Most Popular Walks in Sligo County
Benbulben Forest Walk (Gortarowey)
Offering one of the best views of Sligo’s iconic table mountain, Ben Bulben Forest Walk provides a number of spectacular looped walks, all of which give unrivalled views towards Ben Bulben. With ample parking available in the car park, located just off the N15 8km north of Sligo Town, nearby signposts direct the visitor to a number of walks, the shortest of which is suitable for all members of the family and most levels of fitness.
Hazelwood Forest to Lough Gill
A wonderful looped forest walk located along the banks of Lough Gill, the starting point for this walk is known as Half Moon Bay. This walk is suitable for all members of the family and is very convenient to Sligo Town, located just a few minutes away. One of many places that inspired Ireland’s national poet WB Yeats “I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head” (The Song of Wandering Aengus), this scenic walk is one that offers peace and tranquillity as well as a healthy hour long stroll.
Part of the Sligo Way, Slish Wood is another wonderful forest walk that leads to spectacular lakeside views and an unrivalled boardwalk experience which means it’s suitable for walking at any time of year. The visitor has the choice of both linear and looped routes here, both clearly signposted. Also keep an eye out for specially commissioned limestone markers bearing the image of the hare – the symbol of The Sligo Way – and of different leaves indicating the diversity of the forest.
One of the country’s most stunning beaches, Strandhill has long been home to some of the best surfing available anywhere on the island of Ireland. A number of walks are located here, and a good starting point is from the cannon which overlooks the main beach. Heading left will bring you around the length of the beach, over towards Culleenamore Beach and back through the sand dunes at Shelly Valley. Heading right from the starting point brings the walker over towards the ruins of Killaspugbrone Church, with the option of extending your walk by heading up Knocknarea and a visit to Queen Maeve’s cairn.
Devils Chimney (Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird)
Ireland’s highest waterfall is located at the Devil’s Chimney (or Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird to give it the original title – Stream that Runs Against the Height). This is a short uphill looped walk located just 2km from nearby Glencar Waterfall. Some roadside parking is available, and the route to the summit is rewarded with views of the Devil’s Chimney Waterfall, which flows during or after periods of rainfall. What is unusual about the waterfall is that when the wind blows in a certain direction, a common sight is of the waterfall blowing back up vertically, and this is where it derived its name from.
Knockarea and Queen Maeve Trail
The summit of Knocknarea is where you will find a spectacular 5,000 year old cairn, reputedly the final resting place of Queen Maeve of Connacht. Recent work by Coillte has made this into a looped walk, which can be approached from either of 2 entry points. The first of these is along the Glen Road, the second from the Strandhill side, accessing the walk along a series of steps located across from Sligo Rugby Club. Allow up to 2 hours to complete the entire loop, or little over half of that to take a linear route up and down from the summit. Note that walking on the cairn itself is prohibited, and that sections of the boardwalk can become slippy after rain. A real Sligo highlight, one not to be missed.
Beach or Strand as it is called is great for walking along miles of flat sand. The walking route will begin at the Pier, taking in the shoreline to the Carrowhubbock North Road, on to the main road and back into Enniscrone. It is located in a strategic scenic position in Enniscrone, with panoramic views of Killala Bay and its environs.
Easkey Coastal Walk
Located 26 miles from Sligo Town, on the R297 regional road, Easkey is a delightful unspoilt coastal village. Easkey boasts some beautiful coastal scenery and many walking routes through the local woods and around the river estuary and coastline, with wonderful views of the Slieve League and Benbulben mountains. Easkey is noted for its fossiled shoreline dating back millions of years and geologists, archaeologists and historians have become increasingly interested in its rugged coastline.
The De Cuéllar Trail
Named in honour of one of the few survivors of the Spanish Armada, 3 wrecks of which lie under the sands at Streedagh Beach, this walk is located in the north of the county near the village of Grange. With views of Ben Bulben to the rear, and unrivalled Atlantic views across towards Donegal, this walk has a historical dimension, with stops along the way to view locations mentioned by De Cuéllar in his memoir of the Armada, including the ruins of Staad Abbey as well as the Armada monument itself.