Knocknacloghoge (Lough Dan)

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Duration: About 3 hours
A fairly easy walk in great scenery between Lough Tay and Lough Dan. Shame the name of the hill is such a mouthful ! The area around Lough Dan really is one of my favourites – since there are no roads the area is completely car free and has a great feeling of quietness. Knocknacloghoge itself also seems to be a little off the beaten path so its much quieter than other hills around Lough Tay.

Lough Dan from summit
Meandering river …


  • The start of the walk is at the Pier Gates, entrance to Luggala Lodge. Car parking is easiest further along the road (towards Roundwood) where there is a layby on the right. Next to the Pier Gates themselves is a pedestrian kissing gate that leads onto a tarmac road leading downhill.
    Pier Gates, pedestrian gate is to the left.

  • Follow the tarmac road downhill, then turn left at the white cottage (the estate gatehouse) – there is even an old sign on the cottage pointing towards Lough Dan …
  • Follow the road past a farm and you will cross two bridges. The road ends after the second bridge and there is a gate on the right that leads up to Knocknacloghoge itself. Cross the gate and follow the path up hill to a second gate. Keep going through this gate. IMG_2817
    Second bridge. Gate leading to hill is across the bridge and to the left
  • On the right a little way on (running across the hill following the line of the bracken) is an old drove road, now a grassy path. Follow the road as it heads up around the side of the hill.
    Drove road
  • The summit of the hill will come into sight on the left. The road itself continues around the hill without going to the top, so follow the path on the left that heads up hill from the drove road. Take this path towards the summit. This path eventually peters out, but the hillside is criss-crossed with small paths and any of these can now be taken to reach the top.
    Summit cairn
  • To descend, begin by following the path that leads south from the summit. Bear to the left and keep heading towards the head of Lough Dan (there are cliffs to the right). There are two options for descending. If its late summer and the bracken is thriving (it can be 4 or 5 feet high), then follow the line of the bracken left back towards to the drove road and retrace your steps back to the start of the walk. If the bracken is passable, then a nice alternative is to descend towards the cottage at the head of Lough Dan and return left along the old road.
    Cottage at head of Lough Dan
  • For a much longer walk, its also possible to descend to the south-west towards the Inchavore River and either walk back to Lough Dan along the river, or cross the river at the Copse and climb Kanturk and Scarr. I wouldn’t recommend either of these options though – the descent from the hill is over boggy, lumpy ground, and the path back along the river is similarly unpleasant (with the addition of deep bracken to add to the “fun”). If its been raining the river will also almost certainly be impossible to cross without getting wet.

60 Responses to “Knocknacloghoge (Lough Dan)”

  1. Ciaran Brady Says:

    I did this walk with my family last week-end. When we got to the end of the road (having crossed the two bridges) there was no gate go through to ascend Knocknacloughoge. There was a 4 foot barbed wire fence. We went over the style towards Lough Dan instead – the fence continued all the way to Lough Dan. Should we have crossed the fence at the road end?

  2. admin Says:

    You can see the gate in the middle left of this picture, on the path at the other side of the bridge:

    That picture was taken in August 09. I’ll try to go and have a look this weekend, but it would be a real shame if the farmer has now put up a fence to block access.

  3. Ciaran Brady Says:

    I’m afraid the gate is gone! There is no way up the mountain unless you cross the fence. There is a gate to the left of the style but this is the main path to Lough Dan.
    All the best,

  4. admin Says:

    Ok, I checked this walk this morning and the gate is still there and has no barbed wire – the gate is not even locked so there’s no need to climb over. Here’s a photo I took to confirm:

    Click on the photo to see a larger version
    This photo was taken standing on the second bridge. The gate to the left leads to private land, the middle gate is to the Lough Dan road (where I gather you walked – access is via a stile to immediately to the right of the gate and clearly marked “Lough Dan”), and the right-hand gate leads up to Knocknacloghoge. Here’s another image taken looking back from the path heading up the hill:

    Click on the photo to see a larger version
    No barbed wire and there is direct access over/through the gate, so I guess there is some misunderstanding. The route directions seem ok (just follow the road, and there are no turnoffs that might be taken by mistake) and I gather you did find your way successfully to the gate, so I assume its at that point where the mixup happened. If so, maybe these photos will help with finding the right gate to use. I’d certainly encourage you to have another bash at the walk as its a very nice one.

