We are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to great walks in North Mayo, and if you’re looking for a route that has scenery over which to marvel but is still a little off the beaten track, well, we’re here to help.
Here are ten of our very favourite walking routes in North Mayo, broken down by distance, with map links to their starting points.
Enjoy – and be sure to tag us on social or use #NorthMayo in your captions!
Check out our walks on our Google Map below:
1. The Carrowteige Loops
Five routes of varying levels of difficulty, from 3km to 13km
The routes around Carrowteige and the townload of Kilgalligan are still delightfully quiet and incredibly scenic. This area, while close to the Wild Atlantic Way is still a bit off the beaten track, but is well worth the spin to the edge of the North Mayo Coast where your walks will take you to areas like Rinroe Beach, Benwee Head, Portacloy Harbour, and along the cliff edges to overlook the Stags of Broadhaven and Kid Island.
This area will basically knock your socks off with loveliness, and you’ll find ancient features and modern sculptures along the way, depending on which route you take. We’ve linked them all below – take care at the edge and drink it all in.
The routes, linked
The five routes are the Slí Cheathrú Thaidhg – the Carrowteige Way (3km, easy, on road), the Carrowteige Beach Loop (6.5km, easy, on road) The Children of Lir Loop (10km, moderate), The Black Ditch Loop (13km, moderate) and the Benwee Head Loop (12.4km strenuous).
Dogs are permitted on the on-road routes, but not on the longer routes, as there are sheep grazing on farmland there. This is a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area, and all the routes above start at An tSeanscoil (the old school) in An Cheathrú Thaidhg (Carrowteige).
2. The Drumleen Loop Walks, Keenagh
3km and 6km, routes, easy & moderate
It’s in one of the most remote areas of the county of Mayo, and these really lovely trails offers a mixed terrain around Drumleen Lough, a glacial lake underneath Tristia Mountain. They take in farmland, on gravel paths, country ways and boardwalk, and offers beautiful views of the landscape. The 2.8km route is perfect for families with smaller children, while the 6km route brings you up the side of the mountain, though neither route is too difficult.
The silence, interrupted only by birdsong and the lapping of the lake is a treat. Again, this is farmland, so no dogs are allowed.
3. The Drumsheen Loop, Bonniconlon
Bonniconlon is located in North East Mayo, about 10km from Ballina, and is overlooked by the beautiful Ox Mountains, and the Drumsheen Loop is one of five walks in the area that vary in difficulty and length from 6km to 20km.
This route follows bog tracks, quiet roads and green laneways straddling the R294 in the shadow of the mountains, offering impressive views across the North Mayo countryside. It’s also suitable for mountain biking.
No dogs allowed.
Nearby, there’s also the Glen Loop (14km, moderate) and if you continue on the R294 into Co. Sligo, you’ll reach the Lough Talt loop walk.
4. The Enniscoe Loop Walks
2.5km and 3.5 km, easy
These woodland walks are some of our favourites, not least because you can start and finish it with a coffee and a treat at Kaffa Coffee!
This walk on woodland tracks, gravel and grassy paths through the mature natural woodlands of Enniscoe House Estate, right on the shore of Lough Conn opens up to a clearing by the lakeshore, all rewarded by tea rooms and shop at the end. The initial laneway surface is solid and usually dry underfoot but can get wet, muddy and narrow further in, so bring the right footwear! The woods are home to the oldest tree in Mayo and are perfect for families to explore – keep an eye out for red squirrels!
Visitors may access the looped walks through the North Mayo Heritage Centre and Gardens, or they may follow the signs directly from the car park to the woods and lake.
Dogs are welcome, but visitors are kindly asked to keep them under control as there is lots of wildlife in the woods.
5. The Erris Head Loop Walk
We’re back to the cliff edges again with this one, and back in An Ghaeltacht on the beautiful Mullet Peninsula, and this is probably one of the most spectacular walks in Co. Mayo. The route, which overlooks the Wild Atlantic offers views of Oileán Dhabhaic (Illandavuck Island), Pigeon Rock as well as some dramatic sea arches.
The route encompasses grassy paths, earth banks and open ground around the Erris Head cliffs.
No dogs allowed.
Want more walks near Belmullet? Try the Cross Blue Loop, which circumnavigates Cross Lough and is brimming with wildlife.
6. The Blanemore Forest Archaeological Walk, Moygownagh
This walk boast probably the best on-site interpretation in the county, if not the country, thanks to the work of local historian, Liam Alex Heffron who painstakingly researched the incredible archaeological importance of this site, which dates back 6,000 years, and has told its story on the boards throughout.
Preserved and partially concealed beneath the bog, standing stones, farm walls and court tombs hint to this area’s Neolithic history, and still and brooding Lough Naweela with its myths and legends brings intrigue. This walk threough the forestry holds your interest throughout, with a surprise around every corner.
7. The Callow Loop Walk
Comprising bog tracks and country lanes, this is a beautiful, peaceful trail overlooking the Callow Lakes, located on the N26 between Foxford and Swinford. The North and South Lakes are connected by a small bridged channel.
The Callow Loop trail is 6.5 km in distance and is suitable for both walking and mountain biking, and you can bring your dogs, but please keep them on leads.
8. The Letterkeen Loop
12 km, strenuous
Part of Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park, the Letterkeen Loop offers a mixed terrain of cattle roads, forest path and road, and scenic riverbank. You’ll climb and ascend, in one of the most secluded but scenic walks in Mayo.
Enjoy a picnic at the end – or before you start – at the Brogan Carroll Bothy, which also offers shelters for campers hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars in Mayo Dark Sky Park.
9. The Lacken (Lackan) Trails Blue Loop
This walk starts from the spectacular Lacken Strand, and takes you through minor and unpaved roads in this beautiful part of North Mayo.
You’ll pass Rathlacken Court Tomb, Rathlacken House, and the walk will bring you to the mysterious Gazebo, built on a hill overlooking Lacken Bay, the main strand and the Back Strand.
On a good day, you can take in views across the countryside as far as Sligo and Donegal. Bring your dog, but please keep on the lead.
10. The Larganmore Loop, Foxford
14km, Moderate to strenuous
Another Ox Mountains Walk, the Larganmore Loop which starts at Glanduff is part grassy boreens, part boggy mountainside, part quiet road. The views over the mountains, Rooskey and the lakes and landscape are wonderful, and you’ll spot features like graveyards, holy wells, and farmlands along the way. Keep an eye out for the goats!
No dogs, as the route crosses farmland.
That’s it for now – there are heaps of other walks in North Mayo we could have picked, but hopefully you’ll find a new route here to explore!
Remember, when walking, always wear suitable clothing and footwear, and bring fluids, snacks, a charged mobile phone and a light, if you’re expecting poor weather. Be mindful of weather conditions, and if you’re taking on a more challenging walk, consider using a local guide.
For more great walks in Co. Mayo, visit www.mayo.ie/activities/walking-hiking.