Mount Errigal Hike – Ireland

 

TRAIL DETAILS

  • Location: Ireland, County Donegal
  • Distance: 6 km.
  • Altitude: 750 m / 2460 ft.
  • Time: 2 hours. Will vary widely.
  • Difficulty: Moderate. Very steep ascent.

 

When I think back to our 2017 Ireland adventure, summiting Mount Errigal instantly comes to mind. Being the tallest of the Derryveagh Mountains in County Donegal, Errigal naturally peaked my interest. The weather forecast almost made us cancel our hike, but fortunately we decided to give it a go and pull back if things got beyond our comfort level. This is Ireland after all – what’s a little rain?

As we turned off N56 and headed East on R251 the iconic Mountain towered from the horizon and made everything in its vicinity appear insignificant.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

We continued past the Dunlewy Lough and located the small car park off R251 at the Eastern base of Mount Errigal.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

The approach from this side of the mountain looks far more inviting. Perhaps deceivingly so.

The first 45 minutes of the hike entails slogging through what seems like an endless bog. Hopping from one solid piece of moss to another only worked so long before we both got several booters and said f-it. Once we gave up on keeping our feet dry we made quick work of this soggy portion of the trail.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

After randomly making our way through the bog several makeshift trails began to appear at the base of the mountain. These all converged into one wide path made of loose rocks and scree.

The skies closed in, the wind picked up, and it began to pour. We stood at the base of the mountain and after a few minutes of pondering our options again said f-it.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

After a few minutes and several hundred feet of elevation gain the clouds parted and we were rewarded with an unforgettable view.

We were surrounded by small patches of rain clouds, a far off thunderstorm, blue skies, and sun rays beaming between the clouds. I have few words to describe the natural beauty we experienced.

Looking back at the trail and the vast bog we traversed at the base of Mount Errigal.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Looking East at the nearby peaks.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Looking South across R251 into a sunny valley.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

After a few moments of taking in the beauty around us we put our heads down and continued up the Mountain. With every step closer to the top the trail gets steeper.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Of course the break in the rain didn’t last and it wasn’t long before we were hit by another traveling cloud.

I cant think of many people that would accompany me on my adventures without complaining on days like this. I guess that’s why I married her!

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

The rain clouds continued to come and go as we continued climbing. The trail became more defined as we made our way up towards the summit of Mount Errigal.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

As it often goes with mountain hikes, the higher you climb the better the views.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Finally we got to a point where we could see the main ridge line and the multiple summits of Mount Errigal.

This portion of the trail was fairly narrow, had a lot of loose rocks, and was fairly steep.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

The beginning of the main ridge is marked by a large pile of boulders. The view here is great and many people turn around at this point.

We were experiencing a temporary warm sunny patch of weather and decided to continue up the narrow ridge of Mount Errigal.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

My wife ran ahead to summit the first “false” summit.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Following the exposed narrow ridge the trail climbs and dips along several more peaks on its way to the true summit of the mountain.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

My wife catching up after stopping to take a few photos.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

Once I saw the final summit of Mount Erregal I made sure to run ahead while my wife took a photo. Top of the world, or at least County Donegal!

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

 

After several high-5s, photos, and a quick snack the clouds started closing in and we decided to quickly scuttle down the mountain before we got stuck in a thunder storm.

 

Mount Errigal Trail, County Donegal, Ireland

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