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15 Best Walks in The Mournes (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

The Mournes in Northern Ireland is a stunning landscape of rolling hills, majestic mountains, and hidden valleys.

From the winding paths of Slieve Donard to the enchanting trails of Meelmore Lodge, these 15 best walks in The Mournes bring nature’s beauty to life.

1. Slieve Donard Via Glen River

Path to Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains
Photo by Rossographer

The Slieve Donard via Glen River is one of the most picturesque hikes in the Mourne Mountains.

It’s a great way to experience the beauty of Northern Ireland’s highest peak, as well as its lush forests.

The hike starts with a steady climb up to the summit of Slieve Donard, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The path then meanders through forests and along mountain streams, before reaching the summit again.

Along the way, you’ll pass some beautiful waterfalls, wildflowers, and wildlife.

A highlight is crossing over one of Northern Ireland’s highest peaks: Slieve Lamagan.

With its rugged terrain and panoramic views, this part of the hike is sure to stay in your memory for years to come.

Atop Donard once more, you can take in views of County Down below and across to Scotland on clear days.

It’s no wonder why this walk is such an iconic destination for hikers and tourists alike!

2. Slieve Binnian

Summit, Slieve Binnian
Photo by Rossographer

The next stop on the best walks in the Mournes is Slieve Binnian.

This iconic peak stands tall at an impressive 767m, making it one of the highest points in the range.

It’s a great place for those seeking a challenge, but also for those who want to take in some truly spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and coast.

The route up to Slieve Binnian is relatively easy and can be completed in a day if you’re feeling fit and energetic.

There are two main routes that can be taken: one from Ben Crom Reservoir, which takes around six hours, or one from Meelmore Lodge, which takes about five hours.

Both routes offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs along the way.

However, it’s important to note that there are some tricky sections so it’s worth bringing shoes with good grip and plenty of water too!

At the summit of Slieve Binnian, there’s a large cairn that marks your achievement – a great reward after all your hard work!

You’ll also have 360-degree panoramic views across Northern Ireland and beyond.

For anybody looking for an exhilarating walk with breathtaking views, Slieve Binnian is definitely worth a visit.

3. Bearnagh And Meelmore

The col between Slieves Meelbeg and Meelmore with Slieve Bearnagh in the background
Photo by Eric Jones

The Bearnagh and Meelmore walk is the perfect way to explore the Mourne Mountains, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

If you’re looking for an easy but rewarding stroll, this is the one for you.

Starting at Meelmore Lodge, the route takes you up onto Meelmore hill before heading north along a ridge that runs between Bearnagh and Meelmore.

Here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Slieve Binnian and Slieve Commedagh as well as across the Trassey River.

As you continue on your journey, you’ll pass by beautiful glacial corries and rocky outcrops before reaching the summit of Bearnagh Mountain.

Descending from there takes you to the Silent Valley Reservoir, where a series of trails offer additional views and opportunities for exploration.

This scenic walk is an ideal way to soak up some fresh air and get away from it all – a great choice for those looking to escape city life for a while!

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4. Tollymore Forest Park

From the lofty heights of Bearnagh and Meelmore, we turn our gaze to Tollymore Forest Park.

This sprawling park is located in the heart of the Mourne Mountains and is a popular destination for nature lovers and hikers alike.

Tollymore has something to offer everyone; it’s filled with hiking trails that range from easy to challenging, as well as riverside paths perfect for an afternoon stroll.

It’s also home to some of the most spectacular views in all of Ireland, with its rolling hills and lush forests providing a stunning backdrop against which to take in the scenery.

There are plenty of places to explore here too, with its picturesque waterfalls, bridges, caves, and more awaiting discovery.

No matter what kind of outdoor adventure you’re looking for, Tollymore Forest Park promises an unforgettable experience.

From its breathtaking views to its winding trails and peaceful atmosphere, it’s no wonder why this spot continues to be one of the best hikes in the Mourne Mountains.

So grab your hiking boots or camera and head out for an unforgettable day at Tollymore Forest Park!

5. Castlewellan Forest Park

Nestled in the heart of County Down, the majestic Castlewellan Forest Park is a must-see for any nature enthusiast.

This 890-hectare gem is bursting with beautiful views, lush forests, and delightful trails.

From its mesmerizing lake to its breathtaking mountain vistas, it’s no wonder why this park is one of the most popular spots in the Mourne Mountains.

The forest park has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, there’s a trail that will suit your needs.

For those who prefer longer walks, there are several paths that lead up to some stunning viewpoints.

Meanwhile, those who enjoy fishing can try their luck at Lough Island Reavy and catch some brown trout or roach.

Whatever your preference, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy in this idyllic spot.

6. Murlough National Nature Reserve

Leaving the lush greenery of Castlewellan Forest Park behind, we now venture to Murlough National Nature Reserve.

