Benbulben Forest Walk

  • Trailhead: Car parking, picnic area, information signage
  • Length: 5.5km
  • Ascent: 20m
  • Time: 1.5 Hours
  • Suggested Gear: Sturdy walking boots, trekking boots, snacks, liquids and mobile phone
  • Longitude: 54.362335
  • Latitude: -8.502346

The Trail Map:- OSI Map Series 16

Undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive mountain, Benbulben is sometimes referred to as Ireland’s own Table Mountain. The most distinctive peak among the Dartry range, it was formed during the ice age by massive glaciers segmenting the landscape.

Benbulbin Gortarowey Forest Walk

The Route
Gortarowey is all weather in nature consisting of a hard surfaced finish and is suitable for all ages and abilities. The trail begins in a secluded forest area before opening out to provide genuinely stunning close up views of Benbulben head. Later in the walk panoramic views of Donegal Bay are also available with the mountains of Donegal including Slieve Liag (League) highly prominent in addition to Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle.

Did you know?
Benbulben’s literary pedigree is arguably unrivalled in Ireland due to its links to W.B. Yeats, who is buried at Drumcliffe churchyard some 4km from the trail head of this walk. The steeper sides of Benbulben are formed from large amounts of Dartry limestone, with the smoother sides composed of shale. The unusual landscape houses an equally eclectic mix of flora and fauna, including Arctic alpine plants, wild hares, foxes and choughs.

*Sections of this route cross Coillte property, for up to date information on diversions/closures due to tree felling, please visit

Benbulben Forest Walk

Directions - How to get to the Trailhead.

Take the N15 road north of Sligo for 8km. Continue for1.6km after Drumcliff village. Take the right-hand turn signposted Barnaribbon up by a thatched cottage. Follow the road straight ahead, and keep left where the road veers right. This will bring you to a car park on your left under Benbulben.

28 thoughts on “Benbulben Forest Walk

  1. It was pretty cool. We liked spotting the sheep way up on the mountain. We thought one of the sheep was stuck at the top of the rock, but it seemed to be moving ok. We also saw a giant black slug on the trail. The views were great. We took the blue loop and had no problem finding our way back to the car park. Only complaint is it’s a bit long for small legs.


    Did this walk in April, the views were breathtaking and my mind was literally in another world..highly recommended!
    Im back in sligo next week however this time I dont have the car and would love to do it it possible to get there and still do the walk?
    Many thanks

  3. Done this walk in November was lovely but just a word of caution that when on the last bit of the walk I didn’t loop back into the park & walked straight on down the lane & ended back up on the main road where I had to walk approx a mile on the main road & back up to the car park, a nightmare walk. Stupid I know but if there was a sign I didn’t see it! ???


    Easy walk with panoramic views of coast and Benbulben. Definitely a highlight of a short-stay in Ireland. Despite the rain it, I really enjoyed this walk. Only criticism is that part of the walk is closed and I didn’t see any notices at the car-park so it added another 20mins on to the walk. Signage needs updated as a sentence at the end of the webpage isn’t enough.

  5. So very nice! The view of Benbulben is stunning. You can also see the coast so well from there and so many places to take rest and have a bite to eat or a drink. Cannot recommend it enough

  6. A lovely walk but needs improved car park and sign posting. It would be lovely too to see more native woodland planted instead of conifers,
    to improve both the experience and bio-diversity.


    Is closed the walk due the Covid -19 or it is working as normal?
    Would like to know this information please

    1. This walk is open as usual. But of course maintain social distance and avoid if the car park is busy.

  8. Lovely walk really a beautiful place, only down side is the car park its not near big enough people park on the little approach road and it makes it very difficult to get up and down to the car park, it needs to be extended
    Otherwise thank you for a great space

  9. Weather is not too bad as we enjoy the walk and the beauty of Benbulben.
    One thing we can suggest to place a sign when reaching the road..

  10. Going here on 30 December! Just want to Compliment you on a Fantastic Website....very thoroughly Done! Thank You!

    Going 30 December….but First wanted to thank you for the Fantastic Website!
    Very helpful, and so well done!


    Amazing walk with stunning views. If I was forced to pick one walk to do in Sligo, this would be it. (We did the slightly shorter cashel blue loop)

  12. Absolutely breathtaking – Benbulbin up close and personal, forest trails, sheep and cows grazing, a round fort and stunning views of the countryside and coast. It’s got it all!

  13. Very beautiful tame walk. We saw Crogh Patrick in the distance aswell as Sleive League. Worth the 40 minutes.

  14. Lovely walk with great views. One small point, the turn off the N15 is approximately 2.2. km from Drumcliff – not 1.6 as stated

  15. A walk to be highly recommended with exquisite views. Takes in mountains, sea views and wildlife. Take a snack, take a stroll and enjoy

  16. First time doing this walk today, first saw it on tracks and trails and thought it looked lovely. I was not disappointed it is a beautiful walk, stunning scenery, good track and the views of Benbulben spectacular and then when the walk loops around you get the added beauty of sea views. I was also impressed by the ring fort lovely place for a picnic. We went on a beautiful sunny day that added to the scenery. I would also like to say the walk is well sign posted. Will definitely return….

  17. Great walk but there is a need for signposting when you come out to the road from the loop walk. Glad we met a local lady who was familiar with the area.

  18. Touring the area and would like to thank you for highlighting this really excellent short walk (we did the red route about 5.5k)
    The scenery was amazing, luckily we had a blue sky sunny day which makes all the difference.

  19. Beautiful walk but could do with more signs because when you come out on the road there is no sign to say turn left we got lost and went all the way back on the same track

    we really enjoyed it and for sure will be back

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