Slieve Donard (via Glen River)
Slieve Donard at 850m (2,789 ft) is the highest of the Mourne Mtns. The views from the summit are extensive and on a clear day the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland may be seen, as well as the long stretch of Newcastle Beach.
Distance 2.9 miles
OS Map Sheet 29
Terrain Mainly forest and mountain paths
Nearest Town Newcastle
Route Shape Linear
Grid Reference J375305
Route Type Forest, Mountain
Leave the car park in Donard Park heading towards the mountain and follow the Glen River uphill through old woodland of Scots Pine, Oak and Birch. At the first of 3 bridges, cross to the opposite bank.
Continue uphill through the forest, above a deep cut riverbed, for about 400m until another bridge is reached. The riverbank overhangs along this section so extra care is needed.
At this point cross back to the left hand side and resume journey uphill through the trees.
At the next bridge continue across the forest road and onto the rough track heading up towards the mountains, with thick forest on right (fenced), until a gate and stile is reached.
Cross the stile and follow the track above the river for about 2kms, heading towards the saddle between Donard and Commedagh.
At this point, the path crosses the river and continues uphill to the ‘Saddle’ where it meets the Mourne Wall.
At the Mourne Wall turn left and follow the wall steeply uphill towards the summit.
From the summit return by the same route, staying close to the wall until the Saddle is reached again. The cliffs on the north side of Donard known as Eagle Rocks should be avoided by walkers since the approaches are steep.
Return to Donard Park following the line of the Glen River.
Views from summit
Follow the one way system to the south end of Newcastle main street. Donard Car Park has ample parking.
Dogs must be kept on leads
Toilets and parking in Donard Park. Refreshments in Newcastle.
- There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
- Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
- Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
- Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.
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Slieve Donard (via Glen River)
Climbed this today, 1 hour 40 up, 55 mins down. The first time I tried this was 17 months ago, I literally crawled up it. I was so ashamed I started dieting and lost weight, it was an emotional returtoday, I can tell you. Yes, the way isnt clear through the woods from the car park, its steep and the path is very rocky and uneven. My main advice is wear “grippy” boots or trainers, anything with a softer sole, even on a dry day, the rocks are slippy, especially from the top down to the saddle. My boots had great ankle support but a hard sole and I found it slippy on the way down. Newcastle is a delightful town, so if you can stay a night or tow, I’d very much recommend it. Enjoy!
Brilliant, brilliant walk. Tough but brilliant. However, there’s absolutely no map or signs to direct first time walkers. I ended up at Shepherds Lodge along with 2 others and had to stop a local to ask for directions. So on that note… For first time walkers…. Go to the entrance is at the back right of the main Donard carpark next to the overflow carpark. Go straight up the stone path of the park and follow the path slightly left and straight up to the bridge with the red gate. Turn left over this bridge. (Do not go up the road. It leads the wrong way). Keep the Glen River on your right until the second bridge. Walk across second bridge and then keep the Glen River on your left. At the third bridge, go straight ahead, continuing to keep the Glen River on your left. This path leads straight up to the stone wall. At the stone wall Slieve Donard summit is on your left. Hope this helps. Happy Trekking people 🙂
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
I started early, just after 7 o’clock and very much on the spur of the moment.
(Will be 70 in a month so wanted to do it before then!)
Was back and in the car, at the carpark, before 12, but did find it a wee bit hard on the creaking knees coming down.
I would suggest an early start and a light backpack with water and sunblock.
Plus a walking pole.
I was surprised by the number of people just starting out as I completed my hike, but then, not everyone goes right to the top. Some people only go as far as the Saddle.
Well worth it.