Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and bustling nightlife. However, what many visitors may not know is that Dublin is also home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in Ireland. With a variety of trails ranging from easy to challenging, hikers of all levels can enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds the city.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring the hiking trails near Dublin is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Ireland. From the stunning coastal views of Howth Cliff Walk to the rugged terrain of Ticknock, there is a hike for everyone to enjoy.
So grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore the great outdoors near Dublin.
Top Hiking Trails Near Dublin
|1. Howth Cliff Walk||6 km||Easy||A coastal trail offering stunning sea views, just a short train ride from Dublin city.|
|2. The Wicklow Way||129 km||Moderate to Hard||Ireland’s oldest waymarked trail, this long-distance path offers varied scenery of mountains, upland lakes, and lush forests. Can be broken into sections.|
|3. Hellfire Club Walk||4 km||Easy||A short climb leading to panoramic views of Dublin city and the bay. The remains of the Hellfire Club, an 18th-century hunting lodge, sits at the summit.|
|4. Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk||7 km||Easy||A scenic coastal walk, with a path following the railway line, connecting the towns of Bray and Greystones.|
|5. Djouce Mountain||8 km||Moderate||A popular walk in the Wicklow Mountains with stunning views over the Powerscourt Waterfall and Lough Tay.|
|6. The Dublin Mountains Way||42 km||Hard||A long-distance trail crossing the Dublin Mountains from Shankill to Tallaght. Spectacular views across the city and the bay.|
|7. Ticknock Hill||8 km||Moderate||A looped walk in the Dublin Mountains with views over the city, Dublin Bay, and Wicklow Mountains.|
|8. Killiney Hill||2 km||Easy||Short walk to a summit offering panoramic views of Dublin Bay.|
|9. Glendalough – Spinc and Glenealo Valley||9 km||Moderate||A stunning mountain and valley walk, featuring ancient monastic ruins and two tranquil lakes.|
|10. Tibradden Mountain Walk||5 km||Moderate||A short but steep climb to the summit of Pine Forest, offering panoramic views of Dublin city and bay.|
|11. The Scalp Lookout||6 km||Easy to Moderate||A woodland trail offering panoramic views of Dublin Bay and the surrounding countryside.|
|12. Lough Tay (Guinness Lake)||4.5 km||Easy to Moderate||A trail leading to a hilltop view of the stunning Lough Tay, affectionately known as Guinness Lake for its dark water and white sand.|
|13. Sugarloaf Mountain||5 km||Moderate||A short but steep climb, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside and the Irish Sea.|
|14. Carrickgollogan Forest Walk||3.5 km||Easy||A looped forest walk, featuring a viewing point at the top with panoramic views of Dublin and Wicklow.|
|15. Massey’s Wood Loop||4 km||Easy||A leisurely walk through lush woodland, perfect for families or those seeking a tranquil stroll near the city.|
Howth Cliff Walk
The Howth Cliff Walk is a circular route that starts from Howth village, a picturesque seaside town easily accessible by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) from Dublin city center. From the Howth train station, it’s a short walk to the trailhead near the harbour.
Your walk begins by following the path along the harbour before you start to ascend the cliffs, moving away from the bustling village into tranquil, rugged beauty. You’ll be greeted by stunning views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye, and on clear days, the Mountains of Mourne to the north.
Passing the iconic Baily Lighthouse, the trail then brings you up to the summit of Howth Head, where you’ll find a perfect spot for a picnic, with panoramic views over the whole of Dublin Bay.
The terrain includes well-maintained gravel paths, wooden bridges and steps, but there are some rough and muddy sections after rainfall, so wear appropriate footwear. Keep an eye out for the local flora and fauna, including heather, gorse, and possibly even grey seals and porpoises in the waters below.
After your walk, treat yourself in Howth village. The area is famous for its seafood, so consider wrapping up your walk with a fresh fish and chips, a delightful end to a charming day!
Ticknock is located in the Dublin Mountains, just a short drive from the city center, and is a fantastic area for outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and orienteering. The area is managed by Coillte and offers well-marked, maintained trails, making it a great destination for a day out in nature.
The Bog of Frogs Loop is an 8-kilometer trail that takes you through dense forest and open heathland. The trail is a bit of a challenge with steep climbs and descents, but the effort is well worth it for the breathtaking views at the summit of Fairy Castle. Fairy Castle, despite its magical name, is actually a prehistoric cairn, a mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark, from the Bronze Age. From here, you get panoramic views of Dublin city, the Irish Sea, and on a clear day, the mountains of Wales.
