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What to expect

Northern Ireland has 595 trails including medium, easy, difficult, and extra difficult trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Strabane Towpath and the one with the least climb is the Slieve Donard Loop via Glen River. The longest trail is Ulster Way at 916 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 41 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Glassdrummond Wood a t 344 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Ballyquintin Farm - Port Kelly Trail, Riverside Park, Cregagh Wood Loop, Lough Navar Forest - Blackslee Waterfall Walk, and Gosford Forest Park - Boundary Trail.

Guide to hiking in Northern Ireland

Be prepared for hiking in Northern Ireland with the HiiKER app

FAQs about hiking in Northern Ireland

What is the climate like for hiking in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland's climate is temperate, with relatively mild winters and cool summers, making it possible to hike all year round. However, weather changes rapidly, with rain being a frequent occurrence, so waterproof gear and layered clothing are advisable. Spring and autumn are generally less crowded and offer delightful scenery, while winter hiking can be challenging due to shorter daylight hours and icy paths.
Summers are cooler than much of mainland UK, with temperatures averaging around 15-20°C (59-68°F), and providing longer daylight hours, ideal for lengthy hikes. Despite this, summer's unpredictability can lead to sudden rain showers, requiring hikers to be prepared for changing conditions.
The best time for hiking in Northern Ireland often falls between April and October, encompassing late spring, summer, and early autumn. This period offers the most stable weather conditions and picturesque views. Hikers can enjoy locations like the Mourne Mountains, the Giant's Causeway, and the Glenariff Forest Park during these months. For more detailed weather information, check the Met Office (

Do I need a permit to hike in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, the majority of hiking trails are open and free to the public without a permit. For specific areas or events, such as organised group hikes, you might need permission from the landowner or the relevant local authority. For assistance, contact Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (

Is wild camping allowed in Northern Ireland?

Wild camping in Northern Ireland is not strictly legal without the landowner's permission. However, it's often tolerated in higher land and mountain areas, provided campers follow "leave no trace" principles. If in doubt, contact Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland ( for advice.

Are there mountain rescue services in Northern Ireland?

In case of emergencies while hiking in Northern Ireland, you should contact the police by dialling 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue. They work with the PSNI to provide rescue services. More information is available at the Mountain Rescue Ireland website

Are there dangerous plants in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland's hiking trails are graced with an array of flora, from wildflowers to ancient woodlands. Notable are the bluebells in spring, the purple heather on the mountains in late summer, and the oak and ash trees in forests. For more information, refer to the Woodland Trust (

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in Northern Ireland?

While hiking in Northern Ireland, you may encounter wildlife such as red deer, foxes, and badgers. The summer months bring out insects like midges, especially near water. Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and consider insect repellent. For more, visit the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (