A picturesque 14-mile route in the Killarney National Park, the Gap of Dunloe is a glacial valley formed 25,000 years ago, creating the dramatic mountain pass that now runs north to south in County Kerry. It separates the MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountains and the Purple Mountains, following the River Loe through the valley. A moderate out-and-back hike, it starts at Kate Kearney Cottage where there is free parking and takes in five lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake and Black Lough. This is a road walk for its entirety, which can be tough on the feet, but it offers impressive views and stunning landscapes as it crosses streams, small bridges and passes ruins as it makes its way to the halfway point at Lord Brandon’s Cottage. Here you can stop for a rest and refreshments in the open-air café.
As this is a road walk many choose to hike it out of season as the roads will become busier during the summer months. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but must be kept on a leash.