Best river trails in County Donegal, Ireland

96 Reviews
Explore the most popular river trails in County Donegal with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of river trails in County Donegal, Ireland
Top trails (13)
#1 - Mount Errigal
Derryveagh Mountains
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Length: 2.6 mi • Est. 2 h 10 m
A challenging trail, but completely manageable. There is a small carpark at the bottom of the track. This route takes you through many different styles of Irish terrain and allows amazing views of both the vast valley's and blue ocean. There are no trail markers and no clearly defined paths at the beginning of the trail. Just line yourself up with the mountain peak and make your own way up. For the first 30 minutes or so, you're stepping around through marshes and trying not sink your boot into muck as Mt. Errigal stands apart above the abundant peat bogs of Donegal. The descent is easy and fast. If you haven't done quite enough then bearing left and over the bealach to the slopes of Mackoght will probably take you away from the others on the hillside and offers a different perspective. A good bit of scrambling is involved but the views from the top are well worth it as the ascent is short.Show more
#2 - The Bluestack Way: Lough Eske to Letterfad
Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 10.1 mi • Est. 5 h 19 m
Enter the heart of the Bluestacks from Lough Eske to Letterfad via the Eglish valley. You'll have enjoyed two good days on the Bluestack Way at this stage, but what comes next is possibly the best part of it. The sight of the pristine and perfectly manicured Tymeen football pitch, the sacred serenity of Disert, the hulking presence of Carnaween, the agony of climbing up Lugnabrogue, the ecstasy of getting to the top and admiring the best view in Ireland, the calmness of Doobin, the surreal sight of a sofa just when you want one and the joy of seeing Glenties are yours to behold - this is one special section. Starting off at Lough Eske Castle by the banks of Lough Eske and at the base of the magnificent Bluestack mountains, the second part of The Bluestack Way App meanders by the shore before rising to give you a panoramic view of the area right across to county Tyrone before entering the valley of Eglish, passing Owenboy and getting us as far as Letterfad bog before settling for the night at The Bluestack Centre. Some of the treats you can expect to find on today's walk are the (possible) sighting of golden eagles, Californian redwoods, red deer, blue hare and every sort of flora from marsh marigolds to cuckoo flowers, meadowsweet to umbellifers. You're in a place of immense beauty and fresh air where lichen grows freely as it does where air is truly fresh and where everyone from Fionn McCumhail to friars, gentry to bandits have visited and savoured. Show more
#3 - The Bluestack Way: Letterfad to Glenties
Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 9.9 mi • Est. 5 h 9 m
This trail features some great views of the area. The path does lead over some boggy areas, so take caution if hiking after recent rainfall.Show more
#4 - The Bluestack Way: Glenties to Ardara
Glenties, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 7.3 mi • Est. 3 h 35 m
#5 - Glencolumcille Tower Loop
Cill Ghabhlaigh, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 5.5 mi • Est. 2 h 59 m
This is a beautiful cliff loop with incredible ocean views. The route begins by passing Glen Beach before ascending up to the viewpoints. The trail then veers to the right and descends back down to the town along paved roads.Show more
#6 - The Bluestack Way: Donegal to Lough Eske
Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 1 h 57 m
The first part is the shortest and it is recommend you spend some time in Lough Eske at the end of Part One. From Donegal Town, meander along the river to the famous Lough Eske. Opposite the Bank of Ireland on the Diamond, you'll see a sign that marks the starting point of arguably the finest walk in the north west of Ireland. You'll be making your way out to Lough Eske along the eponymous river and in sight of the Bluestacks. Show more
#7 - Maghery Historical Cliff Circular
An Machaire, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 2.6 mi • Est. 1 h 2 m
Enjoy this amazing historical walk located near An Machaire, County Donegal. The wind and water have sculpted the landscape we see today. It’s one of the windiest places in the country and on average we get rainfall two days in every three. These ingredients make for breathtaking scenery when they are combined with a coastal location and an ancient and varied geology. The area around Maghery has a mosaic of coastal habitats. Beaches, sea cliffs, marram dunes, fixed dunes and saltmarsh graduate north east from the main beach. The south west wind has covered the fields behind the beach in a layer of blown sand which result in a species rich floral display in summer. The grass verges along the roadside going towards the pier display an attractive sequence of colourful wildflowers throughout the summer months. North of the Strand there is the rocky shore around Termon, interspersed with pockets of sandy grassland and dry heath. South of the Strand the coast rises dramatically to form Crohy Cliffs which are backed by a dense carpet of beautiful coastal heath that rises to a height of 245 metres at Croaghegly. Inland, is a mixture of blanket bog, heath and farmland. Maghery Lough is close by and is part of a Special Area of Conservation on account of the lake being a lagoon. It receives both fresh and salt water and is home to a specialised plant and animal community that can tolerate such conditions. Between Maghery Strand and Arranmore Island lie the low islands of Illancrone and Inishkeeragh, both of which are part of a Special Protection Area for wild birds. Dungloe Bay is scattered with exposed rocky outcrops at low tide and these provide a welcome haul out for Common Seals. Show more
#8 - Donegal Town Heritage Walking Tour
Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 1.5 mi • Est. 42 m
Donegal Town is County Donegal's gateway town. Its name translates from the Irish Don na nGall as 'fort of the foreigners', the foreigners here being the Vikings. Donegal gave its name to County Donegal, although Lifford is now the county town. Until the early 1600s, Donegal was the 'capital' of Tor Chonaill, a toath controlled by the O'Donnell Clan of the Cenel Conail and their seat was Donegal Castle located in the centre of the town. Donegal sits at the mouth of the River Eske and Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by the Bluestack Mountains. These days, the town is bypassed by the N15 and N56 roads allowing you to enjoy this walk with relative peace away from traffic. This walk will show you where the most important book on the history of early Ireland was written, where the Lords of the Fish ruled, where young boys were sold to farmers, where you can find natural pearls, where local tweed was turned into fine apparel and where the Black Pig used to stop off. We'll tell you of the town's connection with luminaries from Dickens to Napoleon, we'll show you where de Valera declared independence and where Van Morrison was sent packing. Show more
#9 - Gweedore Station to Dunlewey Centre
Machaire Chlochair, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 10.3 mi • Est. 5 h 7 m
#10 - Donegal Town Bank Trail
Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland
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Length: 2.0 mi • Est. 56 m
A pleasant scenic stroll along the river Eske to Donegal bay, the town's hidden gem. Donegal Town is fortunate to have a 'walk in the country' so near the middle of town in the form of the bank walk. It's the perfect early evening stroll prior to a meal. If you'd like to make it a loop rather than a straight back track, you can carry on right after the second flora and fauna sign and come onto the Killybegs roads. The ex Mayor of Donegal Town, Tom Conaghan, was behind an initiative to upgrade the walk and it is now that little bit safer and has nice touches like bird boxes and signs on the tress to tell you what they are. Please note that the various signs for the trees all seem to be very high up, but they are there when last checked. You may wish to have some fun with your young ones by seeing how many signs and bird boxes they can spot along the way. New secure fencing as of November 2011 ensures that the more precarious precipices are no longer an issue for concerned parents. On the other side of the river bank, you'll see (and hear) the landmark that is the Abbey hotel, the original old pier and quays, scene of the August food festival, the must-do waterbus, the historic old abbey as well as seeing the various isles of the bay - St. Ernan's, Belle's isle and the Green island with Murvagh golf club and the plateau of Ben Bulben in the distance. This is a very special stroll that generations of Donegal folk, both young and old, have savored.Show more
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