Walking & Hiking Trails Kerry
County Kerry is one of the most picturesque locations in the country and is known fondly as “The Kingdom”. Whatever region you choose to explore, there’s a memorable looped walk for every walker to avail of.
From vast national parks to blue-flag beaches, it is easy to understand the county’s prestigious name. One of the most appealing aspects of Kerry is its abundance of hiking destinations, ranging from moderately easy to immensely challenging.
Walking The Kerry Way
The Kerry Way is one of the longest signposted walking trails in Ireland. It is approximately 215km long (135 miles) and one of the most enjoyable ways to see the true Kerry. Kerry is renowned for having the highest mountains in Ireland; however, the Kerry Way avoids the higher peaks and opts for the lower reaches of mountain ridges. The trail is intended to quickly progress through a variety of different landscapes and experiences, giving the , walker a wider appreciation for the County. In general, the Kerry way is broken into 9 main stages, which allows you to break up the route into multiple days and rest areas.
Looping around the Iveragh Peninsula, the Kerry Way goes anti-clockwise, passing through some of the most isolated and dramatic countryside in the country ans as a loop walk it can be joined at any point.
Walking The Dingle Way
The Dingle Way offers perhaps the finest scenery of all the long-distance walks in the West of Ireland. With the Atlantic ocean never far from view, you can enjoy magnificent peaks and rolling hills with offshore islands providing a dramatic backdrop. The Dingle Way also enjoys some of the best beaches and coves on the west coast. Western Dingle is an Irish speaking (Gaeltacht) area and is rich in history and culture with a strong archaeological heritage.
The Dingle Way manages to encompass all the great elements of the peninsula and is blessed with delightful villages along its route. It travels from village to village where you can enjoy cosy pubs and a lively traditional music scene. The entire route is 179kms (112 miles).
One of the more manageable, easy hikes on our list, the 10 km Lomanagh Loop is perfect for those just starting to fall in love with hiking. Most of the walk is comprised of tarmac roads and forest trails, meaning the terrain is less demanding.
Though it may be lacking in difficulty, the Lomanagh Loop is undoubtedly beautiful. Starting in Sneem, the loop offers views of the surrounding woodlands, farmlands, and picture-perfect Kerry countryside.
The Gap of Dunloe
The famed Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass nestled snugly between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and the Purple Mountain. The river Loe snakes its way down from the Gap and truly adds to the hiking experience.
The moderate 11 km hiking trail is narrow and winding and will make you feel like you are on an adventure far from the hectic pace of everyday life. During your hike make sure to drink in the natural beauty that surrounds you. You will see the Black Valley, several flowing lakes, and the old-wishing bridge.
Mount Brandon is an excellent choice for intermediate hikers, as it will push your boundaries while still being manageable and very enjoyable. This 10k mountain walk is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and offers incredible views of the Dingle Peninsula from its peak. The hiking trail is rich in history and tradition – the Marian Grotto is one of the most memorable features of the hike and is a monument where people have long made the pilgrimage to seek relief from ill health.
Mount Brandon incorporates jaw-dropping views of a glacial valley, where hikers will be treated to views of lakes, waterfalls and sheer cliff faces.
Views are plentiful at all points on the trail, and some of the most mesmerising views include sights such as the Blasket Islands and even the Aran Islands on a clear day. No other Irish ridge walk through Kerry's stunning landscape has the entrancing scape of this one.
Lough Googh Loop Walk
One of the more strenuous, difficult 10 km hikes on our countdown, the Lough Googh Loop Walk is undoubtedly one for the more experienced hiker and will allow you to take in parts of Killarney National Park. The Lough Googh Loop Walk is not one for the faint-hearted, make sure you have a good head for heights before beginning your ascent. One section is a very exposed ridge which passes two more of Kerry’s many mountains, the Big Gun and Cruach Mor.
The views here are spectacular and will more than make up for the jarring exposed ridge and exposed edges.
Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s tallest and most challenging peak, posing the perfect challenge for experienced hikers. There are several ways to approach the Mountain, but the ominously-named Devil’s Ladder is probably the most popular route.
The difficult, challenging, but unforgettable 12 km hike is preceded by Hag’s Glen, a vast valley surrounded by beautiful lakes. Once you actually begin your hike along the Devil’s Ladder, your trek becomes quite challenging, a challenge that will be embraced by avid hikers.
The view from the top of Carrauntoohill is one you can never forget, and those who have conquered the peak will reap the reward of lakeside, seaside, and mountain edge views.
Plan your adventure in County Kerry
Family-friendly walks to enjoy with children in Kerry:
Glenteenassig Woods is located just off the Tralee to Dingle road at Castlegregory. It offers spectacular walking surrounded by lakes and Annascaul Mountain.
There is a boardwalk around the upper lake and some picnic benches where you can sit and enjoy the scenery on warmer days.
Muckross House & Gardens in Killarney has lovely easy walks from the house down to the Killarney Lake, ideal for kids and the paths are buggy-friendly. As you walk along you will see some of the plants, animals and scenery which have made Killarney famous.
For a longer walk head from the House to Torc Waterfall, a trail which consists of paved and clay walkways. The loop is approximately 4km and is signposted off the main Muckross Lake Loop walk.
Head to Tralee Bay Wetlands for a walk around the lake, it’s perfect for walks with little ones especially if you have a buggy in tow. You can also play king of the castle in the viewing tower, sit in a bird hide, and go on the nature boardwalk, where you can get up close with nature.
Clogher Beach Loop
A 1.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ballyferriter, County Kerry, that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.
Knockreer & Ross Castle
All of the loop is within the boundaries of Killarney National Park and you will not meet any vehicular traffic on the route. The route is largely contained within the Knockreer area of Killarney National Park, passing Ross Castle at the 5km mark. Knockreer is located right next to Killarney town centre and brings the National Park right into the town. On this route you will be distracted by scenic views and abundant wildlife and rewarded with peaceful surrounds.
Dunmore Head Loop
Is a 2.6 km moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ballyferriter, County KerryThis is a short walk on the southwestern tip of the Dingle Peninsula, the most westerly point in all of Europe. Because of its incredible beauty and easily navigable trail, this is a popular area. You will have great views of the Blasket Islands and the Atlantic ocean. Keep an eye out for wildlife as marine animals are commonly seen from the coast. A scene from Star Wars was also shot in this location.
Reenagross Park is situated in the heart of Kenmare town. The park is a wooded peninsula with 3km of walking trails set within the beautiful landscape of Kenmare Bay. It was originally developed as a private park by the first Marquis of Lansdowne (1739-1803). An 18th century map of the Lansdowne Estate shows Reenagross as it was drawn by John Powell in 1764. It was an open peninsula with very few trees, however, by the mid-19th century a woodland, boat house and pier were developed. Reenagross as we see it today had taken shape.