Where To Hike When - Discover Best Hikes and Trails Around the World.

Best Hiking Trails in Northern Ireland

Overview

Much of the mountainous areas on the Emerald Isle is within the Republic, but Northern Ireland boasts some beautiful low mountains that are easily accessible for hiking.  The main areas for hiking in Northern Ireland are the Sperrin Mountains and the Mourne Mountains. Some of the popular hikes include Slieve Donard, Slieve Gullion, Sawel Mountain, and Slieve Binnian & North Tor Circular.  The best months to hike in Northern Ireland are April to October.  Read on for more information on where and when to go hiking in Northern Ireland.

Capital: Belfast

When To Hike in Northern Ireland?

April – October: Warmer during summer months, but also rainier
November – March: Cold and rainy

Climate: Oceanic climate: cool and damp, cloudy and rainy throughout the year.  Wind is a frequent feature in the Irish weather.  

 

Northern Ireland Monthly Weather

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy:  Trails are well marked, including long-distance ones, and you don’t need a guide.  Lots of guidebooks available, and many websites and apps that give detailed information about hikes.

Transportation required: Car is useful 

Where to stay in Northern Ireland for hiking:

  • Newcastle
  • Newry
  • Draperstown

Top Places to Hike in Northern Ireland

The main areas for hiking in Northern Ireland are in the Mourne Mountains in the southern part of the country and the Sperrin Mountains in the northwest part of the country. There are no national parks but many national nature reserves, state forests and Areas of Outstanding Beauty. Highest Mountain: Slieve Donard (850 m) in the Mourne Mountains.

Filter out hiking places of Northern Ireland by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Sperrin Mountains

Mourne Mountains

  • Apr – Oct
  • Mourne Mountains
  • Slieve Donard (hike to the highest peak in NI)
  • Slieve Gullion

Northern Ireland's Long Distance Trails

  • Mourne Wall Challenge

Northern Ireland's Walking & Hiking Resources

Northern Ireland Hiking Books: There are many books about hiking in Ireland, this is just a sample of the ones that seemed the most relevant and up to date

  • The Mourne Mountains: The 30 Best Hikes, Handpicked by a County Down Local, by Andrew McCluggage, 2019, Knife Edge Outdoor Limited
  • Northern Ireland: the Unmissable Hikes – Real OSNI Maps 1:25,000/1:50,000, by Andrew McCluggage, 2020, Knife Edge Outdoor Limited
  • The Mourne and Cooley Mountains: A Walking Guide, by Adrian Hendroff, 2018, Collins Press
  • Northern Ireland: A Walking Guide by Helen Fairbairn, 2014, Collins Press 
  • Ireland’s Best Walks by Helen Fairbairn, 2014, Collins Press
  • The Mountains of Ireland: A Guide to Walking the Summits. Cicerone, by Paddy Dillon, 2010, Cicerone Guide
  • Lonely Planet Hiking in Ireland by Helen Fairbairn and Gareth McCormack, 2011, Lonely Planet Publications
  • Walking in Ireland, by Christopher Somerville, 2011, Ebury Publishing
  • Rucksack Readers: Ireland – Rucksack Readers

 

Northern Ireland Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Northern Ireland:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, official hiking websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • Slieve Donard
  • Slieve Gullion
  • Sawel Mountain
  • Slieve Binnian & North Tor Circular
  • Slieve Loughshannagh
  • Slieve Bearnagh
  • Slieve Lamagan
  • Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail

 Easy Hiking Trails in Northern Ireland:

  • Causeway Coastal Walk
  • Carrick-a-Rede

 

Northern Ireland Hiking Websites: 

 

Northern Ireland Weather Website:

 

Northern Ireland Official Tourism Site:

 

Northern Ireland Hiking Apps: 

 

Northern Ireland Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Giant’s Causeway 
  • Castles
  • Historic sites

Other Important Points