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Duration: About 6 hours

Lugnaquilla is the highest mountain in Wicklow and the only Munro (i.e. hill above 3000ft). It rewards the effort of climbing it with panoramic views over Glendalough and the Wicklow hills and views inland over the Blessington Lakes and Co. Kildare. There are a number of possible routes up Lugnaquilla – the one given here passes the dramatic cliffs of Fraughan Rock Glen and takes a short but steep route to the summit.

This walk is not suitable for inexperienced walkers.

Fraughan Rock Glen

Fraughan River

Lugnaquilla summit from Clohernagh


  • Start from the car park at the end of the Glenmalure road, near to the youth hostel. Follow the small path north-west from the car park along the side of the river to find a small footbridge. Cross the river and continue along the road past the youth hostel.
  • Fork left uphill a short distance after the youth hostel, following a forestry road up into Fraughan Rock Glen.
  • In Fraughan Rock Glen the path follows beside the river, with the path gradually deteriorating as the river descends the steep slope at the head of the glen. Follow the path up to emerge onto an open area at the head of the glen with the summit of Lugnaquilla now visible in front.
  • At this point one option is to bear right to reach the lower part of the northern shoulder of Lugnaquilla and then follow the shoulder to the summit. A shorter alternative is to bear left and take a more direct (and steeper) path up to the shoulder. In either case, once on the shoulder, the path to the summit is clear.
  • Returning from the summit, head east along a gentle slope to reach the summit of Clohernagh.

    Descent Option 1:

  • Follow the path east that descends the shoulder of Clohernagh (keep to the north of the shoulder to find the path) to join the path at the dramatic Carrawaystick Waterfall. Follow the path down to the Glenmalure road and return along the road to the car park.

    Descent Option 2:

  • An alternative descent is to again begin following the path east from Clohernagh, but then bear north and descend to Arts Lough. The path turn-off to Arts Lough is about 300m after a post marking the boundary of the wicklow mountains national park. The landscape is rather featureless, but the path down to Arts Lough is marked by white cairns.

    park boundary post

    white cairn marking path

  • The path descends to Arts Lough via a grassy ramp, with great views. At Arts Lough there is a fence running parallel to the lough. Follow this fence past the lough and you will find yourself overlooking Fraughan Rock Glen. Continue following the fence line down a steep grassy slope to reach the river. Cross the river to rejoin the path you took on the way up – turn right on the path to return to the start of the walk.

    Looking back at grassy ramp down to Arts Lough

    Descent Option 3:

  • At Arts Lough, an alternative descent is through the woods beside the lough. To find the path, look for the fence running parallel to the lough and follow this to your right (heading back away from the lough). You will pass a stile, the fence then takes a sharp turn to the left. There is a second stile and then the fence tales a turn to the right and passes a large white rock. The start of the forest path is 20-30m past this rock – see photo below. Initially the path is quite faint but quickly becomes more distinct. After about 300m the path passes a collapsed hut and then heads more steeply downhill to join a forestry road. Turn right along this road heading downhill. The road makes a few switchbacks. Keep heading right and downhill when you reach a junction with a second road. Follow to the Glenmalure road and return along the road to the car park.

    Route from Arts Lough

    Collapsed hut

    Path to forest road

Other Maps

The google map above lacks detail and is indicative only. Do invest in a suitable map before going on this walk (e.g. see links below).

53 Responses to “Lugnaquilla”

  1. shane Says:

    lookin for a guide for a charity walk sat 2nd

  2. Bart Says:

    The map is wrong. Fraughan Rock Glen is the one to the South.

  3. admin Says:

    Thanks, should be fixed now.

  4. Des Fitzgerald Says:

    would the people in the two cars which were parked near the barrier at the start of walk (just above the An Oige centre) please go back and cleanup after you the only word that describes you people is knackers

  5. Stephen Says:

    I agree with Des. My first visit to the Glenmalure area over the weekend and I was appalled by the mess left up toward fraughan rock Glen by the knackers that were parked up. Also a car was in the ditch near the youth hostel on Sunday morning and by Sunday afternoon it was completely burnt out! Plenty of well meaning campers in the area but I wouldn’t be enticed, I can only imagine what happens after dark up there.