    Despite the somewhat dank and misty weather today, I seemed lucky and got a clear pocket at Knocknacloghoge. The bracken has died back so its a good time of year to do the longer circuit including Lough Dan. This also reveals an old village or summer camp above Lough Dan that’s usually hidden under the bracken:

    Click on the photo to see a larger version

    Click on the photo to see a larger version

    Also lots of deer around !

    Click on the photo to see a larger version

  5. Ciaran Brady Says:

    My apologies. Now I really do not know where we went wrong. I will definitely do the route again. Thank you for your diligence.

  6. Kathy Says:

    Is it OK to bring a dog on this route if kept on a lead at all times?

  7. admin Says:

    I’d say so – there are plenty of deer around, but no sheep. I also seem to remember that the sign at the entrance to the estate says dogs on a lead are ok, and it would be easy to double check this before you start the walk.

  8. Diarmuid Says:

    Knocknacloghoge, Not such a mouthful really if given it”s proper Gaelic spelling – three words really – Cnoc na Clochóige, ‘hill with a stoney area’.
    Hope this helps.

  9. jason Says:

    hi dogs on leads are not allowed on this route , i had mine on a lead and was asked to leave

  10. Sean Og Says:

    Love the site. Can not wait to do this walk this weekend.

  11. Philip O' Callaghan Says:

    Thanks for posting the details of this walk. My nephew and I really enjoyed it a few weeks ago in a stunning purple haze.

  12. Una Says:

    Had a great walk to Lough Dan. We enjoyed a nice skinny dip at the lake before heading back!

  13. Claudia Says:

    Way to go Una! Lough Dan is a great lake for skinny dipping! The more the merrier!!

  14. StevenJools Says:

    did this yesterday and its a good one. Think we came off drovers road too early. There’s a rock outcrop that looked like it was the path to the left: couldnt actually see the summit, but did not want to miss it so took this and wandered looking for (and eventually found) the summit quite a way on. Path down was a case of using sense of direction. Turned downhill once on the obvious path after getting down from summit. found meandering path through the ferns (at this stage only knee high). at some parts this went through gorse or boggy heather, but just keeping in line with Lough Dan got us to the cottage at the foot. Its steep (as is the up!) there is the option of crossing the river there by stepping stones and coming back by the road to private house on the other side of the river. This is a gradual incline and gets back to the main road just a little higher than the gate down at the beginning of the walk.

  15. marian klaassen Says:

    het was een super mooie wandeling met super mooi weer. ik heb hem 12 jaar geleden ook al eens gedaan en toen vanaf het meer dezelfde weg weer terug. nu echter het beekje onderaan over de stenen overgestoken en via de andere kant de weg omhoog terug. dit was ook super mooi. je kunt dan op een gegeven moment loch dan en het andere meer samen zien liggen. prachtig mooi!!!!!

  16. Barry Says:

    We attempted this today. Weather was pretty bad. Think we also came off too early on drove road. Is the Path that leads up to the summit very visible? Should you clearly see the cairn/summit while on drove path before you head off?
    We did not make it to Summit weather was terrible .

  17. Carl Dineen Says:

    I did this walk about 5 weeks ago,It was brilliant! The road back up later was tough but in saying that a very very enjoyable walk. No problems getting into the field the gate is still there. Weather turned later on but thats wicklow eh!?
    Great site.

    Cheers, Carl

  18. Lough Dan Valley | Doire Coille Farmhouse Says:

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  19. John Ward Says:

    Lovely hike, except we never really made it up because we thought the second bridge you discussed was the second wooden bridge, and we ended up going straight to the Lough. The first bridge you talk about is an extremely inconspicuous stone bridge with a tiny stream running underneath, and also a driveway to the farm – hence to us, it wasn’t a bridge. We thought the two big wooden bridges were the bridges you we’re talking about.

    Would there be any chance that you could change your description to reflect the fact that the first bridge is right beside the farm entrance and is stone and the second bridge is the first of the wooden bridges.

  20. Wendy Says:

    Hi there, does anybody know how to get to Lough Dan beach other than this route? I understand that dogs aren’t allowed and I would love to bring them there. On lead (or preferably off!). I’ve seen signs on the entrance gate (I think to the Guinness Estate) saying no dogs or bitches! Somebody was obviously trying to flout the rules!


