Walks & Trails
Killarney National Park is one of the most dramatically beautiful reserves in Ireland. Craggy mountains loom over silent lakes, while the country’s only wild herd of native red deer roam through ancient woodland. A designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1981, Killarney National Park is where you will find one of Ireland’s most important habitants. If you feel like escaping into nature for a day, it is the perfect place to go. It is easy to spend an entire day outdoors here, exploring the trails. From lake loops to forest walks there is much to enjoy.
Click the Trails below for more information:
Killarney Town Trail & Audio Guide
Learn the history of the streets of Killarney and how it came to be the vibrant town it is today. You can listen to the Audio as you meander the route.
St Marys Church of Ireland and the Town Hall
The Great Southern Railway, the Franciscan Friary and the Red Deer
College Street, Plunkett Street, Boreencael & Glebe Lane
High Street & Lanes
New Road to Brendan’s College, Cathedral Walk, the Bishop’s Palace and the Ogham Stone
St Mary’s Cathedral
Knockreer to Mission Road
The Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Monument
The Royal Fusiliers Cross
Knockreer Circular Walk – Lower Lake to Ross Island
Grade: Multi Access
Distance: 5 km
Time: 2 hours
Starting from Killarney House and Gardens, walk along the long avenue away from the house, pass through the large gateway. After a short distance, turn left at the bridge and walk along the bank of the River Deenagh. Take the right at the second bridge over the River. Follow the path and turn left at the next intersection, over the cattle grid and head across the open parkland.
Warning; Avoid the Red Deer stags during the rutting season (Late Sept-Oct).
After about 1 km the path begins to circle back with a gentle ascent. At the top of the rise, cross another cattle grid where the path begins to level off. Take time to enjoy the wonderful vista of Lough Leane and the MacGillycuddy Reeks. Follow the road for another 200m as it gently descends to the right towards Knockreer House and Gardens. Follow the path to the right of the distinctive thatched-roof Deenagh Lodge. Continue through the intersection and cross the bridge over the River Deenagh for the last time, following the original path back to Killarney House.
Distance: 3 km
Time: 1.5 hours
Ross Castle is situated on the eastern shores of Lough Leane, with views of the McGillycuddy Reeks in the background. The Ross Castle carpark is about 2.5km from Killarney town centre at the end of the Ross Road. A booklet on Ross Island Mining Trail is available at the Castle. There are 17 stopping points along the route.
Start from the carpark and continue along the tarred road past Ross Castle on your right. After 50 m turn right off the road and follow the narrow walking trail, which will bring you out a little further along the same tarred road. Turn right and after 800m take the left fork and follow the Copper Mines loop as it skirts the shoreline. After a couple of minutes you will come to another junction, turn left. The trail now begins to loop back towards the start and passes trails branching off to Governor’s Rock and Library Point (See below). You will eventually come to the final fork, which you faced from the other direction earlier, take the left fork and follow the tarred road back to Ross Castle.
Distance: 5 km
Time: 2 hours
Library Point is a limestone rock formation on the shores of Lough Leane, Ross Island.
The trail to Library Point is just over 2 km from Ross Castle via the most direct route. It can be extended to a 5km return trip by including the Copper Mines loop on either the outward or return leg. At Library Point itself, there is a short loop around the headland of the peninsula, as it skirts along some woodland paths high above the lakeshore below.
Library Point is so named because the limestone rock at the water edge has been eroded to form a pattern that resembles books stacked on a shelf.
From here, you can look out across to Innisfallen Island, where there are remains of a 12th century monastery and earlier oratory.
Distance: 4 km return
Time: 1.5 hours
The Governor’s Rock circuit is a loop of approximately 3km on Ross Island starting and finishing at Ross Castle and passing by the Copper Mines. The circuit can be combined with the Library Point trail to extend the length to over 5km.
Muckross and Dinis Loop Walk
Distance: 10km Loop
Time: 2 Hours
Take the Killarney to Kenmare road to the main entrance to the National Park. This particular tour is best done tour is best done on foot or bike and visitors are encouraged to travel one way or you can choose to travel in part by jaunting car. The trip will take you right through the Muckross Demesne to Dinis. Things to see along the way include Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Gardens, Colleen Bawn Rock, Brickeen Bridge, Dinis Cottage and Torc Waterfall. This area has some of the finest and most beautiful scenery in Ireland and affords magnificent views of the Lake district. Approx 2km from Dinis Cottage you join the main public road (Ring of Kerry) for a short distance by bike. If on foot you can cross the road, go up a few steps and join a lovely forest walking trail which follows the road below (this section is not really suitable for buggies but it can be done). Arrive at the world famous Torc Waterfall. After a visit to Torc, you can return to the Killarney National Park via underpass near car park. This is one of the best cycle routes in Ireland.
The round trip from Killarney town centre and back again is approximately 21km.
Arthur Young’s Walk and The Mossy Wood
Arthur Young’s Walk
Distance: 5.6 km (From Muckross House)
Time: 2 hours
This walk skirts Muckross Peninsula, which is between Lough Leane and Muckross Lake. The Walk traverses a fault line between limestone (Carboniferous period 280-345 million years ago) and old red sandstone substrates (Devonian 345-395 million years ago). As a consequence, the vegetation transitions from Yew woodland on limestone outcrop to Oak woods on old red sandstone.