  6. maria magee Says:

    Looking for accommadion near the mountains and a bar for two adults and two children. Were climbing the four highest peaks in the four provinces of lreland. Have completed three and this will be our last! !!

  7. Marian O'B Says:

    The Glenmalure Inn does bed and breakfast. There is also a hostel near by.

  8. Stephen O'Neill Says:

    Please can you send me some information on Lughnaquilla.
    My address Shanid 166 Rochestown Avenue Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin.
    Such as best/worst time weather etc. Also send same to Mr David O’Farrell 95 Beaumont Road Cambridge CB1 8PX Cambridgeshire England.

  9. wicklow cottage Says:

    Mountain can be climbed at any time of year but take care in winter as snow and ice are not always obvious from base. Make sure you have decent boots and proper all weather gear as its definitely not a stroll. Map compass etc all essential as the summit can be shrouded in cloud with very little warning and there are steep cliffs at the south prison leading from summit. Most strightforward route is from Fentons pub in Glen of Imaal. In winter in particular note that this can take 5 or 6 hours – make sure you leave enough daylight to complete safely.
    see for accommodation

    Happy Hiking

  10. Adventure Says:

    Hello new to site and sport planing to do lugnaquilla by end of feb
    Any advice warmly wellcomed also is there a book of maps for each
    Mountain range and best place to get them

  11. admin Says:

    Adventure, if you’re new to hill-walking I’d very much encourage you to try a few of the other walks first before doing Lug – its one for more experienced walkers only, see sound advice from wicklowcottage above. As for a good walking map, the amazon link above is the one I’d recommend (and use myself).

  12. Adventure Says:

    Thanks hot advice might leave it till April
    Looking for books now any advice on out door
    Shops with keen pricing

  13. Adventure Says:

    Did sugar loaf today the long route a good
    Warm up for the next one

  14. Adventure Says:

    Any ideas for one that’s of similar endurance

  15. Eoin Says:

    On public transport whats the best way to get there from Dublin

  16. Junokeo Says:

    Great site! Thanks for putting up all this info.

  17. Adventure Says:

    Hello does anybody know of any WW 2
    Crash sites that are reachable in the
    Wicklow area

  18. Wicklow Says:

    Blackhill nearLacken/ Blessington has a commerative marker to a WW2 bomber crash, with details of crew, dates,etc.

  19. Adventure Says:

    Hi two more questions to ask
    Do I need to do a course on
    Map reading
    Is there any dog friendly walks
    In the Wicklow area

  20. BarryD Says:

    Ahem! – in relation to the Lugnaquilla Walk:
    1) The Wicklow Way is NOT at the Carawaystick Waterfall. It’s on the far side of Glenmalure.
    2) There is NO forest road leading downhill from Art’s Lough. There are forest tracks in the woods below but they have to be found. Art’s Lough area has many boulders and holes in deep heather..

    Trust this is not representative of the rest of your route descriptions!!!

  21. admin Says:

    Thanks for the comments. You’re right about the waterfall path not being the Wicklow Way – I’ve updated the route notes. Its a big, easy to find path all the same ;-) As for Arts Lough, I’d say the best thing is if I go and take some photos to make clear where the path/road can be found. Will see if I can make some time this weekend.

  22. Bobev Says:

    Yesterday, I completed the Fraughan Rock / Clohernagh circuit and ran into trouble desending to Arts Lough, using Great Iriah Walks as a reference. Apart from not finding the grassy ramp, I finished up beside the Fraughan Glen river and saved a few km walking back to the car park. So the desent from the Lough must be on the left of the lake, as I followed the right fence.

  23. Noel Mc Mullen Says:

    My family and I climbed Lug on Saturday July 21 2012 starting at the Youth Hostel and proceeding via Frauchan Rock Glen to the top. on our decent, about 2km from the top heading towards the zig zags to Glenmalure ,our dog , a Cavalier King Charles wandered back in the direction of the summit. We have been unable to locate him since. His name is Bobby ,he is 10 years old and is quite deaf. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who knows of his whereabouts. Thank You
    Noel 0868625414

  24. Walker Says:

    The path you were descending is across a private sheep farm and dogs are strictly forbidden according to the sign at the entrance to the path. If walkers insist on bringing dogs along this path it will end up being closed to walkers altogether. No body wants this to happen so please leave your dogs at home.

