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Lugnaquilla via Great Gully (Mc Alpines Back Passage)

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Wicklow Mountains National Park

Lugnaquilla via Great Gully (Mc Alpines Back Passage) is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Wicklow, County Wicklow, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.

Distance: 9.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,801 feet Route Type: Loop


nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers


This route leaves from the bridge over the river Ow at Aughavannagh and summits the lug via Great Gully on the South Prison. The walk begins in the village of Aughavannagh. Park your car in front of the forestry entrance at the bridge over the river Ow. Follow the forestry path for about 5-6k until you come to the end of the trail, and an opening. At this point you can see Lugnaquilla and the South Prison to the north. Fiord the river Ow here and follow the course of the river north into the South Prison Corrie. Towards the back of the corrie to the left of the river you will see a boulder field. The start of Great Gully (Also known as Mc Alpine's Back Passage) if on the left before and above the boulder field. At the start of the gully stay to the right of a large rock. After this it's an easy climb to a large black mossy rock blocking your path. The rock has a small waterfall running over it, but can be safely crossed with care. Note you might get a little wet at this point! The gully veers slightly to the left at this point. It's easy climbing to the top from here. Once at the top be sure to turn around and take in the amazing views. Continue on to the top of lug, only about 50-100m from the top of the gully. Leaving the summit take a bearing towards Cloghernagh. Handrail the top of the South prison on your right, until you find a path descending steeply. Note this is quite steep. The trail leads straight back into the corrie and eventually to the base of Great Gully. Follow the river south this time and back to the forestry path and then on to the car park.

Tue Jun 05 2018

I believe this is far from a moderate climb. The description is accurate to a point but the last climb to the summit is hard to follow and very steep. The path appears to be non existent. Likewise the initial decent down from the summit to the waterfall crossing is without a path and a steep decline through frog invested marshland. If you fancy a little bit of structure together with some “off the beaten track”, this will suit you. I wouldn’t recommend though. There are a lot more scenic and pleasant routes to follow to get on top of Lug.

Fri May 26 2017

Very nice place and a little bit challenging to pick the right way, but definitely worth the visit!

Tue Jul 03 2018