Located just 8 miles outside of Newcastle, this scenic reserve is part of the wider Mourne Mountains Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The expansive views across Dundrum Bay and beyond are simply breathtaking.

We find ourselves walking along a path that meanders through sand dunes and heathlands.

On our journey, we pass by an old fort before coming to an area known as ‘the desert’, where rolling hills are carpeted with vibrant wildflowers.

We can also spot wildlife such as red grouse, hares, and even foxes along our path.

As we make our way around Murlough National Nature Reserve, it’s clear that no matter how far away from civilization we feel, the beauty of the outdoors remains ever-present.

This natural paradise allows us to escape from reality and enjoy the sense of freedom that comes with exploring nature’s finest landscapes.

7. Slieve Bearnagh Hike (Via Hare’s Gap)

The Slieve Bearnagh Hike (via Hare’s Gap) is a great way to experience the wild beauty of the Mourne Mountains.

It’s an 8.5 km loop, with spectacular views from the top of Slieve Bearnagh, one of the highest peaks in the range.

There are several different routes to take, but the most popular is via Hare’s Gap, which provides a good mix of scenery and terrain.

The first part of the hike takes you through a pleasant wooded area before you start to ascend toward Hare’s Gap.

Here you will find a steep climb up onto rocky terrain, with incredible views of the surrounding landscape as you go.

Once at the top, you can enjoy panoramic views across Lough Island Reavy and Carlingford Lough.

After taking some time to savor these beautiful sights, it’s time to make your way down along more rolling hills and then back through the woods for a scenic finish.

This is an ideal hike for anyone looking for an adventurous walk in nature with plenty of stunning views – perfect for those seeking a little bit of freedom and fresh air!

8. Cloughmore Trail (Fiddler’S Green)

The Cloughmore Trail (Fiddler’s Green) is one of the most popular and breathtaking walks in the Mourne Mountains.

As you ascend the trail, you will be immersed in stunning views of the Irish countryside and a vast array of wildlife.

You can also see the distant sea, which adds to the beauty of this walk.

But what makes this walk so special is that it gives you a sense of freedom and adventure.

The trail is quite challenging, but it’s definitely worth it for those who have an appetite for exploration.

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The rugged hills and rocky terrain make it a great place to really get away from it all. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot some deer or other wild animals along the way!

So whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike, this trail has something for everyone.

The Cloughmore Trail is an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

So grab your hiking boots, bring your camera, and hit the trails – don’t miss out on one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets!

9. Silent Valley Reservoir

The Silent Valley Reservoir is a tranquil paradise just south of the Mourne Mountains.

It’s an idyllic spot for a stroll, with its rolling hills and crystal-clear waters.

The experience here is one of complete serenity, allowing you to take in the beauty of nature in all its glory.

The lake itself is surrounded by lush green meadows and woodlands, making it a perfect place to relax and unwind.

As you walk around the reservoir, be sure to take in the amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

For those who want to explore further, there are plenty of trails that lead through the valley and up onto nearby ridges.

Here you can enjoy spectacular views across the lake and over into County Down; it’s an unforgettable sight.

If you’re looking for something more strenuous, there are some challenging hikes that will take you up onto higher ground with stunning panoramic vistas.

Whatever your preference, there’s something special about the Silent Valley Reservoir that makes it one of the best walks in the Mournes.

10. Blue Lough

Nestled in the Mourne Mountains, Blue Lough is a stunning body of water, surrounded by lush greenery.

It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike.

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and admire some truly breathtaking scenery, this is the place for you.

The path around Blue Lough winds through dense forests, with views of nearby mountains providing a picturesque backdrop.

The lake itself is incredibly calm, creating an atmosphere of peace and tranquility that’s impossible to find in cities and towns.

Whether you’re going solo or with friends, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of nature without any distractions.

With its fresh air and natural beauty, Blue Lough will give you a sense of freedom like no other.

11. Blue Quarry To Doan

The Blue Quarry to Doan hike is a stunningly beautiful trek in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland.

From the start at Blue Quarry, you’ll find yourself immersed in an unspoiled landscape of breathtaking views and lush greenery.

As you make your way up the hillside, take time to appreciate the natural wonders that await you.

The trail is dotted with wildflowers, majestic peaks, and vast valleys – all providing plenty of photo opportunities.

You’ll also encounter unique rock formations, such as the “Tabletop Rock” and “Doan’s Rock”.

These amazing sites offer an opportunity to learn more about geology and nature, making this walk ideal for anyone looking for something educational as well as scenic.

As you approach the end of your journey at Doan, be sure to take in one last view before descent.

This route offers unbeatable views of Slieve Binnian and Slieve Lamagan – it’s a memory you won’t soon forget!