  25. Michael Says:

    Got any stamps there Stephen!!?
    Cheers for site info. Planning on hitting the mountain tomorrow. Weather should be good

  26. admin Says:

    Walked the Arts Lough routes last friday – beautiful sunny weather but still quite wet underfoot from all the rain. Hadn’t done these routes in a good while and I found that the original route through the forest has become overgrown with trees. Have updated the route notes to describe an alternative descent through the woods from Arts Lough (marked option 3), and have also included a new descent from Arts Lough into Fraughan Glen (marked option 2).

  27. don Says:

    I have just discovered this site and find it excellent and informative. I have been up and down Lugnaquilla a few times on the Fenton Pub route. The drawback at the moment is the extremely boggy conditions after all the rain, particularly in the valley after Camara. I believe there is an interesting loop route commencing on Ballineddan and finishing up back over Camara to Fenton’s. Is anyone here familiar with this ? Is it well marked and easy to follow, as I usually walk alone, and approx how long does it take ? Would be grateful for any info. Many thanks

  28. Ger Says:

    Just a note to all, the Father Willie Walsh Walk is on this sunday, 19th August at 11am leaving Barravore Glenmalure and finishing at Fentons, Glen of Imaal. The route goes via Table Mountain. All sponsorship goes to charity. A great days walking and a bit of craic and a few pints after in Fentons Pub.

  29. Cindy - Wicklow Says:

    I did this climb (hardly a walk!) on the hot sunny fri end of July, there was only one! It was quite a challenge as I’ve not been hillwalking for some time. We had a guide who had done it before a few years ago, however even with his quide book he had difficulty finding ‘paths’, which I wouldn’t have called paths at all. We took the steepest way up, you need to be fit, not ideal for your first time. You absolutely need proper hiking boots (waterproof) as it’s full of wet bogs and little rivers and very muddy at times. A walking pole would be useful also and lots of fluids. On our decent we headed south west and turned left at the cairn past the park boundary. It was quite scary as the ‘path’ was only wide enough for one foot at a time and a steep fall to our right, you would need a head for heights. We met a hiker on his way up who was able to tell us that the path our guide used to get out last time was blocked off, so he pointed out the ‘white rock’ which led us through the forest. This was completely overgrown with trees and deep with mud, not pleasant. We made our way to a roadway, no signs, we walked to the right, hairpin bend, then to the left, hairpin bend, to the right and so on, which was quite boring apart from spotting a deer and a beautiful waterfall. Then we came to a T junction, no sign, we felt our car park was to the left, but that was leading back uphill again, which we didn’t want. So we turned right. We eventually found a car park but it wasn’t ours. Our guide very kindly suggested he would walk to the car park and pick us up, as we were quite tired by then. Relieved to be back down but quite happy to have achieved this climb :)

  30. michael o shea Says:

    i am a regular mountain climber from co kerry and am visiting wicklow from sun 23rd to thursday 27th septembr inclusive and am looking to see if anyone is available to do this mountain walk wth me. i will of course return the favour should anyone ever want to climb any of the mountains in co kerry>please reply to me here if anyone is available and we can arrange furthur contact>michael

  31. Simon Says:

    Just wondering if Noel found his dog. I would die if I lost my dogs!!

  32. Pat Says:

    Would like to draw your attention to the fact that cottage at the bottom of the zig-zag path in Glenmalure, known as Kellystown, is now available for rent. You can find us on or 0874109259. Thank you!

  33. noreen Says:

    my family and i attempted to climb the lug via glen of lmaal on Sat. snow and ice prevented us from finishing it. it became very dangerous and the mist was well down. we could see 2 things that resembled curved walls off to the right hand side. we were wondering how close to the top were we. we will go back and finish it in better weather.

  34. lesley Says:

    did lug today. great day. zero visibility!! snow and ice on top but had a ball. we went up glenmalure side. my first time this route(i usually go glen of imaal side) went through fraggle rock glen and back down through carrysticks. felt like i was carrying sticks at this point. (sorry for changing names but they made me laugh all day !!)

