Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail
The Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail is a quick and relatively easy walk in Northern Ireland that features cascading waterfalls and is suitable for the entire family. While out on the walk, you will meander through the forest and stroll along the water's edge, as you take in the sights of the Ess-na-Larach and Ess-na-Crub waterfalls. While the route may be a bit busy at times, it is a beautifully scenic way to spend an afternoon outdoors.
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Route Description for Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail
The Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail is a superb walk with some great views; however, it is also a popular route, as are all of the walks in this picturesque stretch of woodland terrain. If you would like to get out on the trail without the crowds, you will likely need to arrive early or on an off-peak day. Additionally, there is an entrance fee of £5 per vehicle to access the forest park. As some of the terrain here can be uneven and muddy, you will want to wear proper walking boots with good support.
Even considering these minor inconveniences, this is still a spectacular adventure that will allow you to view some of the most amazing waterfalls and beautiful forests in all of Northern Ireland. Along the trail, you will meander through the forest along the Glenariff River and take in the sights of the Ess-na-Larach and Ess-na-Crub waterfalls, before climbing up through the forest on the return leg. There is even a campground located nearby if you want to spend the weekend and further explore the natural beauty of the area!
Setting out from the car park, you will make your way to the northwest along the Waterfall trail for 0.5 km, working your way through the forest until you arrive at a junction. Heading to the left here will take you on an optional path across the Rainbow Bridge that features some beautiful woodland flowers and will return you to this same junction. If you don’t want to take the detour, turn right here and continue along the route.
Keeping straight for the next 0.4 km, you will turn left onto another path and follow it for 0.2 km, descending some steps to arrive at a viewpoint overlooking the majestic Ess-na-Larach Falls along the Glenariff River. After taking in the sights, head across the river and continue on to the east until you reach the Manor Lodge. Turn right here to cross over the river, taking the path on the left immediately after crossing in order to reach a scenic viewpoint for the cascading Ess-na-Crub falls.
After taking some time to appreciate the falls, turn around and head back to the junction, taking the second path on your left in order to begin the return leg of the walk. Here, you will continue on for 1.4 km, where you will come to the initial junction of your walk that featured the optional path. Turn left here and retrace the initial portion of your journey to return to the car park having completed the Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail.
Glenariff Forest Park
The Glenariff Forest Park is a beautifully scenic swathe of woodland terrain that stretches over 2928 acres within County Antrim and is managed by the Northern Ireland Forest Service. Part of the Glenariff Glen - the area that the park belongs to - has been designated a national nature reserve because of the rich biodiversity of the plant life that can be found here.
The park features beautiful cascading waterfalls, charming riverside landscapes, tranquil forest paths, and a camping area, making it a popular place for locals and tourists alike. While it is most commonly known as a recreation area, Glenariff Forest Park is also a source for Northern Ireland’s timber production and serves as an important habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including Hen Harrier, Irish Hare, and Red Squirrel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Glenariff Forest Park located?
Glenariff Forest Park can be found just to the northeast of Ballymena in County Antrim.
Is Glenariff Forest Park free to enter?
There is a small entry fee to get into Glenariff Forest Park. You can find the current entry prices here.
Is Glenariff Forest Park a dog friendly park?
While dogs are permitted to enter Glenariff Forest Park, some of the trails may be too difficult or narrow for some dogs to traverse, meaning they will need assistance from time to time.
Insider Hints for Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail
- There is an entry fee of £5 per vehicle to enter Glenariff Forest Park.
- Be sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times.
- Toilet facilities are located near the visitor centre.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes with good support and grip.
Getting to the Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail Trailhead
To get to the trailhead for the Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail from Waterfoot, drive to the southwest for 7.4 km along Glenariffe Road and make a left turn. Keep on for 1.1 km, where you will find the car park.
Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Trail Elevation Graph
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