The highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, there is no shortage of walks with fabulous views and breath-taking hills to climb in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. With so many to choose from we’ve put together a list of the top 5 viewed walks in the Mourne Mountains on WalkNI.com. Click on the links below for downloadable route descriptions and maps:
Distance: 2.9 miles (one way) linear
No list of top walks in the Mournes would be complete without including Northern Ireland’s highest summit, Slieve Donard (850m (2,789 ft)). The most well-trodden way to the top, this route begins in Donard Park and follows the Glen River to the saddle between Donard and Commmedagh before meeting the Mourne Wall for the final ascent to the summit. Expect extensive views from the top as the mountains sweep down to the sea opening up views from Newcastle to the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland. For an alternative route to the top check out Slieve Donard via Bloody Bridge.
Distance: 7 miles circular
This fantastic circular walking route begins at Carrick Little Car Park and follows the Mourne Wall to the summit of Slieve Binnian (the 3rdhighest peak at 747m). It then traverses between the spectacular South and North Tors before descending along a track past the Blue Lough, Annalong Forest and back to Carrick Little car park near Annalong village. You’ll encounter fine panoramas along the way with the striking Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs below and towering summits beyond providing dramatic views.
Distance: 6 miles circular
Slieve Bearnagh and Meelmore
A strenuous walk this route takes in the peaks of Slieve Bearnagh (one of the most distinctive mountains in the Mournes, renowned for the granite tors on its summit (739m)) and Slieve Meelmore (704m), finishing by walking down Happy Valley and along a section of the Ulster Way. This circuit uses the Mourne Wall as a handrail on the higher parts of the mountain and offers superb views on a clear day stretching as far as the Sperrins, Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough.
Distance: 22 miles circular
Mourne Wall Challenge
A 1 day challenge following the 22 miles (35 km) of the historic Mourne Wall this highly strenuous route incorporates the ascents and descents of 15 peaks including 7 of the 10 highest mountains in the Mournes and Northern Ireland. Taking over 18 years to complete between 1904 – 1922 many skilled people were employed seasonally to build this stone wall which stands up to 8ft high and 3ft wide. Not for the faint hearted it is sure to reward you with a truly unique experience.
*Group numbers of no higher than 12 should attempt this route in one go, due to erosion issues around the fragile Mourne wall.
Distance: 5.9 miles circular
Hen Cock and Pigeon Rock
A circular route in the western Mournes giving a taster of views that can be experienced in the region. The route ascends Hen, Cock and Pigeon Rock Mountains using open mountain terrain before descending through a valley to the starting car park. Expect interesting rock formations and luscious green grass of the surrounding countryside.