Skip to Content

The Best Walks In Wicklow: 22 Wicklow Hikes To Conquer In 2024

The Best Walks In Wicklow: 22 Wicklow Hikes To Conquer In 2024

This is a collection of my favourite Wicklow walks, ranging from hard to handy.

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.

The first section of the guide contains walks in Wicklow (e.g. Ballinastoe) while the second section contains hikes in Wicklow (e.g. Djouce).Cheers!

The best walks in Wicklow

The first section of our guide focuses on the various Wicklow walks – these are generally trails that aren’t too taxing.

The second section of our guide is packed with the different Wicklow hikes, each of which requires a decent bit of climbing.

1. The Devil’s Glen

Devil's Glen

Photos via Shutterstock

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.

Key info:

2. The Glen Beach Cliff Walk

Glen Beach Wicklow cliff walk

Photos courtesy Celtic Routes via Fáilte Ireland

Another of the Wicklow walks that tends to get overlooked quite a bit is the Glen Beach Cliff Walk which kicks off just outside of Wicklow Town.

There is a 4 km linear trail that has around 100 metres of ascent and, while it’s rated ‘moderate’ from a difficulty perspective, it’s reasonably easy going (allow 1.5 hours).

Along the way you’ll see beaches, coves, the ruins of Black Castle and plenty more. Now, this is one of several Wicklow walking trails that comes with a warning…

DO NOT APPROACH THE SEALS! You’ll spot them along one of the beaches but make sure to avoid going anywhere near them!

Key info:

3. The Avondale Forest trails

Avondale Forest Park

Photos by Coillte via Failte Ireland

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.

In recent years, Avondale underwent a fair aul overhaul and it’s now home to the tallest slide in Ireland along with one of the more unique Wicklow walks – the treetop walk (see photo above).

However, if you’re looking to doge the crowds, there are several other trails here ranging from 15 to 60 minutes in length.

Keep in mind that, as a visit here is one of the more popular things to do in Wicklow for families, it gets very busy at the weekends/during holidays.

Key info:

  • Length: 1 – 4km
  • Time: 15 mins to 2 hours
  • Trail guide: Read it here

4. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk

bray to greystones walk 2023

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is one of the more popular walks in Wicklow – the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk!

Now, a quick warning – the Greystones side of the trail is closed due to landslides, so you need to take an alternative route from Bray (see link below).

The original walk here stretched for around 7km and took from 2 to 2.5 hours to finish. The ‘new’ trail can be done either as a tough looped walk or as a handy linear trail.

Key info:

5. Crone Woods

Crone woods to Maulin

Photos left and bottom right: Gabriel. Top right: Sebastian (Adobe Stock)

Crone Woods is home to one of the finest forest walks in Wicklow – the 6km Crone Woods Maulin Loop!

Although it’s strenuous in places, those with a moderate level of fitness should find this more than doable.

Taking the guts of 2.5 hours, the Crone Woods walk takes you through a gorgeous wooded glen that’s steeped in history.

When you reach the higher levels of Maulin and the views of the surrounding countryside meet your eye, you’ll discover why this is regarded as one of the best walks in Wicklow.

Key info:

6. Djouce Woods

Djouce Woods

Photos by Falombini (Canva)

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.

Key info:

  • Length: 4.5 – 9km
  • Time: 1.5 – 3 hours
  • Trail guide: Read it here

7. Lough Tay to Lough Dan

Lough Tay

Photos via Shutterstock

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 are two lovely trails to tip along that start near Pier Head Gates.

The first is the 8km/1.5 hour linear walk to Lough Dan. This is an easy-going trail that takes in views of both lakes.

The second is one of the more popular hikes in Wicklow – the 2.5 to 3-hour Luggala hike.

Key info:

8. The Ballinastoe Woods walk

Ballinastoe forest walk

Photos via Shutterstock

We’re off on the Ballinastoe Woods walk next 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 detour up to the JB Malone Memorial, are incredible.

Key info:

9. The Russborough House trails

 Russborough House

Photos courtesy Joanna Barry via Fáilte Ireland

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.

Key info:

10. The Vartry Reservoir walks

Vartry Reservoir

Photo left: Russell Taylor. Top right: Wojtek Piatek. Bottom left: rick734’s (Canva)

You’ll find some of the handier forest walks in Wicklow a short spin from Roundwood at Vartry Reservoir.

Vartry Reservoir provides drinking water for Dublin and this massive expanse of water holds a whopping 5.6 billion litres!

There are several easy-going trails to try here, including the 7.2km Lower Vartry Trail and the 6.4km Upper Vartry Trail.

