Start/End Points: Ardara town centre (OSI Map 10, Grid ref: G734 905) Loop walk
Access: Ardara is accessible by local bus services and parking is available in town for those with their own transport.
Hike Distance: 65km
Time to complete hike: Typically the average person will complete this hike in 3 - 4 days. With the majority completing it in 3. Depending on your accommodation plans, day 1 and day 3 tend to contain the majority of the hiking, with a lot of people spending their second night in Glencolmcille when doing the hike in a clockwise direction.
Difficulty level of Hike: Moderate to difficult. Some steep sections, but they tend not to last for long. Ground underfoot can be taxing at times due to its boggy nature so reasonable fitness levels are needed. (1734m total height gain and loss for complete hike).
Accommodation: During the summer months wild camping is possible, but it is important to seek landowners permission before doing so. Kilcar offers a number of accommodation options, including camping facilities, B&B's and self-catering lets (Short term lets may not be possible for some self catering rentals). Glencolmcille has similar options available to hikers including hostel facilities. Further details can be found in the accommodation section including accommodation options for Ardara.
Notable features and additional info: This is a signed walkway and relatively easy to follow when conditions are good using the yellow arrow markers. The majority of this hike is on defined pathways with the track varying between, national roads, local roads and country lanes. Elements of the route will take you over boggy land that can be extremely wet in places (depending on rainfall and the time of year).
The initial section of this route takes you out of Ardara heading south on the N56. This is a national road with no pathway so care should taken with oncoming traffic. After about 1.5km you will exit on to the R250 with the route becoming more remote leading up to the top of the Glengesh pass.
The route will then take you on to Kilcar and Carrick and for most people their first overnight stay.
From Carrick you will come to Glencolmcille and again have the option to incorporate an additional hike into your itinerary (Glencolmcille loop walk). The final leg of this hike will then take you back to Ardara, this is usually deemed the best/most scenic part of the hike and again is conducted in varying terrain.
Appropriate hiking footwear and clothing is advised, weather is very changeable in Ireland so wet gear should also be at hand. Be sure to pack sufficient food and water for each leg of your hike and have the necessary navigational aids including appropriate maps (OSI Map 10) and compass. Spare clothing and emergency contact numbers are also advisable. Midges are a problem in Donegal during the summer months so it will likely be necessary to have the appropriate spray/cream at hand. More Info