The Best Walks In Wicklow: 16 Wicklow Hikes To Conquer In 2021

A hape of walks and hikes to try

walks in wicklow
Photos via shutterstock.com

There’s an almost endless number of Wicklow walks that you can head off on.

From long-distance slogs, like the mighty Wicklow Way, to short rambles, like the one at Powerscourt, there’s walks and hikes in Wicklow for every fitness level.

Some of these Wicklow walking trails require a lot of planning and experience, like Lugnaquilla, while others are grand and handy, and are perfect for families.

In the guide below, you’ll find a handful of brilliant walks in Wicklow to work your way through in 2021.

Our favourite walks in Wicklow

best wicklow walks
Photo by Derek O Bryan (shutterstock)

The first section of our guide to the best Wicklow walks is packed with our favourite rambles in Ireland’s ‘Garden County’.

Below, you’ll find everything from the Ballinastoe Woods walk and the Lough Tay walk to some lesser-known Wicklow hikes, like the Devil’s Glen.

1. The Ballinastoe Woods walk

Ballinastoe woods walk
Photo by PhilipsPhotos/shutterstock.com

We’re off on the Ballinastoe Woods walk first for a 1.5 hour 6km ramble through some glorious lush woodland that looks like something plucked straight from a Lord of the Rings movie.

You’ll find the starting point for this walk in a little car park in this guide – there are several trails to choose from of varying lengths.

This is one of the handier of the many hikes and walks in Wicklow, and doesn’t require a huge level of fitness to complete. The views, especially when you detor up to the JB Malone Memorial, are incredible.

Here’s a guide to the walk

2. Djouce Mountain

Djouce walk
Photo by Semmick Photo

Next on the list is Djouce, the 74th–highest peak in Ireland at 725 metres high. Djouce is home to an easy-to-follow route that’s maintained by the Office of Public Works.

One of the beauties of the Djouce Mountain walk is that it’s nice and straightforward, unlike many of the Wicklow hikes.

You kick it off from the JB Malone Memorial car park and you follow a boardwalk pretty much straight to the summit. It’ll take around 2 – 2.5 hours depending on pace and stops.

Here’s a guide to the walk

3. Tonelagee / Lough Ouler

wicklow hikes to try
Standing out at Lough Ouler on a not-so-sunny May morning

The next walk we’ll be tackling is the one up Tonelagee that offers views out over Lough Ouler – Ireland’s heart-shaped lake.

There are two different starting points for the Lough Ouler hike. The first is the car park at Glenmacnass Waterfall and the second is the Turlough Hill car park.

The safest route up is the one from Turlough Hill car park. The problem with starting the walk from the Glenmacnass side is that you need to cross potentially slippy stones to reach the mountainside.

When you reach the viewing point, you’ll be greeted with a view out over one of the most unique places to visit in Wicklow – Lough Ouler. This is one of the best walks in Wicklow when it comes to views, in my opinion.

Here’s a guide to the walk

4. The Lough Tay to Lough Dan Walk

lough tay walk wicklow
Photo by Lukas Fendek/Shutterstock.com

Many people that visit Lough Tay (aka Guinness Lake) only hop out of the car for a bit, admire the view and then head off on their merry way.

Obviously that’s fine, but if you fancy exploring more of the area, there’s a lovely walk that you can head off on that’ll take you up to Lough Dan.

The walk here can take around three hours and climaxes with a magnificent view out over Lough Dan (a boomerang-shaped ribbon lake).

Here’s a guide to the walk

5. The Devil’s Glen

walking trails in wicklow
Photo by Yulia Plekhanova on shutterstock.com

I’d argue that the Devil’s Glen is the most overlooked of the many Wicklow walks, and you’ll find it near Ashford (around 15km east of Glendalough).

There are two walks at the Devil’s Glen to try: the Seamus Heaney Walk is a 4km/2-hour walk while the Waterfall Walk is a 5km/2.5-hour stroll.

Personally, I prefer the Waterfall walk. You’ll pass by sequoias and firs alongside the River Vartry before being greeted by the roar and majesty of the waterfall.

If you’re in search of forest walks in Wicklow, you can’t go wrong with a morning spent rambling around here.

Here’s a guide to the walk

6. The Spinc Loop

glendalough spinc walk
Photo by AndyConrad/shutterstock.com

The 3.5 to 4-hour Spinc Loop is arguably one of the most well-trodden walks in Wicklow and it’s arguably the most popular of the many Glendalough walks.

