Slieve Donard (via Glen River)

(14 reviews)

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.

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Slieve Donard (via Glen River)

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  • Nice walk, taking in river and great views. There are various times and distances in the comments. I followed the guide here and walked from the Donard car park, by the river, to the wall and turned left to go up the final bit.

    My total trip distance from car park to car park was just over 10km with a total time of 3 hours. 1h45m up and 1h15m down. I guess I’m reasonable fit.

    Iain at 9:49 pm
  • Did this walk today with my wife and our Vizsla dog. We have trekked the Salkantay Trek in Peru (Machu Pichu) and Trolltunga in Norway. I actually think the final part of this trek along the Mourne wall to the summit is as hard if not harder than these other treks. The final part is very, very steep and the overall trek is certainly not an easy trek. Take plenty of fluids, food, good boots / shoes. It is worth having a dip in the one of the few plunge pool type bodies that are located in the river, so so refreshing! Would highly recommend the walk but I do stress it is not easy if you are going to go all the way up to the summit.
    Quick reality check – Keiron Phillips who also left a review claiming he climbed up in 1hr 40 and down in 55 minutes is unfortunately not telling the truth. The walk takes even the most accomplished of hikers a minimum of 3hr 30 / 4 hours. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself I suppose but take his review with one heck of a pinch of salt! Enjoy the views!!

    Alex at 10:17 pm
  • 1 3 4 5

    County Down

    Distance 2.9 miles

    OS Map Sheet 29

    Terrain Mainly forest and mountain paths

    Nearest Town Newcastle

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J375305

    Route Type Forest, Mountain

    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.

    Point of Interest

    Views from summit

    Getting to the start

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

    Dog Policy

    Dogs must be kept on leads


    Toilets and parking in Donard Park. Refreshments in Newcastle.

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 5

    • There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
    • Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
    • Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
    • Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.