Mourne and Slieve Croob AONB is one of the most popular hiking locations in Northern Ireland. Read on to learn more about this fantastic spot.
Offering 360-degree panoramic views of County Down, climbing the beautiful Slieve Croob hill is an absolute must for outdoor activity enthusiasts.
Looking out across the majestic Mourne Mountains and even as far as Lough Neagh, Strangford Lough, and the Belfast Hills, the fantastic views of the wider County Down and County Antrim area on a clear day are not to be missed.
So, are you looking for a stunning place to watch the sun go down or take in some spectacular views? If so, then head to Slieve Croob.
Basic overview – all you need to know
- Distance: 4.35 km (2.7 miles) out and back
- Start point: Dree Hill Road
- Parking: Dree Hill Road car park
- Difficulty: Moderate. Linear mountain route
- Terrain: Metalled road and open grass hill
- Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Best route – how to get to the top
Slieve Croob is a relatively easy climb with plenty of pedestrian access. The best route to take starts at the Dree Hill Road car park.
For most of this hike, you will follow along the metalled transmitter road, which winds through the surrounding grasses to make its way to the summit.
Coming towards the end of the route, you will pass over the mountain grasses. However, this is a relatively easy walk, particularly in good conditions. At the top, you will be met by the transmitter masts that can be seen atop Slieve Croob from all over County Down.
Once you have reached the top, you just follow the same path down the transmitter road climb back to the Dree Hill Road car park.
Various alternate routes are open to public access and cross over more uneven terrain. If you are familiar with the area or are a more seasoned hiker, these may be perfect for you.
Distance – how long the hike will take
Out and back, the main route from the Dree Hill Road car park is 4.35 km (2.7 miles) long. This will take the average walker around one hour and 30 minutes to complete.
This is a relatively short hike, making it perfect for those looking for an easy climb or if you are short on time. However, we recommend giving yourself a little extra time to enjoy the breathtaking views from the top.
When to visit – weather and crowds
Slieve Croob is the tallest mountain in the Dromara Hills. However, unlike many of the other Mourne Mountains, such as Slieve Donard, Slieve Bearnagh, and Slieve Binnian, it does not attract quite such big crowds.
For this reason, you won’t be bothered by busy pathways no matter when you choose to visit.
To enjoy the most incredible views and to make your walk as enjoyable as possible, we advise visiting on a clear day when weather conditions are mild.
That being said, it is a well-paved route, so it can be hiked in most conditions.
What to bring – make sure to bring the essentials
While Slieve Croob is a relatively short and manageable hike, it is always important to come prepared when taking on any climbs.
If you’re planning to visit, we recommend wearing grippy shoes to help you cross over the uneven terrain near the summit.
As well as this, make sure to pack layers and waterproofs as the Northern Irish weather is known to be very changeable. There could be spells of rain and strong winds.
On a sunny day, bring sun cream, a hat, and sunglasses. This area is very exposed, so it is super important to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
Finally, make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep up your energy levels and a camera to capture the breathtaking 360-degree views.
What to see – panoramic views and plenty of history
The main reason to climb Slieve Croob is to enjoy the magnificent views from the top. Located just northwest of the Mourne Mountains, you will enjoy unrivalled views of the north of Ireland’s most majestic mountain range.
On a clear day, you will even see as far as Strangford Lough to the northeast, Carlingford Lough to the southeast, and Belfast Lough to the north. You might even be lucky enough to see as far as Scotland and the Isle of Man!
The area boasts much history and plays a huge part in Irish folklore. There was once an enormous cairn atop Slieve Croob, which, in the 19th-century, was measured to be 230 ft (70 m) around and 52 ft (16 m) tall. However, very little remains of this today other than some scattered stones.
The hill is also home to plenty of wildlife, including sheep and some incredible bird species, which are a familiar sight in the Dromara Hills.
How to get there – how to find Slieve Croob
From Belfast, head south along the M1, coming off at junction eight for Sprucefield. From here, continue south along the A1, turning left onto the Dromara Road.
Follow this road along, continuing on to the Hillsborough Road and Rathfriland Road before turning left onto the Finnis Road.
Continue a short way along the Finnis Road before turning left again onto the Dree Hill Road, where you will see the Slieve Croob Car Park on your left.
Slieve Croob is approximately 37 km (23 miles) outside of Belfast and will take around 35 minutes to drive.
If you haven’t had enough hiking, there are plenty of other fantastic routes in the area to check out.
Slieve Donard: The highest mountain in Northern Ireland, hiking enthusiasts need to check out Slieve Donard while in the area. It dominates the famous mountain ranges.
Slieve Bearnagh: For fantastic views and a relatively challenging climb, we highly recommend hiking Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains.
Castlewellan Forest Park: Located close to Slieve Croob, Castlewellan Forest Park offers a variety of walks perfect for all abilities.
Slieve Binnian: Located in the south of the Mournes, Slieve Binnian is a fantastic hike of moderate difficulty.Looking out over Silent Valley and Carlingford Lough, the views from here aretruly magnificent.
Slieve Doan: Set in the heart of the Mournes, Slieve Doan is one of the range’s most underrated hikes. Offering magnificent views of the surrounding peaks, this relatively easy hike is great for all abilities.
FAQs about the Slieve Croob hike
How long does it take to climb Slieve Croob?
Out and back, it should take around an hour and a half to hike Slieve Croob from the Dree Hill Road car park.
How many km is Slieve Croob?
Slieve Croob is approximately 1752 ft (534 m) in height. The hike to the summit is approximately 4.35 km (2.7 miles) out and back.
Is Slieve Croob part of the Mournes?
Slieve Croob is part of the Dromara Hills, which form the foothills of the Mourne Mountains. Slieve Croob is the highest peak in the Dromara Hills and offers fantastic views over the iconic Mourne Mountain range, such as Slieve Donard.
Are dogs allowed up Slieve Croob?
Dogs are not allowed up Slieve Croob due to open mountain grazing.