Killarney is a perfect place to don your hiking boots and get out to explore the best trails in Killarney. With the rugged National Park just around the corner, lakes, and mountains galore, and some well-marked routes to explore, it’s an ideal place for all types of hiker, from professional to novice.
Killarney National Park
If you’d like a smooth easy walk that’s great with kids or on bikes, try a hike & heritage outing to the National Park. The Knockreer Circular Walk is an easy way to explore Killarney National Park if you’re travelling with children as it’s mostly flat, easily walked, and good for prams and strollers. It’s an ideal way to get a taste of the National Park and experience some of the wildlife up close, without having to venture too far from town. You’ll be rewarded with wonderful lake and mountain views, expansive parkland and keep your eyes peeled for wild red deer.
Muckross Lake Loop Walk
Several walking and hiking routes start at Muckross House in the Killarney National Park, but the lake loop walk is one of our favourites. The walk takes you down to the lake shores, along the scenic route out to Muckross Peninsula that divides Muckross Lake from Lough Leane. On the way back, explore Reenadinna Wood admiring the scenery and the herd of wild red deer. You can add a detour that takes you past the gorgeous Torc Waterfall and stop in Dinis Cottage for a refresher. The walk is around 15km long and will take around 3-4 hours to complete.
Old Kenmare Road Walk
If you want a challenging hike with views that you’ll never forget, try the longer Old Kenmare Road Walk. The route is 16km long and is varied land from hills and mountains to flat ground and woodland. The route will take you along part of the longer Kerry Way which twists around Iveragh Peninsula. It’s a peaceful walk, perfect for reconnecting with nature and your surroundings. The Old Kenmare Road is a one way route that starts at the upper car park of Torc Mountain, so you’ll need to plan your journey in advance.
The Gap of Dunloe
Guaranteed to be the highlight of your trip, The Gap of Dunloe is one of those epic routes that should be on every visitor’s bucket list and easily one of the best trails in Killarney. Showcasing the very best of the rugged beauty of the area, the epic route is 12km long and should take 2-3 hours depending on your level of fitness. The route takes you across the National Park and through the gap in the middle of the majestic Mcgillycuddy Reeks Mountain Range. On your way up and down, make sure to look around and behind you as the view is just as good coming home. Finish off with a bite to eat and a coffee in the gorgeous Kate Kearney’s Cottage.
Ross Island Walk
For a walk that gives in abundance for a very little effort, try the short and sweet Ross Island Walk. Start at the stunning Ross Castle, walking to Library Point, an impressive limestone rock formation on the edge of Lough Leane. Take some time to enjoy the castle, one of the most visited attractions in the National Park, admiring its architecture and heritage. You can also book a boat ride from the castle to get a tour of Innisfallen Island. At only 5km, the walk will take less than an hour, but we recommend stopping to admire the views and maybe even a packed lunch al fresco on the Island.
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a daytime writer for Cahernane House Hotel Killarney, a charming four-star boutique hotel, beautifully set on a picturesque private estate and near the bustling Killarney town centre. Her fondness for travel, food, and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content about them.