Black Mountain Walk: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

Looking out over Belfast is the Black Mountain walk and the Divis Ridge trail. Here is everything you need to know about this cityside hike.

The Black Mountain walk and Divis Ridge trail is the perfect place to escape to nature right at the heart of the city. Boasting a mix of environments, there is plenty to see and explore here.

Easily accessible at all times of the year, climbing Black Mountain is perfect for seasoned hikers, day walkers, and families with kids alike.

From the best route to distance, when to visit to what to see, here is everything you need to know about completing the Black Mountain hike.

Basic overview – the facts

  • Distance: 6.78 km (4.2 miles loop)
  • Start point: Divis Road car park
  • Parking: Divis Road car park (free parking)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: Three hours

Best route – how to get to the top

Black Mountain walk route.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

Begin your Black Mountain walk at the free car park on Divis Road. From here, you will pass through the main gate for the National Trust Black Mountain hike and Divis Ridge walk.

Once you’re through the gate, follow the tarmac path and head towards the Divis transmitter mast. After walking for a little while, you will see a sign for the summit trail.

Follow this path straight ahead, then turn right at the wooden boardwalk that leads to the summit of the Black Mountain walk. You can stop here for a while to admire the views before continuing on your walk.

After spending some time taking in the view, follow the rocky path that leads to the summit. This will lead you to the Divis Ridge trail. Continue along this path until you reach the trigonometry pillar, which marks the summit of Divis Mountain.

To descend, follow the tarmac pathway to the left of the mast. You will cross two stiles and the Collin River wooden bridge that will lead you back to the car park.

Distance – how long it will take

How much time you will need.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

The Black Mountain hike and Divis Ridge trail is a moderate walk that should be suitable for all age levels and abilities, providing you have a relatively good level of fitness.

The circular walk is 6.78 km (4.2 miles) in total from the Divis Road car park and back and should take around three hours to complete. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the views from the summit.

When to visit – weather and crowds

When to do the Black Mountain walk.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

The Black Mountain hike is a very manageable trail at any time of the year, no matter the weather. However, to make the most of the views from the summit, we recommend visiting on a clear day.

If you are a beginner, it is inadvisable to do this walk in poor conditions as visibility can become poor, and parts of the trail may become very slippy.

As this walk is right at the heart of Belfast city, it can become extremely busy on weekends and bank holidays – particularly in good weather. Therefore, we advise visiting at off-peak times if you want to avoid crowds.

For the ultimate experience, we recommend visiting at sunset to watch the sun go down over the busiest city in Northern Ireland.

How to get there – from the city

How to get to Black Mountain.
Credit: geograph.ie / Rossographer

By car, take the M1 and leave at junction two at the Outer Ring, Newtownards, and King’s Hall exit.

Take the A55 (Outer Ring) heading west and go straight across the first two roundabouts. When you reach the dual carriageway, turn left onto Upper Springfield Road.

Continue along the Upper Springfield Road for about 4 km (2.5 miles). Then turn right onto Divis Road (this will be signposted). Continue along Divis Road for about 0.8 km (0.5 miles), and you will see the car park on the left.

What to see – incredible views over Belfast

The views from the Black Mountain walk are breathtaking.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

The Black Mountain walk and Divis Ridge trail is a must if you’re looking for incredible views out over the city, Belfast Lough, and further afield. Stretching out towards wider County Antrim, you can see Slemish from here on a clear day.

Upon your descent, you can enjoy fantastic views of Belfast Lough stretching from Whitehead to Holywood. As well as this, you can see Titanic Quarter, the shipyard, and the famous Samson and Goliath Cranes.

If you’re lucky enough to get a really clear day when you do this walk, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Cumbria are also visible from the summit.

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