Wicklow Way FAQ

General Questions

The Wicklow Way hiking trail is a long-distance trail in Ireland that stretches for approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) through the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin. The trail is between the town of Clonegal in County Carlow, and Marlay Park, Dublin. The trail was established in 1980, and has since become one of Ireland’s most popular hiking routes.

The Wicklow Way hiking trail is approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) long, and it typically takes 5-7 days to complete, depending on the hiker’s pace and itinerary. However, some hikers may choose to complete the trail in fewer days by covering longer distances each day.

The trail is divided into 8 sections, and hikers can choose to do one or more sections depending on their preference and schedule.

The best time of year to hike the Wicklow Way is generally between late spring and early autumn, from April to October. During this time, the weather is usually mild and pleasant, with longer daylight hours, which makes it easier to cover longer distances each day.

The summer months of June to August are the busiest, with more visitors and higher accommodation rates. Hikers should be prepared for rain and cooler temperatures, especially at higher elevations.

The winter months of November to March can be quite cold and wet, and some sections of the trail may be covered in snow or ice, so it’s not recommended to hike the Wicklow Way during this time.

The months of April-May and September-October tend to have less ideal but still manageable weather with less crowds than the summer time. This may be preferable to certain people.

While previous hiking experience is not strictly necessary to complete the Wicklow Way hiking trail, it is recommended that hikers have some level of fitness and are comfortable walking on uneven terrain for extended periods of time.

The Wicklow Way is considered to be a moderate-level trail, with some steep ascents and descents, rocky and muddy sections, and exposed mountainous terrain. Hikers should also be prepared to carry a backpack with food, water, and clothing for the duration of their hike.

It’s always a good idea to start with shorter, easier hikes to build up your fitness and experience before attempting longer and more challenging trails like the Wicklow Way.

No matter your previous experience it is always important to bring proper gear and prepare yourself to the best of your abilities.

While the Wicklow Way is achievable for beginners with a moderate level of fitness, it is important to understand the physical demands of the trail:

  • Daily distances: The average daily distance is around 18-20 km (11-12 miles), but some days can be longer or shorter depending on your itinerary.
  • Elevation gain: The trail invloves significant elevation gain and loss, with some steep ascents and descents.
  • Terrain: The terrain varies from well maintained paths and forest trails to rocky and uneven sections. You’ll encounter a mix of ascents, descents and flat sections.
  • Weather: The weather in the Wicklow Mountains can be unpredictable so be prepared for wind, rain and potentially cold temperatures.
Recommendations:
  • Prepare in advance: Before starting the Wicklow Way, engage in regular physical activity to build up your stamina and endurance. Consider going on shorter hikes or walks to acclimate your body to the demands of the trial.
  • Start slowly: Don’t overexert yourself on the first few days. Allow your body to adjust to the daily distances and elevation changes.
  • Listen to your body: Take breaks when needed and rest if you’re feeling fatigued.
  • Pack light: Carry only what you need to avoid unnecessary strain on your body.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in warmer weather.

Yes, there are a variety of accommodations available along the Wicklow Way hiking trail, ranging from hostels and campsites to bed and breakfasts and hotels.

Most hikers choose to stay in the small towns and villages along the trail, which offer a range of services, including restaurants, grocery stores, and laundry facilities.

Some popular towns along the trail with accommodation options include Tinahely, Glenmalure, Laragh, and Enniskerry. Hikers can choose to pre-book accommodations ahead of time or arrange for accommodations as they go, depending on their preference and schedule.

It’s important to note that accommodation options can be limited during peak hiking season, so it’s recommended to book ahead of time to ensure availability.

For more information about accommodation, see our accommodation page here.

There are several transport options available for hikers on the Wicklow Way hiking trail, including public transportation, private shuttle services, and taxi services.

The trail passes through several small towns and villages, which offer bus and train connections to nearby cities, such as Dublin and Bray. Hikers can also arrange for private shuttle services or taxis to transport them between trailheads or to and from accommodations.

Some accommodation providers also offer luggage transfer services, which can be helpful for hikers who prefer to hike with a lighter backpack.

For more information, find our transport page here.

Yes, the Wicklow Way is well marked throughout its entire length. The trail is marked with yellow arrows on black marker posts as well as brown fingerposts on sections that follow roads.

Additionally, the popularity of the trail means that there is often a well worn path to follow.

However, it is always a good idea to carry a physical map and compass or GPS device for navigation, especially in poor visibility conditions. We provide a selection of maps here.

No, you do not need a permit to hike the Wicklow Way. The trail is open to the public and free to access.

