You’ve heard of Ireland’s Garden County, but have you been hiking there yet? If not, we’ve found the five best hikes for beginners in County Wicklow.
Wicklow is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland, boasting some of the most breathtaking mountainous hikes our country has to offer. You could spend hours upon hours roaming along the magnificent trails here.
Wicklow does not get enough attention as an amazing county to hike in, but we think it’s time to change that and give it the recognition it deserves as one of Ireland’s best places to hike.
Beginner hikers are spoilt for choice in Wicklow. From woodland walks to beautiful peaks and even majestic lake views, the Garden County has it all!
5. Crone Woods ‒ a magical forest walk
We’re starting off the list with a magical forest walk. Crone Woods is one of Wicklow’s best forest walks, and it’s easy to see why. The trails are so well maintained, and with multiple routes to follow, you’ll never get tired of coming back.
One of the things that makes Crone Woods stand out is its viewpoint of Powerscourt Waterfall. It is truly awe-inspiring to be able to look down on such a majestic waterfall from above, making it a must-see for every nature lover.
As you get more experience with hiking, Crone is the perfect starting point for a few mountain peaks. You can gain access to Djouce, War Hill, and Maulin, as well as many more of Wicklow’s peaks from the woods.
Total length: 6.9km (4.3 miles)
Address: Crone Woods Car Park, Wicklow Way, Crone, Co. Wicklow
4. Bray Head ‒ an iconic coastal walk
This is one of Ireland’s most iconic hikes! Bray Head is, without a doubt, one of the best hikes for beginners in County Wicklow. It can be recognised by its majestic view of the coastline and trademark cross.
Although it is quite a steep hike, it’s relatively short, taking no more than an hour to get up and down. However, you would be mad not to pack a picnic for the summit, which is absolutely breathtaking on a clear day.
There are two ways to attempt this hike. You can either go up and down the same way or turn it into a loop by continuing along the path south from the cross at Bray Head.
If you have time, we definitely recommend checking out the loop as it brings you down onto the cliff walk between Bray and Greystones.
Total length: 5.5 km (3.42 miles)
Address: Cliff Walk Car Park, Raheen Park, Newcourt, Bray, Co. Wicklow
3. The Great Sugar Loaf ‒ not as daunting as it sounds
We’re guessing you’ve heard of the Great Sugar Loaf. It’s one of Ireland’s most well-known mountains, but if you haven’t heard of it, it is essentially a mountain in Wicklow shaped like a lump of sugar.
Although the Sugar Loaf is short, it’s one of the more challenging hikes for beginners as there’s a bit of a rocky scramble to the top.
However, it is still manageable, and on a sunny day, it’ll be busy enough. So, there will always be a friendly stranger there to guide you along.
Total length: 2.5 km (1.56 miles)
Address: Great Sugar Loaf Car Park, Glencap Commons South, Co. Wicklow
Coming in second on our list of the best hikes for beginners in County Wicklow is the ever-popular Glendalough.
This is the most challenging hike on our list but can still be completed by beginners because of the excellent trail maintenance and signs along the way.
This trail offers magnificent views of lakes, mountains, and forests and has so many food and drink options, both in the car park and just down the road, for when you’ve finished your hike.
If you get to Glendalough and decide that the full trail is too much for you, there are many shorter routes around the lakes that are steeped in history and beauty.
Total length: 9 km (5.6 miles)
Address: Upper Lake Car Park, Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
1. Djouce Mountain ‒ for breathtaking views
So, you’ve finally made it our number one pick for the best hikes for beginners in County Wicklow, and we’re guessing you’re surprised that it’s not one of the more well-known hikes, right?
Well, we guarantee you that the views from this hike will top any of the better-known routes in Wicklow. This route has a gentle ascent all the way to the summit and will take you past multiple viewpoints of Guinness Lake and the surrounding mountains.
When following this route, you will start in the mythical Ballinastoe Woods, which looks like it was pulled right out of a fairy tale.
You’ll then follow the trail up towards the JB Malone Memorial, where you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Guinness Lake and Luggala. Although long, this route’s ascent is so gradual that it is manageable for all levels of hikers, including beginners.
Total length: 10.5 km (6.5 miles)
Address: Ballinastoe Car Park, Oldtown, Co. Wicklow
By Killian Andersen (@killohikes)