Hiking in Donegal
For those who wish to leave the beaten track and discover the mountains and valleys of Donegal, Óstán Loch Altan is perfectly situated. Only a short drive from Óstán Loch Altan’s welcoming doors,hikers can find everything from a two-hour hike through a heavenly glen to an epic 10-hour adventurehigh in the Derryveagh Mountains.
There are many hiking trails to enjoy near Gortahork and we would like to tell you about some of our favourites. As you approach an abandoned churchsituatedby Dunlewey Lake, the true majestyof the Poisoned Glen will become apparent. Mistranslated from the Irish ‘An Gleann Neimhe’ – the heavenly glen – by an English cartographer, the Poisoned Glen is truly one of Donegal’s hidden gems.For those seeking a short ramble, the Poisoned Glen can be a short 2-3 hour out and back hike. However, for those looking for a challenge, the poisoned glen can be the gateway up into the Derryveagh Mountains. From the Poisoned Glen, those travelling eastwards can hike to Glenveagh National Park and visit Glenveagh Castle and its famous walled gardens. Those travelling west can enjoy a majestic ridge walk towards ‘Sliabh Sneachta’, before returning along the Devlin river towards the abandoned church in Dunlewey.
No trip to Donegal would be complete without summiting Donegal’s tallest peak,Errigal. Over a relative short distance, you will quickly climb high abovethe Derryveagh mountains and enjoy spectacular panoramic views that take in the golden slopes of Fanaboy, the white sands of Magheroarty Beach, and the sea stacks of the most remote inhabited island of Ireland, Tory Island. If you crave a more sedate hike, enjoy the meandering paths ofArds Forest Park and walk among its sand dunes, beaches, salt marshes, and peaceful woodlands. For those interested in Donegal’s cultural history, climb along the miners’ path that will bring you up Muckish mountain and descend by Droichead na nDeor – the bridge of tears – and experience the desolate beauty of this place.
These are but a small selection of hikes that are available to guests and are less than a 30-minute drive from Óstán Loch Altan. We encourage hikers to take all appropriateprecautions to return safely at the end of their hike.
For further information on walking and hiking in the area we recommend that you log on to www.walkingdonegal.net which is hosted by local guide, Seamus Doohan.