Slieve Binnian Hike: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

Slieve Binnian is the third highest mountain in the Mournes and one of the most rewarding walks. Here is everything you need to know about the Slieve Binnian hike.

Slieve Binnian (commonly misspelt Slieve Binnion) is located in the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland. A manageable to strenuous hike, here is all you need to know about the Slieve Binnian walk.

The third highest peak in the range, Slieve Binnian, stands at an impressive 747 metres (2450 ft) in height and overlooks some of the best sights in the Mournes.

Slieve Binnian is distinctive for its broad and flat summit, which features rocky tors at the north and south ends and impressive granite towers in between.

To its south, you will also see its sister peak Wee Binnian, which stands at 460 metres (1509 ft) in height and is perfect for a short walk.

However, this guide will give you all the information you need to know about hiking the big sister, Slieve Binnian. From the best route to distance, when to visit, and more, here is all you need to know about the Slieve Binnian hike.

Basic overview – all you need to know

  • Distance: 11.26 km (7 miles loop walk)
  • Start point: Carrick Little Car Park
  • Parking: Carrick Little Car Park
  • Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. Rough terrain and a steep climb at various points
  • Duration: Three to four hours

Best route – how to reach the top

Slieve Binnian walk route.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

Start your hike in Carrick Little car park at the junction of the Head Road and Oldtown Road near Annalong. From here, follow the clear, stony track that takes a gentle include through the fields on either side.

Cross the stone stile next to an iron gate and follow the Mourne Wall as it rises steeply uphill.

There is a point in the wall when it reaches a bare granite face, so before reaching this point, you should veer right. The climb becomes relatively difficult at this point as you are passing over rocks to reach the summit.

Reaching the summit tor, you will be rewarded with incredible views of Silent Valley and the surrounding area, which you should take time to make the most of.

Once you’re ready to move on, make your way around the tor and walk along the ridge of the mountain, crossing a broken wall and following the clear path past the granite towers.

You will reach a col between Slieve Binnian (Slieve Binnion) and Slieve Lamagan, where you will notice a prominent gap. At this point, turn right and follow the clear path downhill.

Keeping right at any junctions, you will follow a clear path, which follows the edge of Annalong Forest and bringing you to the iron gate at the Mourne Wall.

Cross the stile here and follow the track back to Carrick Little car park to conclude the Slieve Binnian walk.

Distance – how long it will take

How long is the Slieve Binnian hike.
Credit: geograph.ie / Albert Bridge

From the Carrick Little car park, the Slieve Binnian (Slieve Binnion) loop walk is around 11.2 km (7 miles) long and will take around three to four hours to complete.

However, we would recommend leaving sufficient time to make sure you can take in the incredible views from the summit.

When to visit – according to weather and crowds

When to do the Slieve Binnian walk.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Due to the rocky terrain of the Slieve Binnian hike, it is best to visit in dry, clear weather as the hike will be much safer in these conditions.

Summer holidays, weekends, and bank holidays will be the busiest times, so it is best to visit in late spring or early autumn to avoid crowds.

Things to know – useful information

Slieve Binnian is commonly misspelt Slieve Binnion.
Credit: Instagram / @lisagorman29

You will come over a ridge to reach the exposed summit of the Slieve Binnian hike, so be prepared for a strong gust of wind to hit you.

Make sure to wear a sturdy pair of walking boots on the Slieve Binnian hike, as the terrain is very rough at several points.

No matter the time of year, the weather in the Mourne region can be very changeable and thus, it is important to pack light layers and rain gear that you can put on and take off as you feel.

As the Slieve Binnian walk will last around three to four hours, we recommend you also bring an adequate supply of food and water to keep your energy levels up as you make your way to the summit.

What to see – incredible views

The views from the Slieve Binnian hike are amazing.
Credit: Instagram / @zaralaraa

The views from the Slieve Binnian walk are some of the best in the Mournes. On a clear day, you will be able to see almost all of the peaks as well as an incredible view of Silent Valley Reservoir below.

During the hike, you will also pass Annalong Wood and Blue Lough.

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