However, it is important to respect the countryside code including leaving no trace, staying on designated paths and respecting other trail hikers and landowners

While there are several streams and rivers along the Wicklow Way, it is important to note that not all water sources are safe to drunk untreated.

There is a public tap located in Tinahely where you can refill your water bottle.

In other areas, it is recommended to carry a water filter or purification tablets to treat water before drinking if it is required.

Planning when and where to refill your bottles is very important. You should also carry more water than you expect to use when possible to avoid dangerous situations.

Some villages and towns will have bottled water for purchase but always make sure to leave no trace along the walk.

Essential Items:
  • Hiking boots or shoes: Sturdy, waterproof footwear with good ankle support is crucial for the varied terrain.
  • Waterproof jacket and bottoms: Essential for protections against the unpredictable wind and rain.
  • Warm layers: Fleece jacket, hat, gloves and extra socks for insulation in colder temperatures.
  • Hiking socks: Moisture wicking socks help prevent blisters.
  • Backpack: A comfortable backpack with enough capacity to carry your additional gear, water and food.
  • Map and compass or GPS device: Even though the trail is well marked, it is important to have navigation tools in case of poor visibility or unforeseen situations.
  • First aid kit: Include essential items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relief and blister treatment.
  • Water bottles or hydration bladder: Carry enough water for the day’s hike and consider a water filter or purification tablets in case of an emergency.
  • Food and snacks: Pack high energy snacks and meals to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  • Headlamp or torch: Essential for navigating in low light conditions if you get caught in the dark.
  • Whistle: In a situation where you are lost or in need of help a whistle will likely be more easily heard than your voice.
Additional Items (Optional by Recommended):
  • Hiking poles: Can help with balance and reduce strain on your knees.
  • Sun protection: Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for sunny days.
  • Insect repellent: Can be useful during warmer months.
  • Camera: To capture the stunning scenery of your travels along the Wicklow Way.
  • Power bank: To charge your phone or other electronic devices.
  • Gaiters: Help keep debris out of your boots and provides additional ankle protection.
  • Multi-tool or knife: Useful for various tasks on the trail.
  • Emergency shelter: A lightweight tarp or bivy sack can provide shelter in unexpected situations.
Important Considerations:
  • Weather conditions: Pack appropriate clothing for the expected weather and always be prepared for sudden changes.
  • Trip duration: Adjust the amount of food, water and clothing you pack based on the length of you planned hike.
  • Personal preferences: Consider your own comfort levels and preferences when choosing your gear.

Remember to always pack a bit more than expected for usable goods. If you think you only need three plasters, bring four and this applies to other items. It is important to take precautions to avoid unnecessary danger.

While the Wicklow Way is a long distance trail primarily through rural landscapes, you’ll find villages and towns along the route with shops and restaurants offering supplies and refreshments. These include places like:

  • Laragh: Home to McCoy’s Mini Market for groceries, fuel and other supplies as well as several restaurants and pubs.
  • Glendalough: Features a hotel with a restaurant, a visitor centre with a cafe and a few small shops.
  • Roundwood: Offers several restaurants, pubs and a small shop.
  • Tinahely: Has shops, a bakery and a few dining options.

You can find expanded information on locations along the Wicklow Way here.

Safety Questions

While it is possible to hike the Wicklow Way alone, it is not recommended to do so.

Hiking solo carries inherent risks such as getting lost, encountering injuries or facing unexpected challenges without support.

Consider enjoying the Wicklow Way as part of a group to significantly enhance your safety.

Some additional tips to enhance your and/or your groups safety include:

  • Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know your itinerary including your planned route, estimated completion time and any accommodation bookings.
  • Carry a personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite communication device: This allows you to send an emergency signal in case of an accident or injury.
  • Stick to the trail: Avoid straying for the trail as it can be substantially less safe as well as hindering searching in the event of an accident.

If you realise that you are lost on the Wicklow Way it is important to stay calm, take a few deep breaths and then assess your situation.

You should have this guideline printed out in case of emergency and it can be found here.

  • Stay Put: Unless you are in immediate danger or have a clear path to a known location, it is generally best to remain where you are. This makes it easier for search and rescue teams to find you. If you move to this known location and find you have made a mistake, do not continue to attempt to find a known location.
  • Signal for Help:
    • If you have a phone with reception then you should call emergency services on: 0876222481
    • Use a whistle, mirror or brightly coloured clothing item to attract attention.
    • If it is dark use a torch to signal SOS with three short flashes, three long flashes, three short flashes and repeat intermittently. This should save battery while still being noticable.
  • Conserve Energy: Avoid unnecessary movement and try to stay warm and dry.
  • Seek Shelter: If possible, find a sheltered spot out of the wind and rain.
  • Make Yourself Visible: Create a visible marker such as piling rocks or branches in a clearing.
Additional Tips
  • Always have a map and compass or GPS device even if you think you know the trail well.
  • Let someone know your hiking plans, including your route and estimated return time.
  • Consider carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite communication device for emergencies.
  • Learn basic navigation skills and familiarise yourself with the trail map before setting out.

