Essentials / Gear
We recommend that you carry everything you need including waterproof jacket and trousers, a complete change of clothing, first aid kit, map, compass, directions, food and water. The Ulster Way passes through a number of towns and villages so there are opportunities to stock up on supplies if needed. Some sections however are very rural, so planning ahead is essential. There may not always be paths on the route, which means sections can be muddy and go over uneven terrain, so a good pair of walking boots is essential.
Wherever you’re walking, we recommend wearing high visibility clothing to be safe.
When to Visit
The Ulster Way can be explored at any time of year. Some areas will be more challenging in the winter and autumn months. Walkers should also be aware that natural beauty spots such as the Giant’s Causeway’s and the Mournes can be extremely busy in the summer months.
Planning your Trip
For those completing the Ulster Way in its entirety or exploring large sections over multiple days it is a good idea to plan where you will stop each day so you can arrange appropriate transport and accommodation. Check public transport times and have a list of taxi numbers on hand so you can book in advance. A popular option is to drive to the start and get a taxi back to the car. A seasonal rambler service operates in the Mournes and along the Causeway Coast.
There are a large number of B&B, hostels, campsites and hotels close to the trail however, accommodation is limited in some rural sections. You can find accommodation on the Long Distance Walk page.
Mountaineering Ireland have put together a Happy Hiking leaflet with useful advice for planning your walk which includes what to bring with you, getting a weather forecast and who to call in an emergency.
If planning on walking with your dog, please note the changing policies on dogs by clicking on the ‘more info’ link in the pop up box for each section of the trail. Be aware that in many instances there is a policy that dogs must be kept on a lead, particularly near farmland.
Visitor Information Centres
The Visitor Information Centres close to the route have been grouped by council area as shown on the map below to help you work out which centre to contact depending on what part of the trail you want to visit.
- Visit Derry
- Fermanagh Lakelands
- Omagh Sperrins
- Visit Mid Ulster
- Visit Causeway Coast and Glens
- Mid and East Antrim
- Antrim and Newtownabbey
- Visit Belfast
- Lisburn City and Castlereagh
- Ards and North Down
- Newry, Mourne and Down
- Visit Armagh
- Discover Northern Ireland
- Mountaineering Ireland
Leave No Trace
Please remember to practice the 7 principles of ’Leave No Trace’ when enjoying the outdoors to minimise your impact on the environment.
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Be Considerate of Others
- Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
- Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
- Leave What You Find
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Minimise the Effects of Fire
For more information, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org
International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster-Ireland Long Distance Walking Trail
As you explore the Ulster Way in the west, north and north eastern areas of Northern Ireland you will spot some additional signage for the ‘IAT’.
The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster – Ireland, a 279 mile long distance trail, begins in Donegal at the spectacular Slieve League cliffs and passes through the Blue Stack Mountains in Co Donegal then crosses into Northern Ireland. Here it picks up the Ulster Way where it passes the Giant’s Causeway, the stunning northern coastline before traversing the Glens of Antrim.
The Appalachian-Caledonian Mountains were formed more than 250 Million years ago during the Paleozoic Era, when the earth’s plates collided to form the supercontinent Pangea. They straddled the central part of that continent in what is today eastern North America, eastern Greenland, western Europe, and northwest Africa. When Pangea separated to form the Atlantic Ocean, remnants of the Appalachian-Caledonian Mountains ended up in the eastern United States and Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, the British Isles, Brittany, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
In 2013, the Irish section of the IAT launched, known as the IAT Ulster-Ireland, continuing the world famous trail across Ireland where it then progresses onto Scotland and the rest of Europe. In 2020 a major investment on the trail was launched to improve the overall visitor experience by upgrading and rerouting the trail, overhauling trail infrastructure and signage as well as adding trail furniture and trail art. For more information on the IAT Ulster-Ireland please visit www.iatulsterireland.com.