It’s also not overly challenging, for the most part (the start of the climb is steep and strenuous!) if you have a half-decent level of fitness.

The trail takes you along the Spinc ridge overlooking Glendalough, offering endless panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Follow the White Loop (it’s waymarked). It’ll take you up to a little waterfall and this marks the beginning of your ramble.

The bulk of this walk follows wooden sleepers (boardwalk) but it’s recommended that you wear decent footwear, all the same.

Here’s a guide to the walk

Popular Wicklow walks

The next section of this guide tackles some of the better-know Wicklow trails that people tend to flock to over and over again.

Below, you’ll find everything from the Sugarloaf Mountain and Djouce woods to some fairly unique places to go hiking in Wicklow.

1. The Great Sugarloaf

great sugarloaf walk
Photos via shutterstock.com

The Sugarloaf Mountain walk favourite walks in Wicklow. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to an unbeatable view after a handy 35-minute climb.

The Great Sugarloaf stands at 501m above sea level, and it’s a lovely spot for a casual walk with friends or family.

The shorter and handier route to the top of the Great Sugarloaf kicks off from the car park to the south of the mountain.

There’s a nice worn path to follow to the top, so you’ll have no trouble finding your way to the summit. On a clear day, you can soak up panoramic views of Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains, and the Irish Sea.

Here’s a guide to the walk

2. Djouce Woods (one of the best forest walks in Wicklow)

Djouce Woods car park
Photo by CTatiana (Shutterstock)

Djouce Woods is another of the more overlooked Wicklow walks, and there are two main trails on offer here.

There’s the short Blue Loop (4.5km 1.5 hours) and the long Deerpark Loop (9km 3 hours) both of which should be reasonably doable for most levels of fitness.

Both are lovely forest walks and you’ll be able to take in some mighty views of Powerscourt Waterfall on the way. 

The walks here aren’t overly taxing, which make them two of the more popular walks in Wicklow for families.

Here’s a guide to the walk

3. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk

Bray to Greystones cliff walk
Photo by Dawid K Photography/Shutterstock.com

If you fancy a longish walk in Wicklow that’ll batter away the stickiest of Saturday morning cobwebs, then the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk is just the ticket.

The walk here stretches for around 7km and can take from 2 to 2.5 hours to finish, depending on pace.

You can kick the walk off in either Bray or Greystones, whichever’s handier, and you’ll follow a well-maintained coastal path that winds along the side of Bray Head Hill.

If you’re driving, you could always park the car in Bray, do the walk, and then grab the DART from Greystones back to your car after.

Here’s a guide to the walk

4. The Bray Head walk

Next up is another reasonably handy walk in Wicklow that you can complete over the course of an hour or so, depending on pace.

You’ll find the 241m tall Bray Head slap bang in the middle of Bray and Greystones where it offers spectacular views its summit.

The Bray Head walk is easy to moderate difficulty wise. At the top, you’ll find a now-iconic concrete cross which was erected there in 1950.

If you climb it on a clear day you’ll be treated to brilliant views out over Bray and the ocean. You’ll also get a good eyeful of the Wicklow and Dublin mountains.

Here’s a guide to the walk

5. The Wicklow Way

Spinc and the Wicklow Way Glendalough
Photo via shutterstock.com

OK, so, realistically you’re not going to be completing the Wicklow Way over the course of a weekend – this route can take upwards of a week to finish.

BUT, if you’ve a bit of time off and you’re looking to go hiking in Wicklow, this could be a nice active way to get out exploring.

The walk kicks-off in Rathfarnham in Dublin and travels through a good chunk of Wicklow before finishing in Clonegal in Carlow.

Over the course of 7 or so days, you’ll follow a series of waymarked trails that take in mountains, lakes, glacial valleys, gorgeous mountain streams, forests, and plenty more.

Here’s a guide to the walk

6. Lugnaquilla (one of the most challenging Wicklow Mountain walks)

Lugnaquilla hike
Photo by mikalaureque (Shutterstock)

Lugnaquilla is the highest mountain in Wicklow (it’s also the highest in Ireland outside of Kerry!) and it’s one of the only Wicklow Mountain walks in this guide that ONLY seasoned walkers should tackle.

The hike on Lugnaquilla can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours to finish and it can be extremely challenging in places.

