Sugar Loaf

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 3.47 out of 5)
Loading...

Duration: About 1 hour for short route, about 2.5 hours for longer route.

Surely one of the most popular walks of all time near Dublin. A favourite walk for all ages with fantastic views down the coast and inland to the Wicklow mountains. The shorter walk can be done in about an hour there and back (maybe an hour and a half with smaller children), with the longer route starting from Kilmacanoge taking about 2.5 hours. Children love the scramble up the rocky path near the summit, and the scamble back down, although younger children will need adult help.


Sugar Loaf viewed from
Powerscourt Waterfall Walk

View from start of short route

Short Route

Probably the most difficult part of this route is finding the small side route leading to the hill – see map below. Park at the foot of the hill (there used to be a car park, but its now closed so its necessary to park at the side of the road). Follow the path, which is clearly visible, to the top of the hill.

Short route is marked in blue, longer route in green. View Larger Map

Longer Route

Again, probably the hardest part of this route is finding the starting point.

  • Take the exit from the N11 into Kilmacanoge village and immediately take the left hand turn up a narrow road to the GAA ground. Along the side of the GAA ground is a path that marks the start of the route.
  • Follow the path to the shoulder of the Sugar Loaf. A clearly marked path then leads along the shoulder and up to the summit.
  • On the return, it possible to retrace your steps. But an alternative is to continue south and circle around the Sugar Loaf. Head for the Glen of the Downs and join the path that leads north back to the GAA ground.

See google map above.

Other Maps


Click on map to enlarge

Click on map to enlarge. Route starts from Kilmacanoge.

23 Responses to “Sugar Loaf”

  1. rory Says:

    the large google map seems to be incorrect when you click ‘view larger’. A map of The Netherlands comes up. NOW THAT’S SOME WALK!

  2. admin Says:

    well spotted ! should be fixed now.

  3. trev Says:

    thanks for the info mate

  4. Paula Kehoe Says:

    Thank you for great directions with your map,will be visiting and walking the

    sugarloaf.

    Sincerely
    Paula

  5. milan Says:

    Thanks for directions, and maps, very useful

    I took longer route today, and finding starting point from GAA ground was in fact quite easy, however I didn’t manage to find southern route, the one I took just disappeared in the bushes(yes those sharp ones, brrr, my poor gore-tex), I just continued, and found another trail and thought it was the right one, but that one also disappeared somewhere on the western part on the hill. I manage at last to find route I climbed up and went down to a car. It was great, I little bit excitement ๐Ÿ˜‰ just want to say southern-western route can be maybe harder to find.

    Otherwise nice walk, a lot of blueberries(either I am not sure one can pick and eat them here in Ireland),

    2.5 hours is probably for families with kids, I managed in two hours with photo stops, and got a little bit lost on western side of the hill so I had to walk through a lot of vegetation that slowed me down.

  6. Paul Smith Says:

    I think that carpark is back open.

  7. Eoghan Says:

    Did the longer walk this day last week. Started by taking the north side walk. Lovely walk but steep and hard at times. The climb to the summit is a climb for the last 300 meters using the hands to pull yourself up. As for the return journey we came back via the southern route, this may have been a trail at one stage but is now overgrown and definately not for childern. I would not go the southern route again it was just crazy, gorse is waist height on a very steep gradient, not fun. After quiet a few falls and a lot of tears from my female companion we arrived back at the carpark 4.5 hours later. We had GPS and followed the route exactly so we didn’t miss the correct path.

    All in all we had a great day, so thanks to whoever is behind this website for the info. Views from the top are great.

  8. DaniBell Says:

    The path runs on right beside GAA ground, ignore the track under the metal posts on the left. Quite quickly, the path splits in 2. It may be easier to take the left hand path, as while this meanders round the lower slopes & at time there are a couple of tracks meaning a bit of decision-making involved, if u keep circling rightwards around hill, you’ll eventually hit the steep track upwards that is shared with the shorter route. From the top, the stony path leading back around right to bring you full circle is easily seen… Thx for all the great posts!

  9. Jay Carpo Says:

    I was thinking of doing the long route solo this Friday. any tips? Like NOT doing it solo?