The weather on the Wicklow Way can be unpredictable and change rapidly even within a single day. It is essential to be prepared for a variety of conditions no matter the time of year or how the day starts.

General Weather Patterns:
  • Spring (March-May): Mild temperatures with occasional showers and sunny spells. Snow is possible in the mountains, especially early in the season.
  • Summer (June-August): Generally warm and sunny but rain showers are still common. Temperatures can range from 15C to 25C (59F to 77F) but this does not include possible wind chill.
  • Autumn (September-November): Cooler temperatures with increased rainfall and wind. The mountains can experience early snowfall.
  • Winter (December -February): Cold and wet with frequent rain and occasional snow in the mountains. Temperatures typically range from 0C to 10C (32F to 50F) but can be substantially colder due to wind chill.
Tips for Hiking in Irish Weather:
  • Check the forecast: Always check the weather forecast the day before and day of your planned hike but be prepared for changes.
  • Dress in layers: This allows you to adjust to varying temperatures throughout the day.
  • Pack waterproof gear: A waterproof jacket and bottoms are essential for staying dry in rain showers. Do not attempt to use an umberella.
  • Be prepared for wind: The Wicklow Mountains can be exposed to strong winds so pack windproof layers.
  • Consider the season: Pack warmer layers for the spring and autumn and be prepared for snow and ice in the winter.
Additional Tips:
  • Watch for signs of changing weather: Keep an eye on the sky for approaching storms.
  • Heed weather warnings: If severe weather warnings are issued, consider postponing your hike or altering your route.

The Wicklow Way does not have any large predators or dangerous wild animals. However, there are a few animals you should be aware of:

  • Farm animals: You may encounter cattle, sheep or horses grazing along the trail or in fields. It is important to respect these animals and keep a safe distance especially if they have young with them. If you come across a bull, give it a wide berth and avoid it.
  • Dogs: While most dogs are friendly, some may be territorial or protective. Always ask the owner’s permission before approaching a dog.
Additional tips:
  • Don’t feed or approach wildlife: Keep a respectful distance from all wild animals and avoid feeding them as this can alter their natural behaviour. While you may have no intention of causing harm, it is best to simply admire wild creatures and perhaps take a few pictures from afar.
  • Make noise: While you should avoid being excessively noisy, it is best practise to still be notably audible to avoid startling animals.
  • Assess the situation: Determine the nature and severity of the emergency.
  • Call for help: If possible call either 0876222481, 999 or 112.
  • Administer first aid: If you’re trained in first aid, provide assistance to the injured person.
  • Stay calm: Keeping a calm mind will help in the situation.

Other Questions

  • Glendalough Monastic Site: This 6th century monastic site is a must see for its historic round tower, St. Kevin’s Kitchen and picturesque lakeside setting.
  • Scenic Mountain Landscapes: The Wicklow Way winds through stunning mountain scenery offering panoramic views of rolling hills, lush valleys and sparkling lakes.
  • Lough Tay (Guinness Lake): This iconic dark lake, shaped like a pint of Guinness, is nestled in a glacial valley and offers a unique photo opportunity.
  • Powerscourt Waterfall: The highest waterfall in Ireland cascades down 121 meters (398 feet) into a wooded valley.
  • Ancient Oak Woodlands: The trail passes through ancient oak woodlands, home to a variety of wildlife and offering a peaceful respite from the open mountains.
  • Varied Terrain: The Wicklow Way offers a diverse hiking experience with a mix of mountain paths, forest trails and quiet country lanes.
  • Charming Villages: Along the route, you’ll encounter charming villages like laragh, Roundwood and Tinahely where you can sop for refreshments, explore local shops and experience Irish hospitality.
Additional Highlights:
  • Historic Sites: The Wicklow Way passes several historic sites such as ancient monastic settlements, medieval castles and Bronze Age burial mounds.
  • Wildlife: Keep an eye out for red deer, sika deer, mountain hares, the illusive red squirrel and various bird species along the way.
  • Wildflowers: The trail is dotted with wildflowers, especially in spring and summer.
  • Local Pubs: Many hikers enjoy stopping for a pint of Guinness or a hearty meal at the local pubs found along the way.

You can see a small portion of what the Wicklow Way has to offer in our gallery.

