Brought to you by:

TNI Covid Logo

Want to hike in Northern Ireland but don’t know where to start? You should check out some guided hikes to get you started! These tour guides will give you a whole new appreciation of the mountains and might even spark a love for hiking that you didn’t know you had.

It can be tough planning your route through the mountains, especially with minimal experience but don’t let that deter you from tackling the amazing trails of Northern Ireland. Hiring a guide or joining a group can be a great way of getting out there safe in the knowledge that you are in good hands. If you’re already an experienced hiker all these trails can also be completed without a guide.

Here are 9 of our favourite hikes in Northern Ireland.

1. The Giant’s Causeway, Co Antrim

Distance: 5 miles (8 km)

Difficulty: Easy

Route Description:

There are so many routes that you can take around the Giant’s Causeway. Our favourite is the 5-mile hike from Dunseverick to the Giant’s Causeway as it takes in beautiful ruins, coastal waterfalls and the hexagonal basalt columns themselves. However, if you’re under time pressure you can always just take a leisurely walk down to the rock formation and back.

Guided Tour: Away a ‘Wee’ Walk

2. Slieve Donard, Co Down

Distance: 6 miles (10 km)

Difficulty: Hard

Route Description:

Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland’s highest peak and one of the best hikes to challenge yourself. This trail is quite steep so a good level of fitness is required, but the views are worth the uphill battle. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Isle of Man or Dublin. The route itself takes you up through a beautiful forest trail then you link up with the famous Mourne Wall and follow it all the way to the peak.

Guided Tour: Walk the Mournes

3. The Mourne Wall

Image: Discover Northern Ireland

Distance: 22 miles (34 km)

Difficulty: Very Hard

Route Description:

One of Northern Ireland’s best hiking challenges, the Mourne Wall hike, takes in 15 peaks and a total elevation gain of around 3,000 metres! A tough multi-day hike but when done with an experienced guide like Walk the Mournes it can be an unforgettable experience.

An intense hike that takes you over many rocky, boggy and grassy trails. This is truly the pinnacle of hiking in the Mournes.

Guided Tour: Walk the Mournes

4. Rathlin Island, Co Antrim

Image: Discover Northern Ireland

Duration: 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Route Description:

Rathlin Island is a truly unique hiking experience. the highlight of the trail is the jaunt up to the lighthouse. Built in 1847, the lighthouse offers amazing views of Ireland, Scotland and the Western Isles. In addition to the fantastic views, local guide, Kevin, will fill you in on the rich history of the area.

This is a nice light hike for those looking for a leisurely day out. It consists of mostly minor roads and grassy trails.

Guided Tour: Nine Glens Walking Tours

5. The Devil’s Coachroad, Mournes, Co Down

Image: Trek NI

Distance: 6 miles (10 km)

Difficulty: Hard

Route Description:

No round-up of the best hikes in Northern Ireland is complete without The Devil’s Coachroad! It is one of the most talked about hiking challenges in the Mournes and it’s easy to see why. The loose rocks and incredibly steep terrain make it a challenge for any hiker. We would not recommend it for beginners but avid hikers should be able to handle it with the help of the guides at Walk the Mournes.

Guided Tour: Walk the Mournes

6. Cave Hill, Belfast, Co Antrim

Image: Visit Belfast

Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Description:

This is a short but challenging route which starts at beautiful Belfast Castle. The trail is rugged but way-marked with green arrows. The views from the top are absolutely spectacular, overlooking the city of Belfast and the surrounding countryside. It’s an absolute must-do for any hiking enthusiast visiting Belfast.

The guided tour linked below takes you up at night with head torches provided by your guide Dave.

Guided Tour: Cavehill by Night

7. Murlough Bay & Fairhead, Co Antrim

Image: Discover Northern Ireland

Distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Description:

This route blends two looped walks together into a figure of eight trail taking in Northern Ireland’s tallest cliffs, a stunning bay and a bracing climb to a dramatic escarpment. The route boasts breathtaking views of Rathlin Island and all the way across to Scotland.

When taking on this hike with The Inside Trek all your equipment, transport, food and drink will be taken care of.

Guided Tour: The Inside Trek

8. Slieve Binnian, Mournes, Co Down

Distance: 7 miles (11 km)

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Route Description:

Slieve Binnian is, in our opinion, one of the best hikes in the Mournes! It’s a great (yet very achievable) challenge offering panoramic views from the peak. And the views from the foot of Binnian aren’t too bad either! There are so many routes up Slieve Binnian to choose from but our favourite is following the wall up the Wee Binnian side. This is one of the more challenging routes. An easier alternative is to follow the trail from the starting points at the Silent Valley Reservoir or the Carrick Little car park.

Guided Tour: Walk the Mournes

9. International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster-Ireland

Scawt Hill / Outdoor Recreation NI

Distance: 279 miles (449 km)

Difficulty: Hard

Route Description:

The IAT Ulster-Ireland is a thru hiker’s dream. The full trail stretches from Slieve League in Co Donegal all the way to Larne, Co Antrim and can be tackled as a whole thru hike or you can choose to do small sections of the trail while on your giant adventure. There are sections to suit every type of holiday maker from the rolling hills of the Sperrins to the towering cliffs and rock formations of the Causeway Coast and Glens.

For more information on the many sections of the IAT Ulster-Ireland check out The International Appalachian Trail Ulster-Ireland: Everything you Need to Know About this Coast to Coast Walk.

Guided Tours: IAT Ulster-Ireland

By Killian Andersen


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

8 of the Best Places to Re-Fuel along the Mourne Coastal Route


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the latest adventure news, events, and gear. Plus download our free guide to the 50 best walks in Ireland!

    • No products in the cart.