Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk
The Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk is an amazing adventure in Northern Ireland that will expose you to spectacular coastal views at the country’s most popular tourist attraction. While out walking the trail, you will make your way downhill to pass through the Giant’s Gate and experience the beauty of the Giant’s Causeway, before passing by the Giant’s Boot to climb uphill along the Shepherd’s Steps. This is a breathtaking route that you definitely won’t want to miss out on if you find yourself in Northern Ireland.
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Route Description for Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk
The Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk is an exceptional route if you are looking to take in all of the main highlights in this area; however, this also means that it will be a very popular route with a large volume of foot traffic. Trying to experience the magic of the Giant’s Causeway without the crowds is a difficult task, so try to arrive as early as you possibly can. Additionally, there are some steep and rugged sections of trail along this route, which could limit travel for less-mobile walkers. If you want to skip out on the first portion of the walk, you can always opt for the shuttle that runs from the visitor experience centre.
Even though there will be a fair number of people in the area looking to experience the Giant’s Causeway, this really is an exceptional route that you won’t want to miss out on. Among the amazing highlights here are the Giant’s Causeway, the Giant’s Gate, and the Giant’s Boot, all of which are set in a stunning coastal backdrop. And with the relatively short overall distance, this is a route that can be done by walkers of most skill levels.
Setting out from the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience Centre, you will make your way past the building to the northeast in order to pick up the trail. From here, you will follow along the edge of the road as you make your way downhill for the next 1.0 km, enjoying stunning views that look out across the sea.
Reaching the end of the road, you will have some great views of the Giant’s Gate on your right; however, you will take the path on the left to make your way along the Giant’s Causeway. Most people head down here for 10 or 15 minutes just to snap some pictures and leave, but you really should take your time to explore this magical location and take in the amazing views of the over 40,000 interlocking basalt rock columns.
From here, you will head to the southeast along the water’s edge and gain the opposite perspective of the imposing Giant’s Gate, although you won’t be passing through the small gap in between the rock columns. Instead, keep heading to the southeast in order to pass by the Giant’s Boot, a large rock that is rumoured to be a whopping size 93 ½!
After walking for 0.3 km from the Giant’s Boot, you will make a sharp right along the trail and begin to climb up the steep terrain of the Shepherd’s Path. Here, you will climb up 162 very steep steps that will bring you up to the top of the coastal landscape. Continuing along the trail to the southwest, you will follow along the edge of the cliffs until you arrive back at the visitor experience centre where you began the Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk.
The Giant’s Causeway is a visually stunning geological formation that is made up of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The tallest of these columns are approximately 12m tall and were created as a result of volcanic activity in the area. The causeway was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and is deeply rooted in the folklore of the Irish people. Legend has it that the causeway was built by the Irish giant Finn MacCool as a challenge to the Scottish giant Brenandonner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Giant’s Causeway free?
Visiting the Giant’s Causeway is a free activity; however, there is a £9 fee for parking on-site, which also provides access to the National Trust Visitor Experience Centre. If you do not wish to park on-site or utilize the visitor centre, simply park somewhere close by and walk around to access the walking paths to the Giant’s Causeway.
Where is the Giant’s Causeway located?
The Giant’s Causeway is situated at the foot of the basalt cliffs where the Antrim plateau of Northern Ireland meets the sea, just northeast of Portballintrae.
Insider Hints for Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk
- Make sure to wear proper walking boots for this adventure, as there will be uneven ground underfoot.
- The Giant’s Causeway is a free public area, although the visitor experience centre isn’t. If you don’t want to pay the £9 fee (which includes on-site parking), simply park somewhere nearby and walk around the visitor centre building to reach the causeway.
- A cheaper alternative for parking is the nearby train station to the southwest, which costs £6 per day.
- If you want some food/drinks after your walk, check out The Nook right near the trailhead.
Getting to the Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk Trailhead
The trailhead for the Giant’s Gate and Causeway Coast Circular Walk can be found northeast of Portballintrae, along Causeway Road at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience Centre.
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