  35. Joe Says:

    Climbed The Lug yesterday, 10th April. Zero viability but had maps and compass. All went well until we met a blonde who told us to head for places that didn’t appear on our maps………. I think she thought we were Muppets.
    Hey, Lesley, we did alright!! Not even a blister today. Great walk/climb. Great company

  36. lesley Says:


  37. Claire Byrne Says:

    Is the diretions from above reliable? Want to walk Lug Monday :) Please help, Thanks :)

  38. Trevor Says:

    Hi Claire, Im wondering the same. Planning to do the walk on Monday (tomorrow) also. There are a lot of conflicting messages. Can anyone recommend the best/ safest route? Thanks

  39. James brennan Says:

    Anyone know if there are guided walks available og lugnaquilla

  40. Barry Says:


    Can anyone tell me if the Father Willie Walsh Walk is on this year and if they have the details?

    Missed it last yr and finding it difficult to get any info about it



  41. Ken Stewart Says:

    I have done this before, the steep side. I would just like to ask people where do I start to do this again. I remember a bit of a walk down roads first to eventually get to the bottom of Lug, then was the steep climb. I am just not sure where to start. Coordinates would be fantastic if anybody can help

    From what comes back to me was a hostel too that we drove past and a pub we parked nearby (and a well deserved pint after)
    Thanks in advance

    Ken :-)

  42. james hobbs. Says:

    Hello, your site is very informative and helpful, I am planning a trip to ireland from essex england for the first time, and would like to walk some of the wicklow way south from dublin into the wicklow mountains, then catch a bus back, does anyone know a regular bus route in and out of the wicklow mountains,is the st kevins bus still runing?,i am realy looking forward to my first
    Trip to your fantastic country,ive been wanting to go there since i was 15,now 34 its long over,i hope Noel mcmullen found his Dog.jamesHobbs.UK.

  43. 5 Best Wicklow walks with the kids  - Littlewoods Ireland Blog Says:

    […] This is not one for the faint-hearted with over seven hours of walking involved! Those attempting it are advised to get some up-to-date advice from the Army Information and Advice Centre before setting off and to ensure they have mobile phones with them. Foolow the route on the Wicklow Walks website. […]

  44. Derek Says:

    I’ve just come back from this walk, and have to say it was absolutely fantastic. It’s certainly not and easy or short walk, but definitely worth the effort. There are a number of notices about erosion damage, and in places the path is fairly rough as a consequence.
    The top was a little busier than I prefer, even for a mid-week, but wasn’t exactly what you’d call crowded.
    If you fancy a longer walk as I did, then start at the Glenmalure Lodge car park (free, but make sure you get some food or something on the way back), and walk south-west down the road, turning right onto the Wicklow Way (incidentally the 1/2 way point), then travel up the hill to Carrawatstick, before walking along the ridge towards Lugnaquilla. The ridge is a bit boggy in places even on hot sunny days (following a few previous days of sun), but nothing a decent pair of waterproof boots cannot handle. This route is longer, but personally I though it was much easier than the ascent listed in the route description above.
    “highest mountain in Wicklow and the only Munro”, yet Wikipedia says “A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height …”, so probably not a Munro then (unless Scotland has invaded, or my geography skills are worse than I thought).

  45. Jan Says:

    @Derek, as far as i remember there are ca 30 recognized Munros outside Scotland. Wikipedia is a poor source of information.

  46. Wicklow Cottage Says:

    A great winter season on Lugnaquilla – loads of snow and ice since December. Although it has almost melted please do take care if you are hiking the mountain this summer – it needs to be treated with respect all year !

  47. Katie Says:

    Hi, just wondering if dogs are permitted on lug?

  48. Kev Says:

    No issues with dogs on lug. Although it could be a tricky climb for the dog depending on your route and dog.

  49. Laura Connick Says:

    Looking to climb this on Feb 25th or 18/19 of March. Anyone know of any organized walks or climbs? Any advice?

  50. Lugnaquilla ‘Lug’ Mountain, Glenmalure and Cloghernagh Loop Walk, Wicklow Mountains, Ireland | Says:

    […] the road where you will turn left and walk to the car park.  Other descent Routes can be seen here. Other Walks Nearby […]

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