The Lugnaquilla hike is one of the more challenging walks in Ireland. Due to the cloud that tends to hang over its summit, the ability to use a map and compass is ESSENTIAL.

This is one of a number of mountains in Ireland where people regularly need to be rescued from. Please do not attempt it if you aren’t a seasoned hiker. 

Here’s a guide to the walk

Handy Wicklow walks that’ll suit families

If you don’t fancy trying one of the hikes in Wicklow but you still fancy a nice ramble, you’re in luck – there are plenty of handy walks in Wicklow you can head off on.

Below, you’ll find everything from Russborough House and Avondale Forest to some brilliant, easy-going Wicklow trails.

1. Russborough House

Russborough House
Photo via Russborough House

Russborough House is a beautiful 18th century estate that commands breath-taking views out over the Blessington Lakes and surrounding mountains.

If you’d like to try one of the more unique walks in Wicklow, you can combine a stroll around the gardens here with a visit to the 2000 metre beech hedge Maze.

There are several walking trail to try here, from the 2km wildlife trail to the 2km woodland and rhododendron trail.

Here’s a guide to the walk

2. Avondale Forest

Avondale Forest
Photo via Google Maps

Avondale Forest is widely regarded as the birthplace of Irish forestry. It was built in the 18th century and the original owner planted thousands of trees on the estate.

There are tree brilliant trails to try here: the River walk (2.5 hours), the Tree Trail (1 hour) and the Railway walk (2 hours).

If you’re on the lookout for Wicklow walking trail that are missed by many, Avondale is well worth a visit.

Here’s a guide to the walk

3. Blessington Greenway

Blessington lakes
Photo by David Prendergast (Shutterstock)

The Blessington Greenway can be explored on foot or by bike. The trail begins near the Avon and it hugs the Blessington Lakes for the majority of the journey.

The route then continues on and finishes at Russborough House, where you can extend the walk/cycle, if you like.

This is one of the easier going Wicklow walking trails. The only thing that puts me off this one is the midgets in the summer! 

Here’s a guide to the walk

4. The Powerscourt Waterfall walk

powerscourt waterfall wicklow
Photo by Eimantas Juskevicius (Shutterstock)

The stroll around Powerscourt Waterfall is easily the shortest of the many Wicklow walks in this guide. It’s for those of you that fancy a handy ramble.

If the day’s fine, visit the waterfall – you’ll need to pay in here but you can park a short distance away.

There’s no real route here, so follow your gut. You can kick things off with a saunter up to the waterfall and then, when you’ve had your fill, stroll around the beautiful grounds.

Here’s a guide to the walk

What Wicklow hikes have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left some brilliant Wicklow walks out of the guide above.

If you have any Wicklow hikes that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and we’ll check them out!

FAQs about the best walks in Wicklow

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best hikes in Wicklow for views and what Wicklow walks are most suitable for families.

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 Wicklow walks?

In my opinion, the best of the many hikes in Wicklow are the Ballinastoe Woods walk, Djouce Mountain and Lough Ouler.

What Wicklow hikes are good for inexperienced walkers?

The Djouce Mountain trail is one of the more easy-to-follow Wicklow walks, as it follows a boardwalk for the majority of the walk. The views are also incredible. 

What Wicklow walking trails have the best scenery?

The Spinc Loop (Glendalough), Lough Ouler, Djouce, and the Lough Tay to Lough Dan walk all pack a punch scenery wise.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. How have you missed The Murrough coastal walk, starts in Wicklow Town, you can go all the way up the coast to Greystones.

  2. There’s a deadly free app called all trails that you can download and there are loads of local hikes in it for all of the world. This app actually tracks the route via satellite so when you arrive to the start location of the map you are located within the map. Can’t get lost even in bad weather. Make sure to bring a power pack and cable!
    We been using it all year and find it amazing.

  3. Devils Glen walk through a forest along a river and has a beautiful waterfall too. Lots of different paths to follow and a free carpark. Just past Ashford.

  4. Hey Keith, How are ya? I’ve just moved to Wicklow so will start ticking the walks on your list off.

    2 walks I have found that are worth mentioning.

    Kilcoole to Greystones beach walk. About 5km there and back. Can start at Newcastle Beach either to make it longer.

    Vartry (Roundwood) Reservoir Trails. 3 options to choose from. Lower Lake (my fave) is 6km, Upper Lake is 6km too and Forest Walk is 3km. All are flat 95% of the way around are gorgeous.

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