10 walking and hiking trails to explore in The Burren

The Burren offers a unique and picturesque landscape, making it an excellent destination to explore on foot. 

While the Cliffs of Moher and the Doolin Cliff Walk may be the best-known attractions in the area, The Burren and The Burren National Park have much to offer to those who enjoy a walk or hike.

There are trails for every fitness level, from short walks to multiple-day hikes. We will concentrate on ten rather moderate trails which we highly recommend exploring while visiting our region.

But before we dive into trails to discover the beauty of the unique limestone landscape –  First things first…

Couple exploring the Burren National Park walking and hiking trails. Co. Clare, Ireland
Photograph by Eamon Ward

How to get to The Burren National Park from Doolin?

Coming from overseas, you are most likely to arrive in Ireland by air. 

Depending on your choice of transport, you may have hired a rental car. A car hire allows you great flexibility when exploring our region and is also one of the easiest options to make your to The Burren National Park from Doolin. 

A great starting point to explore The Burren is the Burren National Park Information Point and Heritage Centre, based in Corofin and only a short 30-minute drive from our Lodges.

If you prefer not to drive on Irish roads, there are plenty of ways to travel around which include private drivers, taxis (cabs), public transport, coaches and rental cars. Further information can be found here.

Important tips when walking or hiking in The Burren:

Ireland can surprise you with four seasons in a day and may have a stronger sun than you’d ever expect given the common average temperatures. A few tips to keep in mind before getting out and about:

  • Check local trail conditions
  • Consult maps of the area beforehand and plan in advance
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Be prepared for weather changes (layer up)
  • Bring enough water 
  • Use sun protection
  • Be mindful of the weather, especially in the exposed limestone terrain of the Burren
  • Inform a competent person of your walking trip and estimated time of return
  • Know your limits and those of friends walking with you
  • Do not venture into the hills alone, there are guided tours available too
  • Be aware of ticks and their potential transmission of Lyme disease. Always check for ticks at the end of a day’s hiking.
  • Respect our nature and leave no trace

10 walking and hiking trails to explore in the Burren region

Burren National Park Nature Trail

Distance: approx. 1.5 km 

Located in the Burren National Park, this nature trail provides an easy to moderate walk through diverse habitats and unique flora and can easily be explored within 40 min. The 1.5km looped walk passes through mature ash/hazel woodland within a doline, hay meadows and open limestone pavement. On the trail, you will see beautiful views of Mullaghmore and Lough Gealáin. This walk is serviced by our free National Park bus service during the summer months and is easily accessible from the Trailhead car park.

Ballyvaughan Wood Loop

Distance: 5 km 

Explore the woodlands near Ballyvaughan with this loop, which combines forested paths with open limestone terrain. This trail can be perfectly combined with a visit to the Aillwee Cave. Map

Black Head Loop 

Distance: 8 km 

Starting in Fanore, the Black Head Loop takes you along the coastal cliffs, providing breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The looped walk winds through Gleninagh Pass and Feenagh Valley, then climbs past Caher an Ard Rois. After a short stretch on a paved road, it follows a green path to Ballelly before returning to Fanore Beach. Map

Turlough Hill 

Distance: 8 km 

The Turlough Hill walk offers a moderate hike with views of turloughs (seasonal lakes) and the surrounding Burren landscape. 

Caher Valley Loop 

Distance: 9 km 

This loop takes you through the picturesque Caher Valley, featuring limestone pavement, meadows, and stunning views. This scenic loop starts and ends at Fanore Beach and climbs the Caher Valley on a quiet road then traverses a breathtaking elevated green path before a tranquil descent. Throughout, expect stunning views of the Burren, Galway Bay and Aran Islands. Map

Lemenagh Loop 

Distance: 9 km 

This loop explores the northern part of the Burren, taking you through a mix of limestone pavements, grassy paths, and meadows. 

Ballyreen Loop 

Distance: 10 km 

The Ballyreen Loop offers a combination of coastal and inland walking, passing by the impressive Aillwee Cave and cliffs. 

Carron Loop 

Distance: 11 km 

The Carron Loop takes you through the heart of the Burren, featuring ancient stone forts, dolmens, and expansive limestone pavements. Map

Burren Way: Fanore to Ballyvaughan 

Distance: Approximately 12 km 

The Burren Way stretches over a total length of 112km, however it can be done in sections which include difficulties of moderate to difficult. This section of the Burren Way offers a moderate trail to explore the diverse landscapes, including coastal cliffs, limestone pavements, and lush green fields. Besides beautiful landscapes, forts and mystery, the Burren region is also home to excellent restaurants and coffee shops to allow you to fuel up after a day out. Map

The Burren Way - walking and hiking trails map.

Mullaghmore Loop 

Distance: 7.5 km (advanced trail)

The Mullaghmore Loop takes you to the summit of Mullaghmore, providing panoramic views of the surrounding karst landscape. While this may be a slightly more challenging hike than others, there are various options for this trail which include a loop, traverse and return route. See the full map here.

Ready to go?

We are happy to assist you when planning your hikes and provide tips and insights into the most beautiful spots in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

What is a UNESCO Global Geopark?

Celebrating Earth Heritage, Sustaining Local Communities – UNESCO Global Geoparks

UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. UNESCO Global Geoparks are: managed by a nationally recognised body such as a local authority or Geopark Management Group; visible to the public in their promotion of geology, sustainable development and education; and are part of the Global Geopark Network. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities has become increasingly popular. At present, there are 169 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 44 countries.

Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher is Ireland’s newest UGGp and boasts a strong network of eco-businesses living within its iconic landscape of karst limestone, caves and cliffs. Local folklore and food are promoted through Farm Heritage Tours and the Burren Food Trail. The area also has a unique flora and significant archaeological monuments. The Geopark promotes its geology and sensitive hydrogeological system through educational and outreach activities whilst pursuing strong practices in sustainable tourism.

Source Geological Survey Ireland – More information including GeoPark FAQs can be found here.

Areal drone shot of the Burren National Park, Co. Clare, Ireland

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