County Kerry is one of the most picturesque locations in Ireland. Whatever region you choose to explore, there will be a memorable walk for every level of walker.
One of the most appealing aspects of Kerry is its abundance of hiking destinations, ranging from moderately easy to challenging for the most experienced of hikers. From vast national parks to mountain hikes, it is easy to understand the county’s popularity with hikers.
The Kerry Way, Iveragh Peninsula
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. The trail starts and finishes in the busy tourist destination of Killarney. Looping around the Iveragh Peninsula, the Kerry Way goes anti-clockwise, passing through some of the most isolated and dramatic countryside.
The Dingle Way, Dingle
The Dingle Way offers perhaps the most striking 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. 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).
Lomanagh Loop, Sneem
One of the more manageable and easy hikes in the Kingdom, the 10 km Lomanagh Loop is perfect for those just starting to fall in love with hiking. Most of the walk consists 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, Killarney
The famous Gap of Dunloe is a narrow 11 km hiking trail is a winding 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. You will see the Black Valley, several flowing lakes, and the old-wishing bridge. It’s said that any wish made on the bridge will come true!
Mount Brandon, Dingle
Mount Brandon is an excellent choice for intermediate hikers, as it will push your boundaries while still being manageable and very enjoyable. This 10km mountain walk is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and offers incredible views of the Dingle Peninsula from its peak. No other Irish ridge walk through Kerry’s stunning landscape has the entrancing scape of this one.
Lough Googh Loop Walk, Killarney
One of the more strenuous and difficult 10km hikes in Kerry, the Lough Googh Loop Walk is undoubtedly one for the more experienced hiker that will allow you to take in parts of Killarney National Park. One section is a very exposed ridge that 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, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s highest 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 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 Carrauntoohil is one you can never forget, and those who have conquered the peak will reap the reward of lakeside, seaside, and mountain edge views.
For some family-friendly walks why not consider:
Muckross House and Gardens, Killarney
Muckross House & Gardens in Killarney has lovely easy walks from the house down to 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 that consists of paved and clay walkways. The loop is approximately 4km and is signposted off the main Muckross Lake Loop walk.
Tralee Bay Wetlands
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.
Knockreer & Ross Castle, Killarney
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 surroundings. 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.
Dunmore Head Loop, Dingle
This is a 2.6km loop trail located near Ballyferriter, County Kerry. This is a short walk on the southwestern tip of the Dingle Peninsula. 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, Kenmare
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.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the great places to walk in Kerry, there are plenty of other options for any level of hiker. Whether you prefer a simple stroll or a challenging hike Kerry has it all!
If you are planning a hiking trip to Kerry check out our Kerry On Us Packages for something extra on us! Parknasilla’s packages include free guided walks plus much more! For more information visit our Kerry On Us page!
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