Start at the Muckross House front door opposite the jaunting cars; follow the road towards Torc from the front of the House for about 500m. On a bend in the road is the beginning of the walk, indicated by the stone marker. Walk through the turnstile, cross the open field and through the Woodland. When you meet the tarred Dinis Road, turn left and stay on it for about 2.5km where you turn right down a signposted trail. Continue along this meandering trail through oak woodland, an open meadow and then the famous Reenadinna Yew Wood (One of only three in Europe). After about 1.5km you eventually meet the tarred road again.
In 1776, the travel writer Arthur Young returned to Muckross House along the shores of Muckross Lake. To follow in his footsteps, turn right and after 100m on the tarred road, turn left, marked by a stone number ‘5’ plaque. Alternatively, turn left when you first meet the tarred road and follow the signs back to Muckross House.
Distance: 2 km
Time: 45 minutes
Start at the Muckross House front door opposite the jaunting cars; follow the road towards Torc from the front of the House, continue around the bend in the road (Marking the beginning of Arthur Young’s Walk) and after 100m you will come to a path on the right by Muckross Lake; this is the beginning of the Mossy Woods Walk. It takes in the southern part of the Muckross Peninsula and can be quite rough under foot. It is composed of Carboniferous limestone and supports an area of natural Yew wood, Scots Pine, Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), mosses and ferns, among many others.
Continue along this path as it skirts Muckross Lake. Take the left fork after 200m and continue to follow the lakeshore. After a little over a km you meet the tarred Dinis Road. Turn right and follow for the tarred road; the terrain will open up, with Bog Myrtle on your right and swampy Alder trees on the left. After 500m, turn right down a narrow trail and right again after 20m up some rough steps. Turn left when you reach a ‘T’ junction and this will return you to Muckross House.
Torc Mountain is an extremely popular and scenic climb. The walking route to the summit of Torc Mountain (535m) offers spectacular views of Killarney town and lakes, Muckross House, the Killarney National Park and the McGillicuddy’s Reeks. Even though the summit is 525m, this walk is very popular as it is accessible to almost anyone due to the clear paths and wooden sleepers on the mountain. If you try this take care as the sleepers can be over a foot off ground level at some points and can be a little slippery when wet.
Grade: Very Difficult
Distance: 7.5 km
Time: 2 hours
From Killarney on the N71 to Kenmare, take first left 400m after main entrance to Muckross House, follow for approximately 1.7 km to Upper Torc Carpark. Alternatively, if you continue on the N71 you’ll come to the Torc Waterfall carpark.
This is a very popular and scenic walking route to the summit of Torc Mountain (535m) with spectacular views of the Killarney National Park and the McGillicuddy’s Reeks. It is for walkers of reasonable fitness only and consists of woodland trails, boardwalk, stone steps, with occasional muddy, rocky and uneven ground in parts.
Turn left on leaving the carpark and follow the Old Kenmare Road, through the barrier, over the bridge, turn left at the junction. A short distance after the path leaves the woodland, you will see a sign for the Torc Mountain path on your right that takes you to the summit.
Torc – known locally as Cardiac Steps Huntsman’s Hill (Red Trail)
Distance: 3.5 km
Time: 2 hour
Locals start from the small car park on the N71, 400m past the main Torc Waterfall car park on the right. Cross the road (Beware of traffic) and follow the trail to the right. Continue along this rolling pathway for about 5 minutes and watch out for the sign on the left, which marks the start of the steep rock steps.
Alternatively, a little drive further along the N71 is the Dinis carpark. Walk across the N71 and follow the walking trail for 1 minute and take the trail on the right up the steep rock stairway.
Warning: the Torc steps are not for the faint hearted and will have your heart racing in no time. Also, the surface is very rough, uneven and sometimes muddy.
It is a loop walk, which goes up the steep steps, contours Torc Mountain east, then descends and parallels the N71 back to both carparks.
Torc Loop (Yellow Trail)
Distance: 1.5 km
Time: 40 minutes
From Killarney on the N71 to Kenmare, take first turn left 400m after main entrance to Muckross House, follow for approximately 1.7 km to the Upper Torc Carpark. Alternatively, if you continue on the N71 you’ll come to the Torc Waterfall carpark.
From Torc Waterfall carpark, follow the yellow arrows and signs up to Torc Waterfall. After enjoying the ambiance, continue up the steps past the falls until you come to a T-junction. Turn right and cross the bridge over the Owengarriff River, just above the falls. Follow the trail up and turn right. This descends for some distance, before you have to cross the N71 to a small carpark. Continue beyond the carpark and follow the trail right back to the Torc Waterfall carpark, all the while following the yellow arrows marking this trail.
