Get the layers on, the hiking boots out and go explore the best of Donegal on foot.
Donegal is a pretty special place, and when the conditions are right, there is really is no place we’d rather be. So get yourself there this weekend and take a walk on one of its waymarked ways, national looped walks, coastal paths, island loops and many mountains. Here are six of the best walks in Donegal.
1. Inishowen Peninsula Loop
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The Inishowen Peninsula is often referred to as ‘Ireland in Miniature’ as it has so much to offer the outdoor enthusiast within the one area. This 8km coastal loop will take you two to three hours along bog roads, laneways, rough tracks and minor roads. It starts at a car park at a World War 2 Lookout Tower on Inishowen Head. You’ll pass the point where St Columba left Ireland on his way to Iona (Portkill) and if you look closely the west of Scotland is visible on good days. Simply follow the purple arrow and enjoy the sights before you on this hidden gem on Donegal’s coastline.
2. Muckish Mountain
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Muckish Mountain is a stunning table top mountain to rival Benbulben in Co Sligo. It’s steep sides and wide pleateaued summit give it its name An Mhucais, the pig’s back. There is a choice of routes to the summit, one on the Falcarragh at Gleannaneor, and the other main route is called the Miners Path. If you’re after remoteness and some tranquillity then this is the ideal climb. When you get to the top, enjoy the views of Derryveagh, Creeslough, North Derry and Antrim.
3. The Bluestack Way
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The Bluestack Way is a 65km route through a stunning wilderness area of Co Donegal. The views as you cross the Bluestack Mountains and pass Lough Eske are well worth the achy legs. Camp or shack up for the night in one of the many towns and villages along the route. You’ll get terrain of all sorts on this long distance walkway, from bog roads to moorlands, and quiet public roads. There are no significant climbs, but with an aggregate ascent over the route of 1430m, it’s not flat either.
4. The Errigal Mountain and Mackoght Mountain Hiking Trail
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For a little challenge why not climb the 751m Errigal Mountain? The Errigal Mountain and Mackoght Mountain Hiking Trail is a moderate to strenuous 6km loop walk that will take you three and a half hours. It is Donegal’s highest and most iconic mountain situated east of Gweedore village. There are twin peaks to this summit and the ridgeline twixt them is a stunning and at times adrenaline fuelled crossing! The round trip from the car park is only 6km so take a morning and go explore!
5. Sli Arainn Mhor
OS Map: Signposted
Sli Arainn Mhor is a looped walk around the island of Arranmore (part of Bealach na Gaeltachta which is a national waymarked way). The walk begins and ends at the Ferry Port. We particularly love the wild and remote western side of the island. You will be inundated with the beautiful coastal scenery. The 14 kms will take approximately four to five hours to complete.
6. The Pilgrims Path, Sliabh League Cliffs
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While the masses gather at the Cliffs of Moher, let us let you in on a little secret, the sea cliffs of Slieve League are actually three times the height. Make your way up the narrow One Man’s Path and peer over the edge. There is no better place in the world than standing on the edge of a cliff, with seabirds flying overhead and nothing but roaring swell beneath you. Make sure to look out for two rocks nicknamed the ‘giant’s desk and chair.’ There are plenty of routes to choose from 2km to 12km options and carparks to leave your car. Our favourite route is the Pilgrims Path.
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