  21. admin Says:

    Wendy, you can get access from the other side of Lough Dan – take a look at this walk

  22. Inspirations from Nature | Handmade by Amor, Ireland Says:

    […] weekend some friends and I took a drive into  the Wicklow mountains for a hike to Lough Dan. Above is a photo of nearby Lough Tae, or Tay, also know as the Guinness lake because of its […]

  23. Anthony G Says:

    We did this walk at the start of the summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. The directions are great though we found it difficult to figure out where to come off the drovers’ road but once you’re on the drovers’ road, it’s not hard to get up to the summit. It was very windy at the top so we couldn’t stay too long enjoying the amazing views.

    It was tricky to find our way down to the cottage next to Lough Dan as there’s a lot of furze bushes toward the bottom of the south face of Knocknaclohoge. We managed to successfully pick a way through the bushes but those of us wearing shorts got scratched by the furze. I think we were lucky to be doing it in the early summer as the ferns were only just starting to grow and hadn’t reached their full height.

    Thanks for the great directions.

  24. Peter Says:

  25. Michael Says:

    A really nice walk, thanks for the details. Surprised this walk isn’t more popular, there are some fantastic views, easily reached.

    As Steven Jools says, it’s easy to turn off the drover’s path too early (would like to revisit to see where you should turn off!) and you need to use sense of direction in the descent, which has some very steep parts, and could get tricky in low cloud. An alternative return would be to come back down the way you went up, but continue down past the drover’s path to follow the tributary to the Cloghoge river, which looked pretty with lots of little cascades. The steep descent is worth it though to get a view of the beautiful Cloghoge valley from high.

  26. Jay Carpo Says:

    Just back from this walk, on a day like today you wont beat it for scenery. we ended up going to the cottage on the lake first and then up ,from the summit we took the down the drove road.

    A NOTE, at the second bridge there are three gates, the one you want is the first one on the right, looking up the hill.

    Really enjoyed it. Thanks

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Hi could you please give me the co-ordinates or adress for the sat nav to reach this place?

  28. Simon Says:

    As I dont have a car. and I love to have a walk around this area. how i can get there from Dublin. Tnx

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Walked this route yesterday. The weather was fantastic and the walk from the Pier Gates down was lovely and tranquil. We got to the summit and had fantastic views. We decided to descend to the south-west towards the Inchavore River. The path down from the summit was fine but the closer you get to the river the path stops and we were met with a steep decent covered with fern. We eventually made it to the river after a slow walk down as there was a lot of fern and big drops. The walk along the left side of the river to Lough Dan was not great and the majority of it was very boggy and not passable. We eventually made it to Lough Dan. The path from here along the lake to the cottage at the head of Lough Dan was fine and passable. I would recommend stopping here and having lunch as the area is lovely and tranquil and a great place to relax after a long walk. We then took the old road back up to the Pier Gates.

  30. Julie Says:

    Does anyone know the history of the lovely cottage and who owns it?

  31. MaC Says:

    Walked a slight variation on this route yesterday as we had experienced similar issues to many above in not knowing when to rurn off the old drover road in the past. It adds about 15 – 30 minutes to the walk and involves a steep climb, but is somewhat easier in terms of knowing where you are heading.

    After the FIRST wooden bridge turn right and over a stile. Keep walking uphill to the right of the Cloghoge Brook. After about 50 metres of climb the path widens into another old drover path on the south flank of Luggala – heading West all of the time. At an elevation of about 350 metres the summit of Knocklacloghoge becomes visible to the south. Tak a compass bearing (about 200 S) and simply follow it.

    This means a slight drop from the path of about 20 metres, crossing Cloghoge Brook, and a very steep climb up onto the drover path on Knocknacloghoge – during which time the summit is not visible). Eventually it flattens out and some well-trodden paths to the summit are easy to find.

    Would agree with Anonymous about descending. We headed SW from teh summit had an arduous walk down through ferns and drops. Despite all the noise we made we came across a 5 deer in the midst of it who looked as surprised to see us and us them! The going is very tough here after a ‘warm’ wet Summer, so it might be best just to retrace your steps somewhat and follow the drover path mentioned over the next few months- its longer in distance and shorter in time.

    A lovely walk.

  32. bobvance Says:

    An alternative is to head down the grassy road at the first of the initial gates. This brings you down to the cottage whence you cross the river at the challenging stepping stones ( suited to a low centre of gravity). Through the woods and up to a road which brings you back to the car. A pleasure.

