Note: This is a work in progress. Any hints, tips, or corrections please let me know in the comments. You might find it easiest to follow along by having a glance at our map of the Wicklow Way.
I hiked the Wicklow Way in May 2017 from South to North, and I have since section hike pretty much the whole trail again several times. The is not particularly difficult trail and could be attempted by most newcomers to long-distance hiking. I am planning on hiking it again in the next few weeks so this is as much for me as it is for anyone else.
The Wicklow Way: Ireland’s First Long Trail
It is 128km long (as I measured it). The Wicklow Way is Irelands first ever long-distance hiking trail and it’s probably the most popular. It starts close to Dublin city centre if you are walking from North to South (see here for why I think you should walk the other way).
It goes without saying that it can be hiked in much less time than mentioned above, but the stages we list are just natural transitions in the trail. When I walked it I did it, relatively comfortably while perhaps a bit rushed, in 4.5 days.
Table of Contents
- Wicklow Way – Packing List
- Wicklow Way – What is the trail like?
- Wicklow Way – What direction should I hike?
- Wicklow Way – Accommodation on the trail
- Wicklow Way – Hints and tips
- Hiking the Wicklow Way during a pandemic
- Wicklow Way – Itineraries
- Wicklow Way – App
The Wicklow Way is Irelands first official long-distance hiking trail and is one of over 30 long-distance trails we have in Ireland. The trail is perfect for someone looking to try out their first long-distance hiking trail, or for someone visiting Ireland and wants to get a taste for what the country can offer. Setting out from Dublin, the trail isn’t particularly difficult (there are roughly 3500 meters of elevation gain) but it can have some tougher days like when you are walking over the shoulder of Djouce.
There is generally really good accommodation along the trail, with good options for hostels along the trail as far down south as Glendalough. After that, the options are mainly B&Bs. For those looking to camp, there is plenty of good places to choose from along the full length of the trail. In most of the forests that you pass through you can find good dry spots, and you will likely find other campers there too. If you are staying on private land though it’s important to ask for permission, if you are nice they will often be absolutely fine with it. There are also 3 Adirondack style shelters (called Mountain Meitheals). You can see all of the accommodation along the trail on our trail map for the Wicklow Way.
About 35-40% of the trail is on quiet back roads with the rest on pleasant forest hikes or walking over hills or mountains for the rest. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots are required as a few limited sections can be mucky or you might need to walk through a few small streams here and there. Waterproof gear, in general, is required as with any hike in Ireland at any time of the year, you can get four seasons in one day. In exposed places, even at the height of summer, it can feel a bit chilly. You can check out the climate information for the Wicklow Way on the trail overview page by clicking on the climate buttons.
The Wicklow Way can be walked in as little as 4 days are if you want to take it all in you can do it over 8 days. Keep in mind, most people will be able to do it in much less time than 8 days but this will give you lots of time to explore our amazing alternative routes. You can see all of this on our Map for the Wicklow Way, you can also view the trail broken down by the stage.
Itineraries – 8 Day
Day 1: Wicklow Way to Knockree Hostel
Day 2: Knockree Hostel to Roundwood
Day 3: Roundwood to Glendalough
Day 4: Glendalough to Glenmalure
Day 5: Glenmalure to Aughavanna
Day 6: Aughavanna to The Dying Cow
Day 7: The Dying Cow to Stookeen
Day 8 Stookeen to Clonegal
Itineraries – 5 Day
Day 1: Wicklow Way to Knockree Hostel
Day 2: Knockree Hostel to Glendalough
Day 3: Glendalough to Aughavanna
Day 4: Aughavanna to The Dying Cow
Day 5: The Dying Cow to Clonegal
If you prefer to do a shorter distance then you can check out our shorter version of the trail Wicklow Way – 4 Day Dublin to Glenmalure.