  10. Jay Carpo Says:

    too late, went today, cracking walk, tough to start off, but once i reached the ridge it was plain sailing.
    didn’t go far enough on way down and ended up scrambling down a rocky scree, but otherwise..toppa

  11. Lucy Says:

    After a few attempts I finally found the correct long way back.. Go down from the top the same way you came up, and head towards the car park you can see nearby.. There is a path that you cross about half way to it that is heading around to the left. Follow this , and if there’s doubt about the direction of the path make sure you’re heading towards the corner of the field.. The path back from this point on is quite obviously a path.. if you realise that you’re not on a real path turn around and retrace your steps – it’s way quicker than ploughing on regardless believe me!

  12. Cathal Says:

    Great directions. Car park busy today even with extra bit open. Two negatives: no picnic benches despite what my Map 56 said and loads of very poorly prepared people going up in flip flops etc

  13. EP Says:

    Lovely short walk. Decent footwear is required though!

  14. Anton Says:

    Great walk. Went with my 5 years old, had an awesome time. Thank you for the directions – found everything without problems.

  15. Tomek Says:

    Many thanks for the directions, they were very useful. I did the long route and it was quite easy to find the starting point, GAA club, there is a signpost before the road that leads to the club. I started walking into the south direction, along the road. Then I simply followed the main path and after 30-45 mins I ended up crossing the short path that led me to the summit. On my way back, I took the north route, and once started descending, it was quite narrow at times with a bit of bushes that made me thinking the path is not used very frequently, however i saw family with kids going other direction end eventually I ended up just on the parking spot. Beautiful views and the weather was great too!

  16. Tony Says:

    Is it possible to get the bus from Dublin to Kilmacanoge?

  17. Rossella Says:

    Hi Tony, yes, the Dublin bus 145 depart from Dublin with stops in Kildare street and St. Stephen Green and leaves you in Kilmacanogue.
    I will do the walk tomorrow morning by reaching Kilmacanogue with this bus! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. M. Says:

    Parking lot is open again. 20.11.2015, but < 2m headroom gate!!!!

  19. Brendan Says:

    Anybody thinking of the longer walk should be aware that a large section of the paths are quite overgrown. Did the long walk from Calary car park, around the western side of the Sugar Loaf, down to the GAA grounds and then the eastern side back to Calary. The section down to the GAA grounds and from there back to Calary is heavily overgrown with ferns and it’s quite easy to miss the trail at times. Our 500m ascent felt like a lot more so be warned.

  20. Victoria Says:

    The views are indeed fabulous! The short route is almost a highway, it would be easy to find even without the crowds we saw there today. The parking below is still functioning, and is very popular. We took the longer route – at least tried to. There is actually a web of paths leading from the GAA grounds to the summit from the north, the one we took was pretty easy. But circling the mountain from the south was trickier. We finished by walking across the ferns and gorse and heather. We should have read Lucy’s comment earlier!

  21. donal Says:

    NIGHTMARE ON THE SUGARLOAF! Sunday 5TH Myself wife and daughter thought we would climb the Sugarloaf we were ok for a while when my wifes breathing became laboured so we veered off left following the signpost IE MAN WITH STICK, easy walkon the man made pathway THEN IT ENDED!
    A MAZE OF PATHWAYS NOT SIGN POSTED OR INDICATED. BLODDY DANGEROUS NOT FOR KIDS OR THE FAINT HEARTED. ENDED UP CROSSING AGRICULTURAL LAND TO REACH THE CARPARK. YES OUR OWN FAULT BUT SAW NO INDICATION OF THE DIFFICULT TERRAIN BE WARNED THERE IS AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN HERE

  22. Roland W. Says:

    Walked up the shirt route from the carpark this morning, last 40 meters are a fun clamber. Decided to be adventurous and go strainght down the north side over the scree and rocks. Challenging and a little dicey at times as the fitting is not that stable but it does make for a fun descent. I went about halfway down and then traversed west towards the path which links up with the shirt route. Path was wIde and not missable. Then walked back to the car on the shirt route.
    Felt pretty good about it, being 45 and new to hiking, until I saw the 5 year olds bouncing up and down the trail like mountain goats. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Going back up tomorrow as I want to do Sugarloaf and little Sugarloaf in one day.

  23. Hiking In Ireland - The Great Sugar Loaf Says:

    […] today we decided to do some hiking atย The Great Sugar Loaf in the Wicklow Mountains. We failed here two times before. Once we got dropped off by the bus and […]

Leave a Reply