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A Tourist’s Guide To The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, County Fermanagh

  • Date: March 14, 2023
  • Time to read: 14 min.

A Tourist’s Guide To The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, County Fermanagh

Welcome to the third instalment of Enniskillen Tour Guides: a new series that will give you a detailed breakdown of the very best tourist attractions Enniskillen – and County Fermanagh – have to offer.

This week, we’re donning on our walking shoes and sharing everything you need to know about one of Fermanagh’s most popular attractions: the Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk Trail, situated 10 miles outside of Enniskillen.

In recent times, you’ve likely seen pics of this beautiful trail doing the rounds on social media. Also known as the Stairway To Heaven, the area is part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.

The boardwalk meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, and culminates in panoramic views of Country Fermanagh and County Cavan, after a steep climb up 450 steps.

What to expect

Two words: outstanding beauty. There’s a reason the Cuilcagh Broadwalk Trail has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. The views from the top – and along the way – are truly a sight to behold and offer the perfect backdrop for pics.

The walk stretches over 11 kilometres (seven miles) and you’ll need approximately two to three hours to complete the route there and back.

Make sure to bring your game face and plenty of energy too as the walk has been graded as ‘difficult’.

During your hike, you’ll walk on gravel track and a wooden boardwalk, take on a steep staircase and take in views of bogland, mountains, and wildlife.

At the top, there’s a viewing point where you can rest, refuel, and snap some pictures before making your descent.

Who’s it for?

This trail is a must for anyone who appreciates breathtaking scenery and stunning panoramic views, but it’s a tough walk – one that’s best suited to people of average to above-average fitness.

If you get out of breath easily, tire quickly when walking, or struggle walking upstairs, it’s a good idea to sit this one out.

How much is it?

£6 per car. This includes a premium, secure parking space for three hours and entrance to the Boardwalk.

Is it suitable for the kids?

It’s best to leave younger children at home for this one as the walk may be too long and difficult for little legs. However, older kids should be able to manage it just fine.

When is it open?

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is open every day from 8am to 7pm.

What else is there to do nearby?

Marble Arch Caves

These limestone caves were formed 340 million years ago and you can take a guided tour inside, where you’ll learn all about rock formations and the surrounding landscape. Not to be missed.

Topped Mountain

If Cuilcagh has whet your appetite for walking, or you’re on the hunt for a hike that’s a little less difficult, consider Topped Mountain. It’s a quick, 277-metre climb with 360-degree views at the summit. It’s free too.

Devenish Island

This early Christian monastic site has a round tower and many 6th-century ruins to explore. It has a rich history – raided by Vikings and burned in 1157AD – and is great for families who fancy a leisurely and educational stroll.

Special considerations

Make sure to check the weather forecast before you go to Cuilcagh Mountain and be prepared for changing conditions; it’s not uncommon for Fermanagh to see four seasons in one day. 

Comfortable walking or hiking shoes are absolutely essential and it’s a good idea to pack waterproofs and extra layers.

Be sure to bring along a flask of tea or coffee and a few snacks. The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is a long walk, and even if you aren’t hungry by the time you reach the top, you’ll have certainly earned a hot cuppa and a couple of biscuits.

What do reviewers have to say?

Many reviewers have described the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail as an enjoyable walk with stunning views, though most agree it’s not suitable for young kids and advise going on a clear, dry day when you’ll have the best view from the top.

One reviewer described it as “tough but rewarding”.

Another writes, “This walk is fantastic. The boardwalk was hard going in parts at the end but well worth it and the view was amazing. Really felt a job well done by the time we finished. Thoroughly recommend it.”

How to book

Good news! Booking isn’t required for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, however, pre-booking a parking space is advisable. You can do so via the Cuilcagh Boardwalk website.

You’ll want to time your visit correctly. The trail can get incredibly busy during bank holidays and weekends, so it’s best to avoid these times if you can.

For more information on what to eat, drink and do in Enniskillen, keep up to date with Enniskillen.com. 

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