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Suggested Itineraries

The Ulster Ireland chapter of the IAT is ideal for a range of walkers from those looking to complete a long distance trail in one go as a through walk to those only wanting to explore sections of the route over a week, multiple days or just one day.

To help you plan your time exploring the trail we have pulled together some of our top suggested itineraries depending on how long you want to walk for.

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1 Day Walks

If you’ve only got one day to spend exploring the IAT Ulster-Ireland check out our list below of some suggested full day walks to explore:

Donegal –

Sliabh Liag and Pilgrims Path Loop

Combining the spectacular cliff top path from Bunglass with the ancient pilgrimage to the ruins of McBric’s church and well. This hike blends breathtaking views, sheer open cliffs with wild untamed nature and ancient history. Due to the terrain and open cliffs this is classed as a strenuous walk.

Distance: 6.8 miles (10.9km)

Glencolmcille Drum Loop

A circular walk often combined with the Tower Loop, the Drum Loop  which begins at Glencolmcille Fire Station follows red waymarkers along minor lanes and hill tracks with a couple of peaty and squelchy bits across the hilltop for a couple of hundred yards. The walk offers good views over Glencolmcille and a chance to see ancient carved crosses in and around the village. Two Megalithic tombs are accessible via a couple of gates off the lane at grid reference G 535855.

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Glenties to Ardara River Walk

A linear walk which follows pleasant riverside trails along the Owenea river between Glenties and Ardara. he route to the town of Ardara. The terrain of the route consists generally of bog roads, open and often wet moorland, and mainly quiet tarmac public roads. An art sculpture has been installed beside the river on the Glenties side where you can sit and enjoy the view.

Distance: 7.4 miles (13km)

Disert Loop

A circular walk that can be accessed from the scenic Bluestack Drive. Located directly beneath Carnaween Mountain, Disert is the site of an ancient Graveyard and Holy well dating to times of St. Colmcille. There is a link into the graveyard site where there is a Mass Rock, Well and Standing Stones (Dolmen) as well as other artefacts associated with Religion and Folklore. The walk is suitable for walkers of all levels of ability and there are many vantagepoints offering magnificent views of the surrounding Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bay. Flowing through the site is the Eany Beg Water and a small tributary of this river that has cut a gorge into the hillside making a fine waterfall. This short walk provides plenty to see in this dramatic landscape, which still remains relatively unspoilt.

Distance: 2 miles (3.2km)

Lough Eske Loop Ard na Mona Reserve

Follow this truly enchanting trail through mature oak woods carpeted by spongy mosses, that leads past a secret bay on Lough Eske’s shore. The walk can be extended to a full day by exploring the Lough Eske Loop trail, a half day walk along country roads starting and finishing at Harvey’s Point Hotel. The trail will lead you pas Clady River, Ardnamona West Gatehouse, Ellen’s Falls,
Ardnamona North Gatehouse, Tawnawilly Scenic Viewpoint, Lough Eske Bridge, Major General White’s Grave and Lough Eske Castle.

Distance: 1.7 miles (2.7km) extend to 8.7 miles (16km)

Fermanagh and Omagh – 

Bessy Bell Summit Trail

Bessy Bell (Sliabh Troim) ‘mountain of the elder tree’ at 420m high (1378ft) is a popular walk for locals and visitors to the area in search of spectacular countryside views from the summit of Donald Gorm’s Cairn. From here views stretch as far as the High Sperrins and the hills of Donegal. On this walk you will pass many interesting features including a Holy Well and windfarms. This is a moderate 7-mile return walk which will take you approximately 3 hours to complete. You can extend the walk by walking on over the summit towards Baronscourt Estate.

Distance: 7 miles (11km) | More Information including Route Description

Gortin Glen Glen Forest Park – Mullaghcarn Summit Trail

Gortin Glen Forest Park offers walkers a wide range of walks to explore suitable for a wide range of walkers. The route of the IAT Ulster-Ireland cuts down through the forest park following the Pollan Trail. There are a number of trails you can explore within the forest park including following the trail to the summit of Mullaghcarn.

