The Walking Trails of Glendalough
There are nine walks to choose from, each starting at the National Park Information Office near the Upper Lake. Staff at the Information Office can help you choose a suitable route.
1. Miner’s Road Walk
This walk skirts one side of the Upper Lake. The trail passes through Scots Pine woodland before reaching the ruined miners’ village. Halfway along the trail, the cave known as St
Kevin’s Bed can be seen across the lake. Feral goats are common on this walk. Peregrine Falcons may on occasion be seen high in the sky soaring and calling to each other (a
2. Green Road Walk
The Green Road is an easy stroll on mostly flat ground. This walk passes through the Glendalough oak woodlands before dropping down onto the Lower Lake wetland edge. Views up the valley from the boardwalk here are spectacular. Lizards and dragonflies are often seen sunning themselves on the wooden trackway. The wetlands are a valuable breeding place for frogs.
This trail begins with a short but steep climb up by the Poulanass Waterfall and plunge pools. (The name Poulanass is taken from the Irish ‘Poll an Eas’ which means ‘hole of the
waterfall’). The trail crosses above the waterfall to drop down through mixed woodlands to the valley floor. Listen out for woodland birds, in particular Jays, which can be quite noisy.
4. Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell
This trail rises steeply alongside the Poulanass Waterfall, leading you through the Glendalough oak woodlands. It then winds gently down to the site of St Kevin’s Cell. At this point there is a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Upper Lake, which is a good place to birdwatch. A visit to Reefert Church is worthwhile before ending your walk.
5. Derrybawn Woodland Trail
This trail climbs steeply up alongside the Poulanass Waterfall before leading you to the upper reaches of Derrybawn Mountain. Flanked by larch and pine trees, the route offers
magnificent views of the whole Glendalough Valley. Red Squirrels and birds such as Treecreepers are often seen here. In early summer, wood sorrel, bluebells and wood anemones add colour to the woodland floor.
6. Woodland Road
This is a pleasant walk through one of the more secretive areas of Glendalough. It weaves through mixed woodlands into neighbouring Glendasan Valley, where it joins St. Kevin’s Way
and the path up to Glendasan Mines. The trail follows the Glendasan River back towards Glendalough where it then joins up with the boardwalk which runs through the Lower Lake wetlands.
7. Spinc and Glenealo Valley
This popular walk leads you through some of the most spectacular scenery in Co Wicklow. (The name Spinc comes from the Irish ‘An Spinc’ and means ‘pointed hill’). The trail ascends
steeply up by the Poulanass Waterfall before joining a boardwalk. More than 600 wooden steps lead you to a viewing point overlooking the Upper Lake. The boardwalk skirts the top of the cliffs before descending through blanket bog and heath into the picturesque Glenealo Valley, home to a large herd of deer. A rough track then leads you back down into Glendalough Valley.
8. Spinc and the Wicklow Way
This walk follows the same route as the other Spinc trails up onto the boardwalk. It stays on this boardwalk for 1.7 kilometres before turning off in the direction of Lugduff Mountain. This section of the trail is a good place to spot deer and birds such as Raven, Merlin and Kestrel. Finally the trail links up with the Wicklow Way track to lead you back to the Information Office.
9. Spinc (short route)
Although this walk is short in comparison to the other Spinc routes, it still leads you into mountainous terrain where navigational experience is necessary. The walk follows the
Poulanass Waterfall before entering the Lugduff Valley. From there, a steep climb up steps brings you onto the boardwalk. This trail continues for 1.2 kilometres along the boardwalk
which hugs the cliff of the Spinc, before cutting down through forest to lead back towards the Information Office.
On Your Visit
Please take your litter away with you, or use the bins provided.
• Never light fires.
• Please keep dogs under control. Do not let them disturb other visitors, farm
animals or wildlife. Please clean up after your dog.
• Groups of more than fifty people and / or people organising events, must
contact the national park for a permit and advice.
• Horse riding in the national park requires a permit.
• Bicycles are only permitted on forest roads. Off-road cycling is not allowed.
• Follow the principles of Leave No Trace.
Safety in the Mountains
If you are planning to follow a trail graded as a ‘Hill walk’, or if you wish to
explore the open mountains, please follow this safety guide.
• Only experienced hillwalkers should ever venture into the hills alone.
• Leave details with someone of your route and expected time of return.
• Bring a map and compass and know how to use them.
• Wear strong boots and bring raingear.
• Check the weather forecast and dusk times.
• Avoid cliffs, crags and waterfalls. They are dangerous and can be fatal.
• To contact Mountain Rescue dial ‘999’ or ‘112’.
Safety in the Mountains
Park Headquarters: 0404 45800