Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail also nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven Walk is located in Co. Fermanagh. The route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase. A steep climb is required to reach the viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain which provides breath taking views of the surrounding low lands.
Distance 4.2 miles
OS Map Sheet 26 (1:50 000)
Terrain gravel track, boardwalk, bogland
Nearest Town Belcoo
Route Shape Linear
Grid Reference H121335
Route Type Mountain
Follow the Cuilcagh Boardwalk trail through a fascinating limestone landscape, often referred to as “The Fertile Rock” due to its flower rich pastures. Visible along the trail you will see abandoned Irish cottages, dry stone walls and potato cultivation ridges (“lazy beds”) all remnants of Ireland’s past heritage. Continue along the gravel vehicle track the landscape starts to change to blanket bog where the unmistakable, flat-topped ridge of Cuilcagh Mountain is visible in the horizon. In the spring, an abundance of bog cotton carpets the bog in a blanket of white, while in late summer the purple moor grass glistens with shades of red and purple.
After 4km, start your ascent of Cuilcagh Mountain. The way is negotiated by a section of boardwalk, providing protection to the sensitive blanket bog beneath. If you’re fortunate you may catch a glimpse of a red grouse. The bird’s most obvious features are its plump shape, white eyelids with bright pinkish-red combs above, and feathered legs and feet. They stay on the heath all year round eating the short, succulent shoots of heather. Your final ascent is via a steep section of steps, nicknamed the ‘Stairway to Heaven’- these are not for the faint of heart! As you steadily climb you meander and weave your way through a rugged boulder landscape to eventually reach the viewing platform. The viewing platform positioned precariously at the edge of the mountain plateau offers breath-taking views over the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to take a well-deserved rest before starting your decent.
Events or Groups Walking the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
For safety, conservation and insurance reasons walk leaders and event organisers are not permitted to organise, advertise or run an event of any nature in or along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail where praticipants exceed 20 without prior written consent from the Marble Arch Caves and should be submitted well in advance of the planned walk or event. Please contact: Michelle.Shannon@fermanaghomagh.com or +44(0) 28 66321815.
Access to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain beyond the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail Viewing Platform is not permitted. Visitors are asked to keep to the designated path and to remain within the confines of the viewing platform.
The habitat in this area is fragile and it is kindly requested that walkers respect the environment and do not stray from the designated route. Your cooperation with this is appreciated.
Please be aware:
• It is important to choose a walk that suits everyone in your group.
• Weather conditions on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail and Cuilcagh Mountain can be quick to change & can become quickly inhospitable all year round
• Equip yourself for walking in a mountainous area, waterproof clothing, boots, spare clothing, map, compass, first aid, food, drink etc are essential.
• Be aware that mobile reception in the area is poor. Let someone know where you have gone and when you are expected back.
• In an Emergency: call 999 or 101 and ask for Mountain Rescue.
Did You Know?
The habitat on Cuilcagh Mountain is very sensitive to the footfall of walkers and the boardwalk was constructed to prevent walkers from damaging the protected blanket bog. It is important to stay to the designated path in order to protect this beautiful habitat for future generations.
There are two options for parking for your walk on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk car park (on attached map location 2)
This car park is located at the start of the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. The car park can accommodate both cars and coach parking.
Please note: This car park is privately owned and there is a charge for parking. The charge per car is approximately £5/€6 and coaches are advised to contact the landowner directly (this can be done by ringing the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre on +44 (0)28 66321815, you will be asked to provide a contact name and number which will be forwarded to the landowner to contact you.
Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park (on attached map location 3)
This car park is located a further 0.7 miles/1 km past the entrance for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. This car park is free and can accommodate cars and coaches. There are toilet facilities and picnic areas provided.
Please be aware: The Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre car park (on attached map location 1) is provided for visitors to the show cave only. This car park is monitored and outside the show cave visiting times the car park is locked.
How to get here:
(Follow the signs for the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre from Enniskillen)
Take the A4 Sligo Road from Enniskillen. Turn left onto the A32 Swanlinbar Road. Turn right onto the Marble Arch road. Turn left, still following the signs for the Marble Arch Visitor Centre. Along this narrow road, there will be a sign on your left hand side for the Cuilcagh Mountain Park this is car park option 1, for car park option 2 continue along the road for a further .7 miles/1 km the Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park is signed and located on your right hand side.
Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk
Facilities are available at the nearby Florencecourt and Marble Arch Caves (seasonal opening hours between March and October. You can also find toilet facilities at Killykeegan Nature Reserve.
- 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.
Comments will be reviewed and those that cause offence will be removed. This is at the discretion of WalkNI.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy the walking routes listed on WalkNI safely and easily.
If you have come across any problems whilst walking a route, please let us so we can pass on any issues to the appropriate management body responsible for maintaining the walk.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
Walked from Marble Arch Caves on 13th February 2019 midweek walk was quite windy with gusts going up the boardwalk and handrail section up to the summit. I have done this walk several times from the Swanlinbar side but with the big son found that the end is nigh at the top of the stairway stayed dry for our walk throughout and although wind blowing in our face on the way up its was a welcome blow behind our back on the way down approximately 3.5 hrs to complete the 7.5 mile return trip at 665 ht
Was planning on doing this walk, only to discover that dogs are not allowed. I am a responsible dog owner who keeps his dogs on a lead and ALWAYS cleans up after them. Very disappointing indeed and I shall not be visiting. Very poor.
Happy days .. No Dogs Allowed. For every responsible dog owner there is two that aren’t. The absence of dogs will make this a very much more enjoyable walk for my family. Our family dog will remain at home.