The Ulster Way is a long distance walk made up of a series of trails throughout Northern Ireland which total 636 miles (1,024km). It encircles the province and takes in all six counties as well as a small portion of trail in Donegal.
To help you find the information you need, depending on how much of the Ulster Way you want to walk, this website has been split into the following two areas:
- Highlights of the Ulster Way – for those wanting information on a range of shorter circular or linear walks either on or close to the Ulster Way.
- Walk the Long Distance Trail – for those wanting to walk longer distances of the Ulster Way over a full day, multiple days or weeks.
The brainchild of Wilfrid Capper MBE, who in 1946 had the inspiration to create a circular walking route taking in the six counties of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Way passes through some of the best landscapes Northern Ireland has to offer.
Originally planned to be a walking link between the ring of Youth Hostels which used to encircle Northern Ireland, after a few revisions over the years the route now consists of a 636 mile circular walk.
In April 2003, Environment Minister Angela Smith MP announced a project to improve and maintain the Ulster Way. A new route was agreed in early 2009. The new route was officially opened on 16 September 2009 by the Department of Environment.
A series of renovations along the route have since taken place throughout 2020 and 2021.
The Ulster Way is maintained by all 11 councils across Northern Ireland, each looking after their own sections of the long-distance trail. This includes trail maintenance, ensuring the route is well signposted and dealing with any complaints which may arise on the route.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is dedicated to protecting and enhancing Northern Ireland’s environment, and in doing so, deliver health and well-being benefits and support economic growth. They have been a longstanding supporter of the Ulster Way.
Signage for the Ulster Way is the same in each county and features its distinctive blue and yellow markings. Examples of this can be seen below:
You may also find signage alongside the Ulster Way for the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster – Ireland. You can find more information on this long distance trail on our Useful Information page.
Although the trails are waymarked, it is important to always be prepared and bring a map and compass when walking the route. You can order OS maps from: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/osni-online-map-shop
The Ulster Way takes in a wide range of terrains including steep cliff paths, forest tracks, open mountain and glens and quiet country roads. Those looking to explore the trail with limited mobility should check the accessible grades (see an overview of the grades below) by clicking on the ‘more info’ links in the trail section pop up boxes on the Long Distance Trail Map (for longer walks) or on the Short Walks Map (for shorter walks) are suitable before visiting. Please note the full route is challenging and we recommend that only those with a good level of fitness and who have confidence and experience in outdoor environments where the weather can change dramatically should take on the full route.