There are many incredible natural formations, dramatic seaside cliffs, and gorgeous views and scenery across Ireland. The Ring of Kerry holds many of the most popular natural attractions. It’s a 179km-long circular scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula that has incredible coastal landscapes, adorable rural villages, and of course – plenty of incredible hiking trails.

The Ring of Kerry is full of incredible sights and is popular for many reasons. A few of its most popular stops are to hike through the Killarney National Park, explore the Skellig Islands, marvel at the Muckross House, or wander along the Derrynane Beach.

It’s hard to pick just a few hikes to take through this stunning part of Ireland. Ranked in order of easiest to complete to most difficult, here are the top 7 best hikes in the Ring of Kerry.

Rossbeigh Beach

Rossbeigh Beach

The beaches of Ireland are often overlooked, but they are spectacular. The Rossbeigh Beach trail in Dingle Bay is perfect for beach lovers who want to get a taste of the Irish coast and take in the ocean.

This easy and flat trail is popular for running, walking, and bird watching. The area has many sand dunes to explore as well.

When you start the trail, make sure the tide is all the way out to be able to get the best walk in. When the tide is high, the start of the trail is submerged.

Need to know

Length: 3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 150 feet (46 m)
Time: 1 – 1.5 hrs
Style: Return
Access: Start from Rossbeigh Strand – Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point.

Torc Waterfall Trail

The Torc Waterfall is part of Killarney National Park and is one of the most popular trails in the Ring of Kerry.

The lovely, wooded trail features fantastic views of Muckross Lake along the way.

This quick and easy hike has a rewarding view of the 66 foot high waterfall at the end.

There’s a bit of a climb to the top of the waterfall, but it’s well worth it and is downhill after that.

Torc Waterfall Trail - Ring of Kerry (Ireland)

Need to know

Length: 2.3 miles (4 km)
Elevation Gain: 587 feet (179 m)
Time: 1 – 1.5 hrs
Style: Circuit
Access: Start from Torc Waterfall Lower Parking Lot in Rossnahowgarry

Purple Mountain

There are quite a few stunning mountains in Ireland to explore, with these being one of the most popular. The Purple Mountains in Ireland have a unique and beautiful purple-reddish color thanks to the “Old Red Sandstone” particles it’s composed of.

The hike starts at the head of the Gap of Dunloe and continues with a climb up into the Purple Mountains where you will be rewarded with extraordinary views. Beware that it can be extremely windy at the top of the mountain, regardless of the weather at the bottom, so check the weather forecast before beginning.

Need to know

Length: 3.1 miles (5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,955 feet (596 m)
Time: 2 – 3 hrs
Style: Return
Access: Start from Head of the Gap of Dunloe in Gearhameen

Muckross House and Lake Trail

Muckross House

The Muckross House is one of the most popular Ring of Kerry attractions. You can do the full loop trail past the Muckross House, Torc Waterfall, and Dinish Cottage around the whole Muckross Lake, or explore as much or as little of the trail and attractions as you would like.

The Muckross House is a 19th-century Victorian mansion in Killarney National Park. The house itself is spectacular from both the outside and inside, but the gardens are a sight all on their own. The gardens were prepared during the 1850s for Queen Victoria’s visit and they hold the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden, and Stream Garden.

The Muckross Lake trail is moderately difficult and mostly paved with a few individual narrow paths. The café at the Dinish Cottage is about halfway and a good place to take a rest and have some refreshments. Some spots of this trail can be busy, but for the most part, it’s peaceful and has gorgeous nature and scenery to take in.

Need to know

Length: 8.5 miles (14km)
Elevation Gain: 1,148 feet (350m)
Time: 3.5 – 4 hrs
Style: Return
Access: Start from Muckross House

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe in the Ring of Kerry is one of the most popular stops for gorgeous views of the rugged Kerry Mountain terrain, lakes, waterfalls, stone bridges, and unique ruins. Plus, it’s well-known for outdoor adventures such as fishing and birding. Visitors can walk, bike, boat, or even take a horse and carriage through the Gap to see the scenery.

This Gap of Dunloe trail is the most popular way to explore and see the best of what the Gap has to offer. The trail is a paved road that starts at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and runs past the most popular features out to Lord Brandon’s Cottage, where you can return along the same path or take another form of transportation back to the start.

Need to know

Length: 14.1 miles (23km)
Elevation Gain: 2,175 feet (663m)
Time: 6 – 7 hrs
Style: Return
Access: Start from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandon’s Cottage

Carrauntoohill Mountain via Devil’s Ladder


Carrauntoohill is a popular peak to climb because it’s the tallest mountain peak in the Republic of Ireland. The Devil’s Ladder is the most common route to the top with an exciting climb up and back down.

The trails are well-marked but generally considered a challenging climb. The “ladder” part is steep with slippery rocks but rewarding views at the very top. Take the climb slow and make sure to check the weather because it will be considerably safer to do in favourable conditions.

Need to know

Length: 7.2 miles (11.5km)
Elevation Gain: 3,054 feet (931m)
Time: 4.5 – 5 hrs
Style: Circuit
Access: Start from Cronin’s Yard Campsite Parking Lot 

The Kerry Way

The Kerry Way

For the most committed adventurers looking for the ultimate hike in the Ring of Kerry – The Kerry Way should be your goal. It’s the longest Irish Waymarked Trail, marked with yellow arrows on a black background, and follows the entire Ring of Kerry loop across the peninsula.

If you can make it the few days that it takes to complete, you will be rewarded with stunning landscapes featuring the mountains, lakes, and coastline. You will pass through the most popular areas where you can extend your trip and take detours along other trails as well.

There are towns along the way if you prefer actual lodging over camping and bus services running through the towns in case you don’t want to go the whole way. Parts of the trail can be quite “boggy” and the views will be best if you can avoid rain.

Need to know

Length: 133.6 miles (215km)
Elevation Gain: 19,573 feet (5,966m)
Time: 6 – 8 days
Style: Circuit
Access: Start from Killarney
Further Info: Check out for more info.

Hiking in the Ring of Kerry will provide you with incredible scenery of green rolling hills and dramatic mountains along with stunning lakes and waterfalls. The Ring is one of the most popular areas in Ireland for hikers and adventurers for good reason. These popular hikes are perfect to find your level of challenge and explore the beautiful Ring of Kerry.

Have you been to the Ring of Kerry? Got it on your bucket list? Got any questions, comments, updates or corrections? Let us know by commenting below.