Mount Errigal Hike: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

The highest peak in County Donegal’s Derryveagh Mountains, Mount Errigal is a sight to behold from miles around. So, if you fancy a challenge, here is everything you need to know about the Mount Errigal hike.

Mount Errigal stands at an impressive 751-metres (2463 ft) tall and has a tremendous presence rising above the surrounding town of Gweedore and Donegal County; and has one of the best and most scenic cycles routes in Donegal. Read on to find out all you need to know about the Mount Errigal walk, which is one of the best things to do in Donegal.

One of the most striking backdrops in Ireland, you are sure to have seen photos of a snow-capped Mount Errigal when looking at promotional pictures of the Emerald Isle.

Located in County Donegal’s Derryveagh Mountains, the Mount Errigal hike is extremely manageable and tempting for lovers of the outdoors.

So, if you fancy scaling its heights, here is everything you need to know about the Mount Errigal walk, from the best route to distance, when to visit and more.

Basic overview – useful information

  • Distance: 4.2 km (2.6 miles) return
  • Start / End Point: Carpark on the road from Gweedore to Letterkenny (R251).
  • Parking: Small car park at the base of Mount Errigal to accommodate 10 to 15 cars. Most people park at the side of the road.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: Two to three hours

Best route – how to get to the top

Mount Errigal walk route.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

From the car park at the base of Mount Errigal, you will have to hike over some pretty boggy ground.

The path here is not clearly defined and has been well-worn by previous hikers, so just line yourself up with the mountain’s peak and make your way up.

After you have made your way up this marshy path, you will reach the scree that leads to the summit of Mount Errigal, and you can follow the visible path that makes its way through this.

Once you reach the top of the scree, you will see two peaks that are joined by a narrow path. The first peak is the highest, but it is well worth making the walk over to the other peak to make the most of the incredible views on offer here.

Descend down the path you hiked towards the car park, but make sure to be careful as the rocky terrain can be quite loose underfoot.

When to visit – considering weather and crowds

When to do the Mount Errigal walk.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Mount Errigal is climbable all year round. However, we would advise caution if hiking in icy conditions as the scree can prove hazardous when slippy.

As is typical with mountainous regions in Ireland, weather conditions are very changeable, so make sure to come prepared with good shoes, light layers, and waterproofs.

If you’re an early riser, we would recommend climbing Mount Errigal for sunrise for a truly breathtaking experience. Watching the sun come up over the Derryveagh Mountains is surreal.

As one of the most popular and manageable hikes in Ireland, the Mount Errigal walk can become very busy, so to avoid crowds, we would advise visiting during weekdays and avoiding bank holidays.

What to bring – pack the essentials

Bring hiking boots for the walk.
Credit: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

As previously mentioned, the weather conditions on the Mount Errigal hike are often very changeable, and thus, it is advised to pack light layers that you can take off and put on as you choose.

It is also a good idea to wear a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots with good grip to keep your feet dry and allow you to pass over the rocky terrain with ease.

We would also recommend bringing a camera to take some photos of the incredible views from the top of Mount Errigal.

What to see – incredible views and what’s nearby

The views from the summit of Mount Errigal are truly breathtaking. Take in the scenery of the majestic Derryveagh Mountains and the rolling Donegal countryside, as well as the surrounding islands and the coastline, which you can see clearly on a clear day.

Looking north, you should be able to see the summit of Slieve Snaght in north Donegal, and to the south, you will spot the incredible Benbulben in County Sligo.

Check out Glenveagh National Park.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

If you fancy some more hiking once you’ve conquered Mount Errigal, you can take on Errigal’s smaller sister mountain Mackoigt, which stands at 555-metres (1820 ft). From here, you will get an unrivalled close-up view of Mount Errigal, so it is certainly worth the walk.

Just a 15-minute drive from Mount Errigal is Bunbeg Beach, where you can see the impressive Bunbeg Wreck, the wreck of a ship that ran aground in the 1970s.

We would also recommend making the 15-minute drive out the opposite direction towards the impressive Glenveagh National Park, Ireland’s second-largest national park!

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