Killarney National Park consists of a staggering 26,000 acres of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls yours to discover. A network of tracks traverse the park taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth. Sightings of the recently reintroduced White Tailed Sea Eagle or members of the only surviving herd of Native Red Deer are just some of the highlights that may lie in store for you as you explore the famous Lakes of Killarney. Killarney National Park maps are available at our Destination Killarney Shop, located on Scotts Street or from Killarney Tourist Office.
Walkers can choose from low level parkland walks around beautiful lakes and through ancient oakwoods, to higher level hill walks on old coach roads and bridle paths, or for the more adventurous, take on the 3000ft plus summits of the MacGillicuddy Reeks. Long and short linear walks including some of the pioneering waymarked walks like the Kerry Way and the Dingle Way can be navigated in full or in part. Experienced and insured guides are recommended for high level mountain climbs, while for the longer distance walks guided options are also available.
Killarney has numerous loop walks where walkers return to the start point without recovering their steps – some can be completed in 30 minutes while others can take 4+ hours.
Killarney National Park Looped Walks
A great place to start exploring the National Park is the Muckross Estate, 5km south of Killarney Town on the famous Ring of Kerry. Most walking routes centre around Muckross Lake, and the quickest circuit takes around three hours. There are optional side-trips to Torc Waterfall, and these can add two or more hours to your walk. Starting and finishing at Muckross House, the walks involve a minimal of climbing and include visits to the beautiful formal gardens and historic buildings.
Muckross Lake Loop (15km, allow 3-5 hours):
Quiet green paths take you away from the Estate and down to small beaches and rocky coves of Muckross Lake, where you can watch heron hunt for food.
The trail then brings you to Muckross Peninsula, with the spur of the land separating the Muckross Lake from the larger Lough Leane.
Here, you enter Reenadinna Wood. Carpeted by moss and ferns, it’s worth watching out for red squirrels and the majestic red deer.
At the western end of Muckross Lake is the 200-year-old Dinis Cottage. You can grab refreshments here before heading behind the Cottage to a short path leading to the Meeting of the Waters – where Killarney’s Upper Lake flows down to join the lower loughs.
Lakeside tracks and wooded paths lead you back to Muckross House. Shortly before you arrive, an optional side-trip leads to the top of Torc Waterfall, but this 4km circuit can also be tackled in its own right.
Torc Waterfall Loop (4.5km, allow 2 hours):
Begin your route at Muckross House, leaving the Estate along the Lake Loop, but taking a right turn as you go. You’ll climb steadily through the trees to cross the Owengarriff River, just above the main falls. A series of steps leads you back down through the woodlands on the eastern side of the river to the viewpoint of the 18m high Torc Waterfall cascade. The trail continues by passing through a dry in the road bridge before rejoining the Lake Loop and returning to Muckross House.