12. Trassey Track And Shimna River

The Trassey Track and Shimna River offer some of the finest walks in the Mournes.

This stunning route combines rugged mountain terrain, tranquil riverside strolls, and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

The track takes you along a series of paths, beginning with a steep climb up to the top of Slieve Binnian.

From here, you can look out over the whole Mournes range. As you descend again, you can take in the tranquility of the tranquil Shimna River as it winds its way through lush meadows and forests.

At various points along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to take a break from walking and enjoy some local wildlife or perhaps even catch a glimpse of an elusive red deer.

With each step, you can appreciate how this remote part of Northern Ireland appears untouched by time and man-made interference.

It’s easy to see why this area is so popular with hikers – no matter what level or experience level you have!

Whether it’s your first time in the Mournes or a return trip for more exploration, the Trassey Track and Shimna River are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

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13. Spelga Dam

The Spelga Dam is a spectacular walk to take in the Mourne Mountains.

Located on the edge of the Silent Valley Reservoir, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

This particular walk can be done in a few hours, making it perfect for those who want to explore the area without committing too much time.

As you walk along the dam’s path, you’ll be met with an abundance of wildflowers and greenery that will make your heart soar.

The sound of running water from the nearby river will also provide a sense of peace and tranquility.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Slieve Donard and its surrounding peaks – a sight that will stay with you long after your journey is finished.

Spelga Dam is an idyllic spot for those looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With its peaceful atmosphere and awe-inspiring scenery, this is one walk that won’t soon be forgotten.

So grab your walking boots and head towards this hidden gem in the Mourne Mountains – you won’t regret it!

14. Carn Mountain Summit

The next stop in our exploration of the Mourne Mountains is Carn Mountain, a stunning summit standing at 793m above sea level.

From here, we can truly appreciate the beauty of this idyllic landscape.

Climbing to the top of Carn Mountain is a challenge like no other.

The journey starts with a steep climb from the car park and continues along an ever-changing terrain, from rocky paths to grassy fields.

As you make your way up, you will be able to take in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch for miles in every direction.

You can also get a glimpse of some of Ireland’s highest peaks such as Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh.

Carn Mountain provides an unforgettable experience for those looking for adventure and escapes from their everyday lives.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an all-day hike, this summit has something to offer everyone – don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore nature at its finest!

15. Kilbroney Park

Kilbroney Park is a wonderful destination for those looking to explore the Mourne Mountains.

Located near Rostrevor in County Down, this stunning park offers a number of routes and trails for both experienced hikers and casual walkers alike.

Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging hike, Kilbroney Park has something to offer everyone.

The most popular route at Kilbroney Park is the Cloughmore Stone Trail.

This 3-mile loop trail takes walkers past one of the area’s most iconic landmarks, the Cloughmore Stone.

Standing just over 25 feet tall, this impressive granite boulder was believed to have been flung there by legendary Irish giant Finn McCool!

Along with wonderful views of Carlingford Lough, this trail also provides access to Brandy Pad, an old smugglers’ path used by illicit traders in centuries past.

Kilbroney Park is an ideal spot to get away from it all and reconnect with nature.

With its breathtaking scenery and fascinating history, it’s no wonder why so many flocks here every year – especially on sunny days!

So if you’re looking for a great escape that won’t stretch your legs too much, then Kilbroney Park should be right up your street.

Best Walks in The Mournes – Final Thoughts

I’ve explored some of the best walks in the Mourne Mountains, and it’s clear that they are an absolute must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast.

The trails range from a gentle stroll along the Glen River to more challenging hikes up Slieve Donard and Slieve Binnian.

Tollymore Forest Park, Castlewellan Forest Park, Trassey Track and Shimna River, Spelga Dam, and Carn Mountain Summit all offer unique experiences.

Not to mention Kilbroney Park and its beautiful views!

No matter what your experience level or preference is, there’s something to suit everyone in the Mourne Mountains.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring these stunning trails, so why not go explore them for yourself?

Take in the breathtaking scenery and get lost in the natural beauty that these mountains have to offer – you won’t be disappointed!

The Mourne Mountains are a great place to take a break from everyday life.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike, these 15 best walks in the Mournes won’t disappoint.

So grab your walking boots and get exploring!


What are some easy walks in The Mournes?

Some easy walks in The Mournes are the Castlewellan Lakeside walk, the Tollymore River trail, and Mourne Way circular.

What are the best circular walks in The Mournes?

Some of the best circular walks in The Mournes are North Tor circular, Rostrevor Forest, and Slieve Martin circular.

What are some good family walks in The Mournes?

Some good family walks in The Mournes are Blue Lough, Trassey’s to Hare’s Gap, and Blue Quarry to Doan.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.