The slightly easier Ticknock Walk is a 6-kilometer trail that weaves through the woods and offers stunning views of Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains to the south. On this trail, you’ll pass by the ruins of a 19th-century lead mine, a reminder of the area’s industrial past.
Whether you choose the Bog of Frogs Loop or the Fairy Castle Loop on Ticknock Walk, make sure to bring sturdy walking shoes, as the trails can get muddy, especially after rain. Also, keep an eye out for local wildlife such as deer, rabbits, and a variety of bird species.
The Bray Head Cliff Walk is a scenic 7-kilometer trail that takes you along the coast from Bray to Greystones. The trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and the Wicklow Mountains. The trail is easy to moderate and takes around 2 hours to complete.
Hell fire Club
If you’re seeking a short hike near Dublin, the Hell Fire Club Loop would be a top recommendation. Located just about 30 minutes from Dublin city center in the Dublin Mountains, this trail offers a fantastic introduction to Irish hill walking.
The loop is approximately 4 kilometers long, and despite its relatively short distance, it offers a good mix of uphill and downhill sections, making it a little challenging but not too strenuous. It typically takes around 1.5-2 hours to complete, making it a perfect choice for a quick escape from the city.
Starting from the Hell Fire Club car park, the trail ascends through beautiful woodland before reaching Montpelier Hill. The summit is home to the infamous Hell Fire Club, an 18th-century hunting lodge shrouded in folklore and mystery. But the real highlight here is the panoramic view over Dublin City, Dublin Bay, and even as far as the Mourne Mountains on a clear day.
The trail is well-marked, but it can get muddy in places, so proper walking shoes are recommended. After your hike, you can also explore the nearby Massy’s Estate, which offers additional woodland trails and a walled garden. The Hell Fire Club Loop is not only one of the best short hikes near Dublin, but it’s also a great place for a picnic and a day out in nature.
Carrickgollogan is indeed a delightful place for a hiking adventure near Dublin. Located in County Wicklow, its accessible location, combined with the scenic allure, makes it an excellent choice for walkers of all levels.
The 4-kilometer Carrickgollogan Loop Trail invites you to wander through a peaceful mix of broadleaf and coniferous woodland, rich with flora and fauna. You’ll find the path well signposted, ensuring a safe and smooth journey. After an initial gentle ascent through the woods, you’ll reach the Lead Mines Chimney, a remnant from the 19th-century mining activities, adding a touch of historical intrigue to your hike.
The real reward of this trail, however, lies in reaching the summit. It requires a bit of a steep climb towards the end, but your efforts are well compensated with panoramic views over Dublin Bay, the city, and the surrounding countryside that can extend as far as the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland on a clear day.The trail takes around 1.5 hours to complete and one the of best hikes if you are short of time.
Dublin Mountains Way
The Dublin Mountains Way is a 42-kilometer trail that takes you through the stunning Dublin Mountains. The trail offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
The trail is divided into manageable sections, each with its unique allure. Hikers typically segment the trek into three main sections: Shankill to Johnnie Fox’s Pub, Johnnie Fox’s Pub to Tallaght, and Tallaght to the Dublin Mountains. Each of these sections is designed to take about 3-4 hours to complete, but of course, this will depend on your pace and how much time you take to appreciate the scenery along the way.
From Shankill, the trail leads you through the Rathmichael Wood, along tranquil forest paths and open mountainside, providing breathtaking views of the coastline. The middle section takes you across the Two Rock Mountain and the Tibradden Mountain, home to a 5000-year-old burial site. The final leg from Tallaght encompasses a climb up the Kiltipper Hill, where you are rewarded with panoramic views of Dublin city, the bay, and even as far as the mountains of Wales on clear days.
Each segment of the Dublin Mountains Way is well-marked with yellow ‘walking man’ signs, ensuring that even first-time visitors can confidently navigate the trail.
Malahide to Portmarnock
The Malahide to Portmarnock Coastal Walk is a scenic 6-kilometer trail that takes you along the coast from Malahide to Portmarnock. The trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and the surrounding countryside. The trail is easy to moderate and takes about an hour to 1.5 hours to complete and is a really lovely walk.