Yes, the Wicklow Way is rich in history and offers several intriguing sites and points of interest to explore, including:

  • Glendalough Monastic Site: This early Christian settlement is a must visit for its historic round tower, stone churches and serene lakeside setting.
  • St. Kevin’s Bed: A small cave like structure high on a cliff face above the Upper Lake in Glendalough said to have been used by St. Kevin as a hermitage.
  • Reefert Church: The ruins of a pre-Norman church with a beautifully preserved Romanesque doorway.
  • Whitefield Goldmines: Remnants of the 18th century gold rush in the Wicklow Mountains.
  • The Miner’s Village: An abandoned settlement that once housed the miners working in the goldmines.
  • Baltinglass Abbey: The remains of a Cistercian monastery founded in the 12th century.
  • Hollywood Glen: A picturesque valley with a river, waterfalls and a stone bridge.
  • The Mottee Stone: A large granite boulder with a mysterious inscription believed to be an ancient boundary marker.
Additional Points of Interest:
  • Scenic Views: The Wicklow Way offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and lakes.
  • Woodland Trails: The trail winds through enchanting forests including ancient oak woodlands.
  • Historic Bridges and Fords: Several stone bridges and fords along the route offer glimpses into the region’s past.
Tips for Exploring Historical Sites:
  • Research in Advance: Learn about the history of the sites you plan to visit to enhance your understanding and appreciation.
  • Respect the Sites: Leave no trace and avoid disturbing and ruins or artifacts.
  • Take Photos: Capture the beauty and history of the sites through photography!

Yes, you can bring your dog on the Wicklow Way. However, it is crucial to follow responsible dog ownership practises to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all trail users:

  • Keep you do under control: Always keep you dog on a leash or under close control especially when passing other hikers, livestock or wildlife.
  • Clean up after your dog: Pack waste bags and dispose of your dog’s waste responsibly.
  • Respect land owners: Be mindful that the trail passes through private land so always follow any signage or requests regarding dogs.
  • Consider other hikers: Not all hikers are comfortable around dogs so be prepared to leash your dog if needed.
  • Pack for your dog: Bring enough water, food and waste bags for your dog as well as a leash and harness.
Additional Considerations:
  • Trail conditions: Some sections of the Wicklow Way may be challenging for dogs such as steep ascents, rocky terrain or areas with livestock. Assess your dog’s fitness level and abilities before starting the trail.
  • Accommodation: Not all accommodations along the Wicklow Way are dog friendly. Research and book pet friendly options in advance if you plan to bring your dog.
  • Local regulations: Check for any local rules or restrictions regarding dogs in specifics areas of the trail of nearby towns and villages.

By adhering to these guidelines you can ensure that you and you furry companion enjoy the Wicklow Way while minimising any impact on others hiking the trail, landowners, the environment and your dog.

Wild camping is generally not permitted on the Wicklow Way. However, there are a few exceptions and alternatives:

  • Designated campsites: There are a few official campsites located along or near the Wicklow Way where you can pitch a tent. These campsites usually have facilities like toilets and showers.
  • Adirondack shelters: Three Adirondack style shelters are located along the trail providing basic shelter for hikers. These are fist come, first served and wild camping is allowed nearby.
  • Private land with permission: If you obtain permission from a landowner you may be able to camp on their property. Always ask for permission on advance and respect their land.
  • B&B’s, hostels and guesthouses: The Wicklow Way offers a variety of accommodation options in towns and villages along the route, providing a comfortable alternative to wild camping.
Important Considerations:
  • Glendalough Valley: Wild camping is strictly prohibited in the Glendalough Valley and this is enforced by park rangers.
  • Leave No Trace: If you do wild camp (where permitted), follow Leave No Trace principles to minimise your impact on the environment. This includes packing all rubbish, staying on durable surfaces and avoiding disturbing wildlife.

Website FAQ

The purpose of Wicklowwaywalk.ie is to inform people about the Wicklow Way and promote the area around it. As the Way is such a long trail, it is natural that hikers must do a lot of planning before walking it. As such, we decided that having a hub of information that people could pull from would be a great help, so we created this site. We also wanted to showcase the many things on offer around the trail, such as accommodation, events, food and drink, places of interest, and more. In the end, the main goal of this site is to help you get the most out of your experience when walking through Wicklow along the Wicklow Way.

This website is not for profit, we don’t run ads or sell anything. Rather, we provide detailed information about all stages of planning your trip along the Wicklow Way. The various business owners who have their properties listed here did not pay for us to do so, we simply reached out to local businesses to see who would like to be featured. We desire to help both the community and the hikers of the Wicklow Way.

For enquires about the website, please email us at enquiries@wicklowwaywalk.ie.

Our Facebook address is Wicklow Way Walk

Our Instagram can be reached at @wicklowwaywalk