More Information including Route Description

Mid Ulster – 

Moydamlaght Forest – Eagles Rock Trail

A circular route following a gravel forest trail through conifer and native woodland, peaking beside the impressive rock face of Craig-na-shoke. You can extend this walk by exploring other trails through the forest.

Distance: 2.5 miles (4km) | More Information including Route Description

Moneyneany to Dungiven

Offering some fantastic views, this walk-through forest and across open hillside boasts great views of the Roe Valley and the historic town of Dungiven.

Distance: 13 miles (21km) | More Information including Route Description

Derry City and Strabane – 

Craignamaddy Circuit

The Craignamaddy Circuit takes walks through a particularly scenic part of the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route offers stunning views of Glenelly and the Owenkillew Valley. With heather clad hills, tranquil valleys and a rich cultural heritage the Sperrin Mountains await your discovery.

Distance: 12.8 miles (20.5km) | More Information including Route Description 

Binevenagh

Enjoy a walk along forest track to the summit of Binevenagh. From the summit panoramic views are a worthwhile reward for the steep climb boasting views over Lough Foyle, the Roe Valley, Inishowen and the west coast of Scotland. We recommend that you extend this walk by following the Gortmore to Hell’s Hole trail that is a lovely walk along the cliff top overlooking Benone Beach, Lough Foyle and the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal. You will also have the opportunity to see the sculpture of Manannán mac Lir, (Celtic: “Manannán, Son of the Sea”).

Distance: 3 miles (4.8km) | More Information including Route Description – Binevenagh

Distance: 2.2 miles (3.5km) | More Information including Route Description – Gortmore to Hell’s Hole

Causeway Coast and Glens –

Portballintrae to Dunseverick

Enjoy a spectacular coastal walk from the holiday village of Portballintrae past the famous Giant’s Causeway to the ruins of Dunseverick Castle.

Distance: 7 miles (11.5km) | More Information including Route Description (see Section 3 and 4 under Route Description)

2 Day Walks

Gortin Glen Forest Park to Moneyneany

The Sperrin Mountains form the largest area of upland in Northern Ireland. This 23-mile section journeys through the heart of the range, mainly following quiet roads and tracks. The highlight is the middle portion through the exceptionally scenic Glenelly Valley. From the head of the valley, walkers who wish to shorten the final road section to Moneyneany can use the public bus service along the B47.

Distance: 23 miles (37km) | More Information including Route Description

Moyle Way

Taking the walker through a magnificent land of geology, wildlife, history and folklore, this route passes a wealth of rivers, ancient monuments and exposed hill summits before reaching its end in the beautiful Glenariff Forest Park.

Distance: 27 miles (43km) | More Information including Route Description

3 Day Walks

Glenties to Killeter

This section travels through County Donegal from the town of Glenties, passing Lough Eske and crossing the Northern Ireland Border into County Tyrone before ending in the village of Killeter.

Distance: 34 miles (55km) | More Information including Route Description

Killeter to Gortin

The trail picks up the Ulster Way on this section, a 636 mile circular walking route of Ulster. You will follow quiet country roads, walk across open mountain side with views of the Sperrin Mountains, before reaching Gortin Glens Forest Park.

Distance: 36 miles (58km) | More Information including Route Description

Dungiven to Castlerock

From the main spine of the Sperrin Mountains a broad ridge of rolling upland stretches north all the way to the north coast. The North Sperrins Way makes up the majority of this route following the crest of this ridge from the historic town of Dungiven all the way to Swann’s Bridge near Binevenagh. It then continues further to Castlerock on the north coast. Along the way the route enjoys fine views and a variety of walking, from open mountainside to forest trails and quiet roads.

Distance: 37.5 miles (60km) | More Information including Route Description

Causeway Coast Way

This route section, from Portstewart to Ballycastle, passes through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site and several Areas of Special Scientific Interest. It includes views of wide bays, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and off-shore rocks.