Lough Tay to Lough Dan
The Lough Tay to Lough Dan hike is a remarkable journey through the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, renowned for their untamed beauty. This moderately challenging, 10-kilometer trail starts at Lough Tay, also known as the “Guinness Lake” due to its dark waters and creamy white beach. The trail weaves through a stunning panorama of rolling hills, boglands, and enchanting woodlands.
Beginning your trek at the viewing point overlooking Lough Tay, you’ll follow the marked Wicklow Way trail that ascends gently towards Lough Dan. En route, you’ll navigate through thick forests, open moorland, and possibly encounter some local wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled!
Upon reaching Lough Dan, prepare to be awestruck by the serene views of the lake nestled amid the hills. It’s a perfect spot to rest, have a picnic, and capture some memorable photos. The return journey follows the same trail back to the start.
Great South Wall Walk
The Great South Wall Walk is a beautiful 8-kilometer trail that takes you along the coast of Dublin Bay. The trail starts in Irishtown and takes you out to the Poolbeg Lighthouse. The trail is easy and takes around 2 hours to complete and is a nice and easy walk, its actually one of my favourite hikes near Dublin.
Spinc and Glenealo Valley
The Spinc Walk is a popular 9-kilometer trail that takes you through the stunning Glendalough Valley. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and takes around 3 hours to complete.
Trim Castle River Walk
The Trim Castle River Walk is a beautiful 5-kilometer trail that takes you along the River Boyne. The trail offers stunning views of Trim Castle and takes around 1.5 hours to complete.
Great South Wall Walk
The Great South Wall Walk in Dublin, also known as the South Bull Wall, is a truly unique walking experience. It extends nearly 4km out into Dublin Bay, and was built in the 18th century to help reduce silting in the port.
This flat, easy walk offers a great combination of natural beauty and maritime history. The path, flanked by the sea on both sides, leads to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, an iconic red structure standing since 1768.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Dublin city centre, Howth Head, and ships entering and leaving the port. On a clear day, you might even catch sight of the Wicklow Mountains. Wildlife enthusiasts will also appreciate the area’s abundant bird life, this is what hiking Dublin is about!¬
The walk starts from the car park at Pigeon House Road and the path is paved, making it accessible for all levels. Note, it can be windy due to its exposed location, so be sure to dress appropriately
Hiking in Different Terrains
Dublin and its surrounding areas offer a variety of terrains for hikers to explore. From flat terrain to coastal cliffs, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the different terrains and what hikers can expect when exploring them.
For hikers who prefer a more leisurely stroll, Dublin has plenty of flat terrain options. The Bog of Frogs Loop Walk in the Dublin Mountains is a 10km walk that takes hikers through boglands, meadows, and forestry. The walk is relatively flat, making it ideal for those who want to take in the scenery without too much exertion.
If you’re in the mood for a peaceful walk through the woods, then Dublin has plenty of options for you. The Three Rock Wood Loop Walk is a 6km loop walk that takes hikers through a beautiful woodland area. The walk is relatively easy, with only a moderate incline, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.
Dublin’s coastline is home to some of the most beautiful walks in the country. The Howth Cliff Walk is a 6km walk that takes hikers along the cliffs of Howth Head. The walk offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and is suitable for hikers of all levels. The Bray Head Cliff Walk is another popular coastal walk that offers stunning views of the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea.
Dublin’s forests offer a unique hiking experience for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Massy’s Wood Loop Walk is a 6km walk that takes hikers through a beautiful forested area. The walk is relatively easy, with only a moderate incline, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.
Dublin’s rivers offer a peaceful and scenic hiking experience. The Dodder River Walk is a 12km walk that takes hikers along the banks of the River Dodder. The walk is relatively flat, making it suitable for hikers of all levels. The Royal Canal Way is another popular river walk that takes hikers along the banks of the Royal Canal.
For hikers who want a bit more of a challenge, Dublin’s coastal cliffs offer a more strenuous hiking experience. The Howth Cliff Walk and Bray Head Cliff Walk both offer stunning views of the Irish Sea, but they also have some steep inclines and uneven terrain and the coastal route passes through some amazing locations on the way.
The Glendalough Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk is a 9km walk that takes hikers through the Wicklow Mountains. The walk includes a wooden boardwalk that takes hikers through a beautiful wooded area. The boardwalk is a unique feature of the walk and offers hikers a different perspective of the surrounding landscape.