  33. Seosamh Says:

    I also prefer the old original name Cnoc na Clochóige, it’s the name which was given to the place by the people who lived there when they spoke Irish.
    I also had to laugh at the person who asked about the sat.nav. details. When I used to walk there in the 1960s there was none of that .

  34. Alan Says:

    Me, my wife, 2 boys , 4 & 2 years of age did the vast majority of this walk as an introduction to ourselves.. We did kanturk yesterday and the view Across the lough from kanturk made us curious as to what was over the other side of lough dan. have to admit It was tough going with a 2 year old in an infant carrier on your back! just want to thanks to everyone for the directions and clarifications etc..having the pictures and directions printed out on the journey made it effortless and having kids with us the directions gave us great confidence..we ll be doing more these walks in the coming year.

  35. Keith Edgely Says:

    I am thinking of organising a fundraising event for our local GAA club- hike around Lough Dan. Would anyone know who can help in terms of insurance questions and planning?


  36. George Byrne Says:

    Hi I find your site useful for walks when i know where they are already but why don`t you leave directions to the starting point, eg Lough Dan where is Lugala lodge?

  37. fritz gelber Says:

    hi..just back from this today, it is fantastically beautiful views and easy to follow directions. Tomorrow i do it again! thanks you

  38. Glen Byrne Says:

    Hi my Name is Glen Byrne and i was wondering if anyone knows if i could camp next to the lake for one or two nights in the summer (with a small group). It would be great if we could. Id love to get the contacted info for the lake house so i could ask for permission. I don’t plan to camp on the lake house garden obviously, but its just that i don’t know if they own the land around the lake. Ive read the camping code and i promise that there will be no litter after we are gone and if there was a problem then they would have my detail. If anyone could help that would be great!

  39. Glen Byrne Says:

    My Email is [email protected].

  40. Noel Doyle Says:

    Hi Glen, Would you know if the path along the back of Knocknaloghoge, beside Lough Dan towards the house on the shore is passable at the moment Maybe its not possible now

  41. 5 Best Wicklow walks with the kids  - Littlewoods Ireland Blog Says:

    […] This is a fairly easy walk which may come as a surprise given the extremely complicated name! This walk sits between Lough Tay and Lough Dan and there are no roads so the area is completely car free and is extremely calm and peaceful.  More information on the route, reviews and what you can expect from the walk can be found here.  […]

  42. Meja Says:

    I don’t have access to a car, how is it to go here with bus from Dublin?


  43. fiona Says:

    Is this a public walk or is it all on private land?

  44. Paul Fitzgibbon Says:

    This is indeed a lovely walk as described. I did it yesterday but with the anticipation that I would have an easy access to the West Side of Lough Dan and the Scout Campsite…… Not an easy one as the bracken is very high at this time of year and it took a good hour from the beach to find a safe crossing of Inchavore River. Lovely spot though

  45. Neil Says:


    I parked very close to Roundwood and walked past a hostel with the lake to the right hand side. The lake was always at a lower level than the path and I did not manage to get to the level of the lake before I hit a gate with no notice either way to say if you could pass or not.

    If there is no sign on a gate that is closed does that mean pass freely in general? Also does anyone know on that side of the lake can you get down? I got to a part where the path for the “Kanturk” walk came to steps up a hill at the highest point it would seem.

    I hope to do this again and correctly this time! Any help would be required.

    Thanks, Neil.

  46. SKCole Says:

    Hi All, as far as I am aware, the old cottage near Lough Dan where the river joins the lake is owned by the Guinness Estate who own all the land on that side of the river. IE all this walk is privately owned. The other side of that valley, across the stepping stones,The Ballinrush Estate, is also privately owned by descendants of the same family since the 1850s. They do not mind walkers but ask that all are responsible and respect any requests, like no dogs, no fires or litter on the strand etc. Conservation is important for all for the future.

  47. ERZSEBET Says:

    We are going to Dublin next week and was planning to go to Wicklow. Cant decide if we should choose this walk to Lough dan or the other one around Glendalough (The Spinc)?

  48. Siobhan Says:

    Want to do this walk with friends Thursday. Does this take you down to the lough tay sandy beach that you can see at sally gap?

  49. Brendan Says:

    Siobhan the sandy beach you see from the road is on private land, owned by Garech de Brun of the Guinness family, so access might be difficult.

  50. Siobhan Says:

    Hi Brendan. Yeah I knew it was on private land but I’ve seen loads say they’ve been but never any directions. So are the directions above to get to lough Dan?

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