Slieve Donard Trail

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
9.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
833 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Slieve Donard Trail

The Slieve Donard Trail is a breathtaking adventure in Northern Ireland that will take you across varied terrain to reach the summit of the country’s highest mountain. While out on the trail, you will traverse a serene stretch of woodland terrain, before climbing uphill along a stone track for views overlooking the Irish Sea from the summit of Slieve Donard. There may be a well-maintained pathway up to the summit, but don’t underestimate the difficulty of this spectacular route!

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Route Description for Slieve Donard Trail

The Slieve Donard Trail is a beautiful, and at times challenging, adventure that will lead you up to the summit of Northern Ireland’s highest peak. This inevitably makes it a popular route for a wide range of walkers, so be sure to arrive early. Even though there is a stone footpath leading up to the summit, you will need to wear proper walking boots with good support and make sure that your level of physical fitness is up to par.

Although it may be steep in certain areas, this is an exceptional walking route that you will need to try if you find yourself in the Mourne Mountains. Stunning panoramic views overlooking the rugged terrain of Northern Ireland and the blue expanse of the Irish Sea await on this breathtaking adventure to the highest point in the country.

Setting out from the car park, you will make your way to the southwest and follow along the banks of the Glen River for 0.4 km, turning left to cross over the water. Shortly after passing over the river, you will pick up a footpath on the right that will continue to lead you in a southwestern direction. After walking through the serene forest of another 0.4 km, you will turn right and once again cross the river, before turning left at the first junction.

Continuing on to the southwest, you will follow along the banks of the Glen River as they eventually break free from the tree cover and begin to climb up the mountainside towards Slieve Donard. Using the river and stone pathway as your guides, you will follow this riverside path for the next 1.87mi, working your way uphill into the rugged expanse of the Mourne Mountains.

After arriving at a junction, you will turn to the left and make the steep final ascent of Slieve Donard, where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape and Irish Sea from the summit of the mountain. After taking in the views, carefully make your way down the mountainside along the same route to eventually return to the car park where you began your adventure along the SLieve Donard Trail.

Trail Highlights

Slieve Donard

Standing at 850 m, Slieve Donard is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and is the 7th highest on the entire island. The peak can be found in the northeastern edge of the Mourne Mountains and overlooks the surrounding landscape and Irish Sea. While the mountain has early ties to Irish mythology, its current name is derived from Saint Donard, who was said to have made the summit his hermitage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a path up Slieve Donard?

Yes, there is a stone path leading up to the summit.

Where is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland?

Standing at 850 m above sea level, Slieve Donard is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and the 7th highest in all of Ireland.

Insider Hints for Slieve Donard Trail

  • Make sure to wear proper walking boots with good support.
  • Bring plenty of water for this adventure.
  • Parking at Donard Park in Newcastle is free.

Getting to the Slieve Donard Trail Trailhead

The trailhead for the Slieve Donard Trail can be found at Donard Park in Newcastle, just off Bryansford Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-Round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Slieve Donard Trail Elevation Graph

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