Key info:

  • Length: 3km – 7.2km
  • Time: Varies
  • Trail guide: Read it here

11. The Kilmacurragh Gardens walks

Kilmacurragh Gardens

Photos courtesy Failte Ireland

The National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh are home to some great family walks in Wicklow (and best of all, entry is free!).

As you’d expect from a garden of its kind, the whole estate that it sits on is beautifully maintained, and there are several trails to tip along.

Grab a coffee in the on-site cafe and then head for a saunter. There’s nothing too strenuous here but it’ll suit those of you looking for handy Wicklow walks.

Key info:

12. The Blessington Greenway

Blessington Greenway

Photos courtesy Celtic Routes via Fáilte Ireland

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! 

Key info:

  • Length: 6km (entire greenway)
  • Time: Trails vary
  • Trail guide: Read it here

13. The Powerscourt Waterfall walk

Powerscourt Waterfall

Photos via 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. Another similar ramble is the Glendalough Waterfall Walk.

Key info:

14. The Red Kite Loop

Avoca Red Kite Loop

Photos courtesy Celtic Routes via Fáilte Ireland

Another of the more overlooked walks in Wicklow is the Red Kite Walk in Avoca. This trail is 2.5km in length and generally takes around 1 hour to complete.

But what’s the story with the name?! Well, in 2009, the Golden Eagle Trust reintroduced Red Kites to Kilmagig Forest, which now houses several breeding pairs.

So, make sure to keep an eye (and an ear!) out as you walk. There’s fairy doors dotted throughout the trail and, although there’s a steep incline early on, it’s a handy enough stroll.

Key info:

15. The Glen of the Downs

Glen of the Downs

Photos via Shutterstock

The Glen of the Downs is arguably one of the most famous Wicklow walks but it comes with a warning – PLEASE take great car entering and leaving the car park as it’s on a busy dual carriageway. 

Once part of the 300 acre Bellevue Estate, it’s situated between ancient Bronze Age Hillforts that were once the strongholds of the King of Dublin and the King of Leinster.

There’s a nice 3.6km/1-hour looped forest walk at the Glen of the Downs that’s grand and easy-going. One of the highlights of the walk is Octagon that was built by the La Touche family in 1766.

The story goes that highwaymen were hanged at the Octagon during the 18th century.

Key info:

The Best hikes in Wicklow

Now that we have the best walks in Wicklow, it’s time to look at the various Wicklow hikes, most of which are moderate to streneous.

Below, you’ll find everything from ‘Lug’ and the Spinc to what are, in our opinion, the best hikes in Wicklow.

1. The Lugnaquilla Hike

lugnaquilla routes

Photos via 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 Lugnaquilla hike is one of the more challenging hikes in Wicklow and it can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours to finish.

One of the reasons this can get tricky is 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. 

Key info:

  • Length: 15km
  • Time: 5 – 8 hours
  • Trail guide: Read it here

2. The Djouce Mountain Hike

Djouce hike

Photos via Shutterstock

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.

Key info:

3. The Great Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Photos via Shutterstock

The Sugarloaf Mountain walk is one of my favourite walks in Wicklow. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to an unbeatable view after a steep 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.

Key info:

4. The Lough Ouler Hike

Lough Ouler

Photos via Shutterstock

The next of the Wicklow trails that 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.

Key info:

5. The Spinc (Glendalough)

the spinc hike Ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

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.

Key info:

6. The Bray Head Hike

Bray Head walk

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is another of the handier Wicklow walks 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.

Key info:

7. The Wicklow Way

Glenmacnass Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

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.

Key info:

  • Length: 130km
  • Time: 7 – 10 days
  • Trail guide: Read it here

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 hard Wicklow hikes or handy Wicklow trails you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and we’ll check them out!

FAQs about the different Wicklow walks

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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

John Dowling

Sunday 11th of December 2022

Howya, in west Wicklow there are plenty of hikes too. From Hollywood Glen you could do Church mountain with beautiful views of the Blessington lakes. If feeling energetic you could continue across Lobawn to Stranahealy. Keadean is another worth doing. A short walk locally is the Fauna walk from Donard village.


Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Just done Luggala estate walk up to summit of Luggala overlooking Lough Tay. Typing this from the summit. Found it thanks to your Djouce mountain suggestion. Stunning !! About an hour to the top.

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Cheers Barry! That Luggala Estate walk is one that I tried to do last year but got completely lost on! Good to hear you managed to find your way! If you have any tips on the route please shout! Hope all's well!


Wednesday 2nd of March 2022

The Wicklow head cliff walk is a great hidden gem!


Saturday 15th of May 2021

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.

Neil Arthurs

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Nice to see my photo sold on Shutterstock 👍😀

Keith O'Hara

Monday 26th of April 2021

Cheers for uploading to Shutterstock, Neil! It makes illustrating the articles a 100 times more enjoyable!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.