fenor Bog was formerly a bog where turf was cut.
It is a naturally regenerating fen that is extremely rare globally and was designated as a National Nature Reserve in 2004, Waterford’s first.
The Fen mainly contains Barn Owls, Cuckoo, Reed Bunting, Snipe, Stonechat, and Warblers. A short=eared owl has also been spotted here. A boardwalk runs 500m into the Fen, which is 1km long and gives visitors a great view of the many habitats on the Fen.
2. The Boolas Loop
The Boolas Loop is a 9km walk that links 2 of the most remarkable glacial features in the Comeragh Mountains. The Coum Larthar is the longest Coum at 1km and holds the highest lake in the mountains.
Locals call it the Boolas (a buaile), which used to mean a herding hut, usually in the hills during summer. These days Boolas describes 4 ribbon lakes in the coum.
The walk takes about 4.5 hours and the trail is mainly upland mountainous terrain, hillside paths and laneways. The Grade is strenuous, and you need a good fitness level and have experience of upland hiking.
3. Glenpatrick Bridge loop
This moderate 8km walk in the Rathgormack area of County Waterford is mainly on forestry roads and tracks. The Comeragh Mountain range with the sheer Knockanaffrin Ridge, and the highs and lows in Coum Mahon, dominates the scenery
In the last part of the Walk, you’ll travel along part of the early 19th Century Clonmel to Kilmeaden road, a road built by the military in answer to the 1798 Rebellion and fighting by local factions.
The ascent is 160 metres, and the loop begins and ends at Glenpatrick Bridge car park & picnic area
4. The Lough Mohra Walk
The Lough Mohra National Looped Walk in Glenpatrick Woods includes the An Rathbeag looped walk features. Under the Knockanaffrin Ridge lies the Lough Mohra Coum, a marshy dip created by glaciers.
This quiet and serene place is perfect for enjoying the views and capturing the moment. If you have a clear day, you can see the Slievenamon peak, and in the gap between Slievenamon and the Hills of Kilkenny, you can see the Walsh Mountains.
The Walk takes up to 1.5 hours and is moderately difficult. The looped track is along forestry roads and mountain terrain. The ascent is 220 metres, and you’ll need hiking boots, waterproof clothing, snacks, water and of course, your phone.
What Waterford walks have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Waterford Walks from the guide above.
If you have a walk or hike that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best walks in Waterford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best family walks in Waterford to which ones offer the best views.
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 Waterford?
It’s hard to beat The Ardmore Cliff Walk, The Coumshingaun Lough Loop and The Mahon Falls Walk.
What Waterford walks are the most unique?
The Ballysaggartmore Towers Walk is definitely one of the more unusual rambles but, because of the views, The Coumshingaun Lough Loop reigns supreme.
What are the best family walks in Waterford?
Curraghmore House, Lismore Castle Gardens and Mount Congreve House & Gardens are all good options for family walks.
Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.