Distance: 33 miles (52km) | More Information including Route Description

Week Long Walks

Bunglas to Killeter

This itinerary takes in the first stretch of the IAT Ulster-Ireland in County Donegal, following the Atlantic Coast from Bunglas, past Slieve League, Glencolmcille, Ardara before reaching Glenties. From Glenties, the trail continues to travel through County Donegal passing Lough Eske and crossing the Northern Ireland Border into County Tyrone before ending in the village of Killeter.

Distance – 76 miles (122km) | More Information including Route Description – Bunglas to Glenties and Glenties to Killeter

Walking the Full Route

The official start point of the IAT Ulster-Ireland is Bunglas in County Donegal with the route travelling east into Co. Tyrone, Co. Derry~Londonderry and Co. Antrim where the trail finishes at Larne on the east coast of Northern Ireland. We recommend following this route from West to East. From the point of Larne you will see a sign at the end of the route to progress onto the next Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail in Scotland just a short boat ride from Larne.

Bunglas to Glenties

This section is the first stretch of the IAT Ulster-Ireland, following the Atlantic Coast from Bunglas, past Sliabh Liag, Glencolmcille, Ardara and ending at Glenties.

Distance – 42 miles (67.5km) | More Information including Route Description

Glenties to Killeter

This section travels through County Donegal from the town of Glenties, passing Lough Eske and crossing the Northern Ireland Border into County Tyrone before ending in the village of Killeter.

Distance: 34 miles (55km) | More Information including Route Description

Killeter to Gortin

The trail picks up the Ulster Way on this section, a 636 mile circular walking route of Ulster. You will follow quiet country roads, walk across open mountain side with views of the Sperrin Mountains, before reaching Gortin Glens Forest Park.

Distance: 36 miles (58km) | More Information including Route Description

Gortin to Moneyneany

The Sperrin Mountains form the largest area of upland in Northern Ireland. This 23-mile section journeys through the heart of the range, mainly following quiet roads and tracks. The highlight is the middle portion through the exceptionally scenic Glenelly Valley. From the head of the valley, walkers who wish to shorten the final road section to Moneyneany can use the public bus service along the B47.

Distance: 23 miles (37km) | More Information including Route Description

Moneyneany to Dungiven

This section travels through forest and across open hillside and offers some fantastic views. Great views of the Roe Valley and the historic town of Dungiven can be enjoyed.

Distance: 13 miles (21km) | More Information including Route Description

Dungiven to Castlerock

From the main spine of the Sperrin Mountains a broad ridge of rolling upland stretches north all the way to the north coast. The North Sperrins Way makes up the majority of this route following the crest of this ridge from the historic town of Dungiven all the way to Swann’s Bridge near Binevenagh. It then continues further to Castlerock on the north coast. Along the way the route enjoys fine views and a variety of walking, from open mountainside to forest trails and quiet roads.

Distance: 37.5 miles (60km) | More Information including Route Description

Castlerock to Portstewart

This section is not waymarked and mainly on public roads some of which can be very busy. Walkers are actively encouraged to make use of public transport along this section so they can make best use of their time on the more attractive waymarked sections.

This section is on mainly quiet rural roads between Castlerock and Coleraine. However the section from Coleraine to Portstewart follows the busy A2 road.

Distance: 10 miles (16km) | More Information including Route Description

Causeway Coast Way

This route section, from Portstewart to Ballycastle, passes through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site and several Areas of Special Scientific Interest. It includes views of wide bays, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and off-shore rocks.

Distance: 33 miles (52km) | More Information including Route Description

Moyle Way

Taking the walker through a magnificent land of geology, wildlife, history and folklore, this route passes a wealth of rivers, ancient monuments and exposed hill summits.

Distance: 27 miles (43km) | More Information including Route Description

Waterfoot to Glenarm

This section is not waymarked and mainly on public roads some of which can be very busy. Walkers are actively encouraged to make use of public transport along this section so they can make best use of their time on the more attractive waymarked sections.

Distance: 12 miles (19km) | More Information including Route Description

Glenarm to Larne

Crossing some the most scenic upland areas in the Antrim Glens, this route offers fantastic views that encompass much of Northern Ireland, as well as extending across the sea to Scotland.

Distance: 14 miles (22.5km) | More Information including Route Description