Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff Forest Park Walks: A Guide To The ‘Scenic’ Trail

Belfast Travel Guide: Glenariff Forest Park

Nestled among the Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland is the breathtakingly beautiful Glenariff, known as the Queen of the Glens. It is one of the nine stunning Antrim Glens in the region. Spread over an area of more than a thousand hectares, Glenariff Forest Park is a true wonderland. Its vast expanse boasts lushly planted woodland, serene lakes, impressive outdoor recreation spaces and carefully preserved conservation areas.

Glenariff Forest Park is open to the public and offers a myriad of exciting outdoor activities including horse riding, touring and walking, making it a perfect spot for adventure enthusiasts. Not just that, the park also features well-appointed picnic and barbeque areas as well as a tea house to cater to your hunger pangs and refreshment needs.

With its rocky gorges, the River Glenariff serves as home to an incredibly diverse range of mosses, liverworts and ferns. Thanks to the richness and diversity of these plants, the upper Glenariff Glen area has been designated as a National Nature Reserve. 

A highlight of the park is the timber walkway snaking through the picturesque glen, adjacent to the river gorge. This boardwalk was built about a century ago and lovingly reconstructed to provide an awe-inspiring walk.

Glenariff Forest is also a sanctuary for various animals that are of great conservation concern, most notably the red squirrel, hen harrier and Irish hare. The area boasts a range of walking trails that offer magnificent views and glimpses of wildlife amid the vast spread of verdant greenery. 

These popular trails are the Rainbow Trail, covering 0.6km, the Scenic Trail, covering 8.9km, the Viewpoint Trail, covering 1km and the ever-popular Waterfall Walk Trail, stretching for 3km. So, what are you waiting for? Come and explore the enchanting beauty of Glenariff Forest Park today!

Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff forest park waterfall walk

The linear 3 km route, situated in the village of Waterfoot, Glenariff, presents an idyllic walking experience as it follows the Glenariff River along the Glenariff Glen. The course offers breathtaking views of the Lurigethan to the north and the Garron Plateau to the south, concluding at Greenaghan Cottage on the Glen Road. 

If desired, one can prolong the route by pursuing the Glen Road to Larragh Lodge and accessing the Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall Walks. As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Glenariff, known as the “Queen of the Glens,” boasts of stunning scenery, well-worthy for a visit. 

The valley of Glenariff unveils rocky precipices on its sides rising to wild moorland, exemplifying a perfect U-shape. Its forest park has earned remarkable popularity, drawing a considerable amount of visitors to the area. 

On the nearby coast, the Waterfoot Beach, a gorgeous 1-mile (1.5 km) curve, awaits its visitors. Streams that cascade down the cliffs feed the river flowing through the valley, adding to the charm Glenariff possesses. It’s no surprise that this captivating gem of the North has been a tourist attraction for well over a century.


The Glenariff Forest route is circular and spans a distance of 5.9 miles (8.9km), with an elevation of approximately 300 metres. The estimated duration for completion at a moderate pace is between 2 to 3 hours.

Glenariff River Walk

When is the Best time to visit Glenariff Forest Park

Summers are considered the best season to visit Belfast. The city never gets too hot even during peak summers, but remains pleasant enough to bring people out of their homes and for tourists to enjoy the city in all its aesthetic glory. From May to September, your chances of experiencing more sunny days than rainy ones are much higher – although you should pack a raincoat just in case! However, any time of the year is a good time to visit Belfast as most attractions are open year-round. 

Opening times

Visitors are welcome to access the park on foot at any time as it operates 24/7. However, for those who prefer to use the car park, the gates will be open at 08:00 and locked at dusk each night.

Glenariff waterfall

Glenariff Forest Park 1 1

Cafe and restaurant

If you would like to partake in a meal, the Glenariff Forest Park Teahouse is conveniently located and provides a comfortable space to enjoy nourishment while taking in the beautiful scenery. Alternatively, the Laragh Lodge, which dates back to 1890 and was originally established to accommodate visitors to the Glenariffe waterfall and Glen, is situated in close proximity to the Ess-Na-Grub waterfall.

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Currency Used in Belfast?

Belfast is part of the United Kingdom so the pound sterling (GBP) is the legal currency. This is the same currency used throughout the rest of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland).

How many Days should I Spend in Belfast?

For an authentic experience in Belfast, it is suggested that at least 3 full days and 2 nights be allocated to discover the city’s offerings. The duration of the visit is dependent on the visitor’s preferences and availability; however, we highly recommend the aforementioned timeline to ensure an in-depth exploration of the city. We highly recommend this 3-day itinerary from Belfast.

Have more time in Belfast? Why Not Take a trip to Giant's Causeway

Giants Causeway Tour

The Giant’s Causeway is undoubtedly a sight to behold, and it has been recognized as such by UNESCO, who have designated it as a World Heritage site. Located on the stunning North East coast of County Antrim, this geological formation is not only magnificent but also mysterious. 

The area is characterized by polygonal columns that appear to have been placed with great precision, giving rise to countless theories regarding its formation – from the mythological to the scientific.

 As you explore this incredible site, you’ll have the chance to marvel at the interlocking basalt columns and incredible natural landscape. The Giant’s Causeway truly takes you on a journey through time as you explore the area and discover its fascinating history, making it a must-see destination for anyone interested in the natural world or Ireland’s rich and diverse heritage.

Best tips for your Northern Ireland Holiday So you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland, maybe you want to explore the Giants Causeway? Here are some useful tips and advice on how to plan your trip, so that you can get the best out of it. Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland has been voted one of the top travel destinations in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers. 

You can visit this place by taking a private tour trip. The Causeway Coast area is home to many beautiful attractions, many of which are well known such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, where you can walk over the ocean on a rope bridge. Another attraction is Dunluce Castle, which has been abandoned since the 16th century, when it was destroyed during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and is said to be haunted. 

There is also Old Bushmills Distillery where you can witness whiskey being produced in a traditional way. And not to be missed The Dark Hedges one of the most popular natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. How to get there: Getting around Northern Ireland is easy if you have a car or take a private tour.

This blog post will help you plan your next holiday in Northern Ireland, You will find out lots of information that will help you plan your next trip, activities during your holiday and when is the best time to visit.

Visit Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Combo Tours

Journey through the real-life Westeros on this fully-guided private Game of Thrones Tour from Belfast.  Follow in the footsteps of the Starks, the Lannisters, and all your favourite characters and embark on an epic journey through the Seven Kingdoms and Immerse yourself in the real-life Game of Thrones filming locations seen on-screen.

This is a must-see tour for any Game of Thrones Fan. This tour takes you to several of the Game of Thrones filming locations used in the series and also includes a visit to the Giants Causeway the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland, and walk the notorious Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. 

With this full-day experience, you will also get to visit the Glens of Antrim and the dramatic world-famous causeway coast and travel through the rolling farmland of County Antrim. The Antrim Coast Road is widely agreed to be one of the finest stretches of road anywhere in the world.

You have the option to stop at unexpected points if you wish for photo stops etc as and when requested. This tour can be tailored to customers’ requests.

We're here to help, so if you can't find the info you're after, or you just want to ask a really odd question, then we're here for you.

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