Hiking & Walking

Hiking & Walking trails

Wild Nephin National Park comprises 15,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range.

To the west of the mountains is the Owenduff bog. This is one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Ireland and Western Europe.

The main body of the park is ideal for those wishing to hike in remote and wild areas and as such is recommended for experienced hillwalkers.


Ballycroy Visitor Centre

At the visitor centre there is a 2km looped walk which offers panoramic views of Achill Island and the Nephin Beg mountain range. This is a trail accessible to all and introduces sections of board walk, a very mild incline and a pond dipping pool. Please be aware that this is a Class 3 trail as per the Sports Ireland classification system, and is uneven in places and includes water bars that are designed to keep water off the trail, so please watch your step. The trail remains open throughout the night even when the visitor centre is closed.

This is the only walk available from the visitor centre but if you wish to avail of longer hikes & walks please see the options below. Alternatively, contact the visitor centre at 098-49888 or by email at ballycroyvisitorcentre@npws.gov.ie for more information.

Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail

Situated approximately 8km south of the Ballycroy Visitor Centre, lies the Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail.  The site has excellent parking and viewing facilities with a 2km trail along a stunning coastal bay boardwalk and shoreline route. View Map

For the walks below all campers and hikers should register on https://campingwildnephin.com/register/ 

Letterkeen Loops (ranging from 2.5km to 12km)

Letterkeen Loops Trail Map

The road to access the Letterkeen Loop walks is situated 1 km out of Newport on the Mulranny side. The turn is marked with a series of small signposts on a single pole which include signs for the Letterkeen Loop, Bangor Trail and the Marine Institute. Continue up this road for 10km until you reach a fork in the road, take the left marked with a sign for the Letterkeen Loop.

A carpark, picnic benches and open bothy are located at the beginning of the walks. Note: There are no toilet facilities at this location

Vary’s Loop (2.5 km)               Duration of walk: Approx. 45mins

Fitness level: Easy

Bothy Loop (5 km, BLUE marker)               Duration of walk: Approx. 1.5 hours

Fitness level: Moderate

Lough Aroher Loop (10 km, RED marker)  Duration of walk: 3-3.5 hours

Fitness level: Moderate – High

Letterkeen Loop (12 km, Purple marker)    Duration of walk: 4-5 hours

Fitness level: High

Information on these trails is available to download: Letterkeen Loops

Hiking boots and correct rainwear are highly recommended as these trails can become very wet underfoot (apart from Vary’s Loop).

Bangor Trail (40km)

The main route through the park is the Bangor Trail which starts in Bangor Erris and finishes in Newport. The Bangor Trail is an old road through the Nephin Beg mountains in north-west Mayo. It used to be the main route from Bangor to Newport, dating back to the 16th Century. Nowadays it mainly attracts recreational walkers, though due to the distance involved and the rough ground underfoot it is probably quieter now than it once was at the height of Ireland’s population in the early 1800s.

The Bangor Trail is not a beginners walk and should not be taken lightly. Proper care and consideration should be undertaken before embarking on this trail. Suitable wet gear and provisions are essential. A full list of recommendations can be found in the PDF below:

Bangor Trail Leaflet (PDF)

Wild Nephin-Bangor Trail

Bangor Trail

Maps recommended for hiking:

Wild Nephin Map

OSI Discovery Series 23 & 31 (1:50,000)

Advice to visitors

  • Operate by the Leave no Trace principles
  • Leave No Trace – leaflet
  • Consult maps of the area beforehand and plan in advance
  • Hiking is only recommended to those with suitable outdoor clothing and equipment.
  • Do not venture into the hills alone.
  • Know your limits and those of your friends walking with you.
  • Inform a competent person of your walking trip and estimated time of return.
  • We are happy to act as your contact – Phone +353 9849888 for more info
  • Take waste away with you!
  • Leave wildflowers for everyone to enjoy. Photograph or sketch them instead of picking them.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Respect the National Park.
  • To camp, follow the link: Camping.
  • Make sure to read our Camping Code (pdf)
  • Be aware of Ticks and their potential transmission of Lyme’s Disease. Always check for ticks at the end of a day’s hiking. Information from the HSE can be found here.

Please contact us if you have any questions

E-mail: ballycroyvisitorcentre@npws.gov.ie

Phone: +353 9849888