Seasonal Hiking Near Dublin
Dublin offers a variety of hiking trails that are perfect for all seasons. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best seasonal hiking options near Dublin:
Spring is a great time to explore the hiking trails near Dublin. The weather is mild, and the scenery is beautiful. Some of the best trails to explore during spring include:
- Howth Cliff Walk: This 6-kilometer trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and the surrounding countryside. It’s an easy trail that’s perfect for families and beginners.
- Killiney Hill: This 5-kilometer trail offers panoramic views of Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains. It’s a moderate trail that’s perfect for those looking for a bit of a challenge in Killiney Hill Park.
Summer is the perfect time to explore the hiking trails near Dublin. The weather is warm, and the days are long. Some of the best trails to explore during summer include:
- Wicklow Way: This 130-kilometer trail offers stunning views of the Wicklow Mountains. It’s a challenging trail that’s perfect for experienced hikers.
- Bray Head Cliff Walk: This 7-kilometer trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and the surrounding countryside. It’s an easy trail that’s perfect for families and beginners.
Autumn is a beautiful time to explore the hiking trails near Dublin. The leaves are changing colors, and the weather is mild. Some of the best trails to explore during autumn include:
- Glendalough White Route: This 4-kilometer trail offers stunning views of the Glendalough Valley. It’s an easy trail that’s perfect for families and beginners.
- Hellfire Club Walk (Montpelier Loop Trail): This 8-kilometer trail offers stunning views of Dublin and the surrounding countryside. It’s a moderate trail that’s perfect for those looking for a bit of a challenge.
No matter what season it is, there’s always a hiking trail near Dublin that’s perfect for you. Just make sure to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing, and follow the Leave No Trace principles to ensure that the trails remain beautiful for years to come.
Hiking for Different Fitness Levels
Dublin has a range of hiking trails suitable for all fitness levels, from beginners to experienced hikers looking for a heart-pumping challenge.
For beginners, there are several easy and short trails to explore. The St. Stephen’s Green trail, located in the heart of Dublin, is a great starting point. The trail covers 22 acres and has no elevation gain, making it a perfect choice for those who want a leisurely stroll. The trail is also wheelchair accessible.
For those looking for a heart-pumping hike, the Djouce and War Hill Trail via Wicklow Way is a great option. This trail is a moderate hike that takes about 3-4 hours to complete. The trail covers 11.6 kilometers and has an elevation gain of 711 meters. The trail is challenging, but the stunning views of the Wicklow Mountains make it worth the effort.
For experienced hikers looking for a difficult trail, the Hellfire Club Walk (Montpelier Loop Trail) is a must-try. The trail covers 9.3 kilometers and has an elevation gain of 406 meters. The trail is challenging, with steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the views of Dublin city and the surrounding countryside are breathtaking.
No matter what fitness level you are, it is important to prepare for your hike. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring plenty of water, and pack a map and compass. It is also important to check the weather forecast before heading out and to let someone know your hiking plans.
What to Expect on Your Hike
Hiking near Dublin is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there are plenty of trails to choose from. Here’s what you can expect on your hike:
The hikes near Dublin offer a chance to experience the natural beauty of the area. You’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery, wildflowers, and maybe even some wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds, rabbits, and other small animals that call these trails home.
With so much natural beauty around you, it’s hard not to take a few photos. Bring your camera or phone to capture the stunning scenery along the way. You’ll want to remember the panoramic views of the city and sea that you’ll encounter on some of the hikes.
Many of the hikes near Dublin offer panoramic views of the city and sea. From the top of Two and Three Rock Mountain on the Ticknock walk, you’ll be treated to glorious views out over the city. The Dalkey & Killiney Hill hike offers coastal and mountain views, plus there’s even a monument at the top.
Be prepared for some elevation gain on some of the hikes. The Howth Cliff Walk is a 2-hour trail that offers beautiful sea views and clifftop scenery with some steep climbs. The Ticknock walk is a moderate, 1.5 to 2.5 hour walk that takes you along forest tracks and up to Two and Three Rock Mountain.
If you’re looking for hikes with sea views, you won’t be disappointed. The Howth Cliff Walk provides stunning views of the Irish Sea and the coastline. The Dalkey & Killiney Hill hike also offers coastal views.
If you’re up for a longer hike, the Guinness Lake walk is a 12 km loop that takes you around the scenic Lough Tay. The lake is famous for its resemblance to a pint of Guinness, with its dark peaty waters and white sand beach. The hike offers panoramic views of the Wicklow Mountains and the lake itself.