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Quality Walk

Slieve Donard (via Glen River)

Slieve Donard at 850m (2,789 ft) is the highest of the Mourne Mtns. The views from the summit are extensive and on a clear day the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland may be seen, as well as the long stretch of Newcastle Beach.




2.9 (one way) miles

OS Map

Sheet 29

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Forest, Mountain


Mainly forest and mountain paths

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Views from summit

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

Leave the car park in Donard Park heading towards the mountain and follow the Glen River uphill through old woodland of Scots Pine, Oak and Birch. At the first of 3 bridges, cross to the opposite bank.

Continue uphill through the forest, above a deep cut riverbed, for about 400m until another bridge is reached. The riverbank overhangs along this section so extra care is needed.

At this point cross back to the left hand side and resume journey uphill through the trees.

At the next bridge continue across the forest road and onto the rough track heading up towards the mountains, with thick forest on right (fenced), until a gate and stile is reached.

Cross the stile and follow the track above the river for about 2kms, heading towards the saddle between Donard and Commedagh.

At this point, the path crosses the river and continues uphill to the 'Saddle' where it meets the Mourne Wall.

At the Mourne Wall turn left and follow the wall steeply uphill towards the summit.

From the summit return by the same route, staying close to the wall until the Saddle is reached again. The cliffs on the north side of Donard known as Eagle Rocks should be avoided by walkers since the approaches are steep.

Return to Donard Park following the line of the Glen River.

Getting to the Start

Follow the one way system to the south end of Newcastle main street. Donard Car Park has ample parking.

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled toilets
Disabled parking


Toilets and parking in Donard Park. Refreshments in Newcastle.



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

Brenda C 9 February, 2015 @ 23:07

Couldn't have asked for a better day to go up Donard on Sunday 8 February. Lovely blue skies overhead and hardly any wind. There was an icy bit on the stones halfway up, but nothing we couldn't handle. Some fantastic views when we reached the top. I couldn't believe how many people were there - clearly it's a lot busier than the Scottish hills I'm used to!

M 4 30 January, 2015 @ 21:45

This thing kicked my butt today. Was here on business and had good hiking boots but no gloves, hat or poles. The walk up to the saddle was easy but with the snow and wind the saddle took on an extra challenge but well worth the view. I wanted to make it all the way so even though others were turning back or telling me it was very icey, I continued. Made it the whole way but it wasn't very wise. White out, windy and by myself. Could have turned out bad. Beautiful mountain though. Weather made it worse than it should have been.

David 8 January, 2015 @ 14:11

Climbed up Donard yesterday from the Bloody Bridge, extremely tough weather with the heavy wind and rain but made for a good challenge, it was a good reminder that being well prepared and taking proper equipment is essential when climbing on days like that. Great climb!

Ian Montgomery 30 December, 2014 @ 19:05

Lovely climb up Donard today from Bloody Bridge. Quite a few people out enjoying the crisp winter sunshine. Snow from the Mourne wall to the summit but that only added to the beautiful scenery. Quite surprised to see how poorly some people were equipped, trainers or even wellingtons!

Pierce 5 March, 2014 @ 21:18

climbed form Tullymore side up the Donard and onto Newcastle ,,enjoy every moment and great views and trail walks were good to walk on , fetl safe all the way thys

David Mack 26 December, 2013 @ 17:21

Climbed Donard today - snowy, icy, bright golden light. A beautiful festive sight for Boxing day.

Fell-ran it as much as possible, challenged by the ice, snow and gravity. 50 mins up, 55 mins down (some bouldering as the path was too icy)

Fiona 14 October, 2013 @ 10:16

Just did the walk yesterday. Really beautiful and varied - river and forest walk, open plain stroll, steep rocks and clambering summit.

Warm at the bottom but needed gloves and scarf at the top.

Took a total of 4 hours (going at a decent speed) from Donard Park to the top and back. The last hour to the summit is quite tough going but we all made it.

Right now on to Croagh Patrick...

Jim & Anne 27 April, 2013 @ 20:09

Climbed Donard today this is our 3rd or 4th time over the years lovely sunny day with lots of wonderful views. Their were lots of young people walking today lovely to see and all very friendly.

This is our 1st of the 5 highest peaks in UK & Ireland we are going to clomb this year. Not bad for two pensioners!!

fiona campbell 13 January, 2013 @ 19:18

lovey walk. i did it with a group of friends in november, busy walk though which is nice as lots of encouragement ner the steep summit.

maura 22 September, 2011 @ 13:38

I have climbed Slieve Donard a number of times but none have given me as much pleasure as the beautiful sunny day in April 2011. My three-year old granddaughter Teagan, and her sister Ciara, aged nine led the way. Myself and my son had only planned to take the girls to the second bridge to collect more tadpoles. It was three year old Teagan who decided we were going to the top of Donard. Aaron her brother had conquered it along with his cousins when he was nine. I'm very proud of all the kids that have accompanied me to the top. Please forgive my boasting but I'm so proud of Teagan for completing such a climb aged only three. Hopefully it will inspire others.

Sam Young 26 September, 2010 @ 15:34

An excellent walk, got quite busy coming back down (it was a good Sunday morning).

Julie Fieldman 20 June, 2010 @ 15:08

Have walked this once before but went up and over the top to Bloody Bridge and back to Newcastle along the road which all took a VERY long time! Views are immense and worth the climb!! Can anyone give me a rough estimate on how long it should take to get to the top as I want to do it again but would like to set myself a target? Thank you.

helen o neill 25 April, 2010 @ 23:14

reall enjoyed slieve donard walk,lucky we had a guide with us on our group,i just thought there should have been some colour coded sinage along the way

David McLoughlin 3 June, 2009 @ 12:50

Did this very nice walk on Sunday. Beautiful weather and great scenery. However it's a real pity that there is so much rubbish along the route. Surely something could be done to encourage the walkers to take their rubbish home - a few signs advising walkers of this would be very useful.

Connor Hodges 23 January, 2009 @ 13:04

Yes you can bring dogs but there are a lot of sheep around so if your dog likes chasing sheep you maybe should think again.

John Torrans 20 October, 2008 @ 23:07

can you bring dogs with you on this route.

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