The Spinc

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Duration: About 3.5 hours.

Deservedly one of the most popular walks in Wicklow. This is a high level walk along the Spinc ridge overlooking Glendalough, with panoramic views over Glendalough and the surrounding hills, returning past the Glenealo River as it cascades via a series of waterfalls into the Upper Lough. There is a well marked path for the entire walk and, apart from the fairly strenuous climb up to the Spinc ridge at the start, the walk is reasonably level and easy going.

View of the Spinc from west end of Upper Lough


  • Starting from the car park at the Upper Lough in Glendalough, take the path southwards to the base of the Poullanass Waterfall. Cross the bridge and follow the path uphill that runs beside the waterfall.
  • At the top of the waterfall, a number of paths head off in different directions. Take the right-hand path, continuing uphill.
  • After the first bend, there is a stile on the right which is easy identified by the sign warning about the need for appropriate outdoor footwear etc. Cross the stile and head steeply uphill. This is by far the most strenuous part of the whole walk as the path quickly gains height. On reaching the top of the path, the reward is a spectacular view over Glendalough and the surrounding hills.
  • The Spinc is a ridge extending to the west parallel to the Upper Lough. Follow the clearly visible boardwalk path along this ridge. The path is level and the easy walk along the ridge allows time to enjoy the views.
  • At the west end of the Spinc, stay on the path as it descends in a zig-zag towards the Glenealo River.
  • The path now turns east and descends down beside a series of waterfalls to an old miners village at the west end of the lough. The views down the lough are exceptional on a clear day.
  • After the miners village, the path continues along the north side of the lough back to the car park.

Other Maps

The google map for Glendalough lacks detail just now, so the map below is currently a better bet.

Click on map to enlarge

7 Responses to “The Spinc”

  1. Grainne O'Malley Says:

    For anyone that’s interested, Threshold, the national housing charity, are organising a walk along the Spinc on the evening of the 4th August. For more info, contact me on 01 635 3618 or e-mail: [email protected]

  2. Macker Says:

    This is an excellent walk. I did it a week ago on a crisp November morning and aside from a few slippery bits in the shade under the trees while climbing up to the ridge it was easy going.

    One small part of the description may need a little elaboration. The path up the side of Poullanas Waterfall joins with a wider forestry path. At this junction you need to bear left onto the forest path and then follow it around a hairpin bend to the right – if in doubt just keep going uphill.

    If you are tackling this in winter be prepared for the cold – much of the walk is in shade when the Sun is low in the sky, so expect low temperatures and ice pools. Good waterproof boots with good grips and windproof jackets are a must.

  3. lesley Says:

    i love this walk in any weather. snow or sun or rain its a different walk each time. views a great for pictures. i actually go the other way though than on this! don’t know why but i go through the miners village and up over the railway sleepers, then down the steps!! i feel im enjoying the view more but i suppose whatever way you go it will be an enjoyable walk

  4. Hayley Says:

    I did this on sat for a sponsored walk with 8 adults and 7 kids age 9 and up we went the other way too through the minors village and it was one tough walk legs are still sore two days later but what an achievement. U walk on sleepers most of the way and there’s about 600 steps to go down or up depending what way u start from I came down them but a lot of people think going up the steps is a better way

  5. How to truly discover a country (by hiking it) - Says:

    […] The spinc hike around the Glendalough lakes. […]

  6. Hiking Around The Glendalough Upper Lake - Joint Trails Says:

    […] When we arrived back at the car park, we bought a well-deserved ice cream and relaxed at the lake. You can spend your whole day (and evening) at this lake as you are allowed to BBQ here. Our time here was too short because we couldn’t go up and there is another path to goes back to the village of Glendalough. We will definitely come back here when the weather allows it! Check out a full route description here. […]

  7. Helen Says:

    An Spinc – the ‘white’ arrow route – I LOVE this walk. The path has sleepers that you walk along for much of the way in one direction and so its really soothing and relaxing – you’re not spending all your time watching your feet or checking for bogholes or marshy patches as you walk along so you can relax a lot more & enjoy the views. The sleeper path is wide enough for one person comfortably so you can enjoy the peace without someone boring the earhole off you about work or their bad boyfriend/whomever. Deer sometimes graze at the end where the sleepers come down to the river if you are quiet enough as you walk at that part you might spot huddles of them before they bound off.
    I prefer to start by following the woodlands path through the forest past (opposite from) St Kevins bed and walk up through the old miners ‘village’ and then up the zigzag path to cross and meet up with the sleepers over the far side of the (first and only) bridge. They have added a few more white arrows to encourage you long and there are bit of it now with vague sleeper payhs so its less vague than it was 8 years ago!! I love love love this walk and it takes a smooth relaxing 3 hours complete with stop for sambos and lots of photostops!
    I prefer to start via the miners ‘village’ as the thought of getting out of the car & doing a fierce aerobic workout of 700 steps is too much for my frail & lazy psyche! A georgous walk & one for good and bad weather IMO.

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