Torc Loop (Blue Trail)
Distance: 2.5 km
Time: 1 hour
From Torc Waterfall carpark, follow the blue arrows and signs up to the waterfall. After enjoying the ambience, continue up the steps past the falls until you come to a T-junction. Turn left and continue up and then right passing the Upper Torc carpark. Pass through the barrier, cross the bridge and turn right. This descends for some distance, before you have to cross the N71 to a small carpark. Continue through the carpark and follow the trail right back to the Torc Waterfall carpark, all the while following the blue arrows marking this trail.
The Blue Pool
The Blue Pool is one of the best kept secrets in Killarney! You have two choices of walk on these enchanting sheltered woodland tracks, shared with flowing rivers and an ever peaceful energy. The smaller shorter loop has visually impaired trail with an audio tape available at Muckross House as is a trail leaflet.
Both trails lead to The Blue Pool which is sign posted along the route. The Pool is most unusual in its vibrant green/ blue colour and is sure to captivate its audience. Don’t forget to bring the camera as you will most definitely want to look back at your moments at the pool!
Old Kenmare Road
Distance: 7 km
Time: 2 hours
The Old Kenmare Road is a scenic trail that meanders through the uplands of Killarney National Park and forms part of the Kerry Way long distance trail. The official first leg of The Kerry Way is from Killarney town to Torc Waterfall. The section covered here starts from the Upper Torc car park.
From Killarney on the N71 to Kenmare, take first left 400m after main entrance to Muckross House (Old Kenmare Road), follow for approximately 1.7 km to Upper Torc Carpark.
Turn left on leaving the carpark and follow the Old Kenmare Road, through the barrier. Cross the wooden bridge over the Owengarrif River and take an immediate left. After this, there are very few decisions to take regarding which direction to take as the trail is pretty clear and easy to follow throughout. It is for walkers only and consists of woodland trails, boardwalk, river stepping stones, with occasional muddy, rocky and uneven ground in parts.
A sharp descent along a gravel path will bring you to the point where you meet the public road once more. From here, you can either turn left and follow the Old Kenmare Road all the way to Kenmare (10 km), or turn right and return to Derrycunnihy Church on the N71 (600 m). The carpark here is a good place to leave a second car.
Another option to extend the walk is to follow the path (Signposted) across the road from Derrycunnihy Church, known as the Mass Path, to Lord Brandon’s Cottage (Where refreshments are available during the summer months) and travel back to Ross Castle by boat
Killegy Woods and Queen’s Drive
Distance: 3 km
Time: 1 hour
On the main N71 Killarney to Kenmare Road, take the left turn immediately after the entrance to the Muckross Park Hotel. After about 200m, is the entrance to the Blue Pool Nature Trails; there is some room for parking. Be careful not to block the entrance. You may also be able to park on the other side of the road opposite the entrance. As you park, have a look across the road, as there’s a good chance you’ll spot native Red Deer.
From the parking area, continue along the Mangerton Road for another couple of hundred metres until the road takes a sharp left. At this bend in the road, you will see a minor road heading into the trees on the right-hand side. There is a sign saying, ‘pedestrian access only’. This is the entry point of the Queens Drive. Continue through the barrier and take the left fork up the track. At the next junction, take the right fork and descend the hill. At the bottom take the right turn which will return you to the start. This is a woodland trail, which is occasionally muddy in parts.
Upper Lake and Killegy Woods
Mass Path; Derrycunnihy Church to Lord Brandon’s Cottage.
Distance: 4 km one way
Time: 1.5 hours
Situated approximately 12km south of Killarney town on the main N71 Kenmare Road, Derrycunnihy Church is located near a bridge that crosses the Galway River. The trail forms part of the Kerry Way long distance walking route. The start is across the road from the carpark, where the wooden steps and boardwalk descend into the woodland below. The path meanders its way down through oak woodlands, crossing some streams along the way. As you continue to descend, watch out for some abandoned ruins on your right amidst the woodland. At this point turn left onto the broader track which is the main trail to Lord Brandon’s Cottage (or the Mass Path as it is also known). Alternatively, turn right if you want to see Derrycunnihy Cascade. After a few hundred metres, you will arrive at the viewing point for the Cascade. If you decide to turn left towards Lord Brandon’s, you can look forward to mountain views, while following the shores of the Upper Lake. Look out for glimpses of the elusive White Tailed Sea Eagle. During summer, there is a cafe at Lord Brandon’s serving refreshments. It is possible to return to Killarney (Ross Castle) via boat from here.
Warning; this route is for walkers only as it is rough underfoot and prone to flooding in the winter.
Time: 5 hours
Mangerton Mountain is a moderate 4 to 5 hour hour (10 km) walking route to the summit of Mangerton (839m) taking in the wonderful Devils Punchbowl lake near the summit and passing the Tooreencormick Battle Field Site near Killarney. It is a relatively gentle climb to the summit and should be no problem to most of reasonable fitness and is one of the most accessible mountains over 800m in Ireland. The walk has spectacular views of the Devil’s Punchbowl, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Horses Glen, Killarney National Park and on a good day south west to Kenmare Bay. Mangerton Mountain may only be in the top 30 highest mountain in Ireland but the area of the mountains southern slopes form a huge plateau, one of the most extensive areas of mountain wilderness in Ireland stretching 13km from Killarney to Kenmare