For those of you planning to visit and walk the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail during the winter season we would like to advise you to plan ahead. Here you will find all the information you need for planning your visit:
The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail (Stairway to Heaven) route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase.
A steep climb is required to reach the viewing platform which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding low lands.
The first part of the walk passes through a fascinating limestone landscape, often referred to as “The Fertile Rock” due to its flower-rich pastures. Visible along the trail you will see abandoned Irish cottages, dry stone walls and potato cultivation ridges (“lazy beds”) all remnants of Ireland’s past heritage.
Continuing along the gravel vehicle track the landscape starts to change to blanket bog where the unmistakable, flat-topped ridge of Cuilcagh Mountain is visible in the horizon. In the spring, an abundance of bog cotton carpets the bog in a blanket of white, while in late summer the purple moor grass glistens with shades of red and purple.
After 4km, you start your ascent of Cuilcagh Mountain. The way is negotiated by a section of boardwalk, providing protection to the sensitive blanket bog beneath. If you’re fortunate you may catch a glimpse of a red grouse. The bird’s most obvious features are its plump shape, white eyelids with bright pinkish-red combs above, and feathered legs and feet. They stay on the heath all year round eating the short, succulent shoots of heather.
Your final ascent is via a steep section of steps, these are not for the faint of heart! As you steadily climb you meander and weave your way through a rugged boulder landscape to eventually reach the viewing platform. The viewing platform positioned precariously at the edge of the mountain plateau offers breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to take a well-deserved rest before starting your decent.
Access to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain beyond the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail viewing platform is not permitted. We ask visitors to keep to the designated path and to remain within the confines of the viewing platform.
The habitat in this area is fragile and we kindly request that walkers respect the environment and do not stray from the designated route. Your cooperation with this is appreciated.
- It is important to choose a walk that suits everyone in your group.
- Weather conditions on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail and Cuilcagh Mountain can be quick to change & can become quickly inhospitable all year round.
- Equip yourself for walking in a mountainous area with; waterproof clothing, boots with good grip and ankle support, spare clothing, map, compass, first aid, food, drink etc are essential.
- Be aware that mobile reception in the area is poor. Let someone know where you have gone and when you expect to be back.
- In an Emergency: call 999 or 101 and ask for Mountain Rescue.
Did You Know?
The habitat on Cuilcagh Mountain is very sensitive to the footfall of walkers and the boardwalk was constructed to prevent walkers from damaging the protected blanket bog. It is important to stay on the designated path in order to protect this beautiful habitat for future generations.
Getting to the Start (by Car)
There are two options for parking for your walk on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk car park (on attached map location 2). This car park is located at the start of the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. The car park can accommodate both cars and coach parking and is open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm (Daylight hours). This car park is privately owned and charges apply approx £5/€6. Coaches are advised to contact the landowner directly (this can be done by ringing the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre on +44 (0)28 66321815, you will be asked to provide a contact name and number which will be forwarded to the landowner to contact you).
Option 2- THIS CAR PARK WILL BE CLOSED FROM MONDAY 9TH NOVEMBER TO MONDAY 1ST MARCH 2021.
Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park (on attached map location 3). This car park is located a further 0.7 miles/1 km past the entrance for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. This car park is free and can accommodate cars and coaches and is open during daylight hours. There are toilet facilities (open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm) and picnic areas provided.
The Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre car park (on attached map location 1) is provided for visitors who are booked onto guided cave tours and guided experience only. This car park is monitored and outside the Marble Arch Caves operational hours the car park is locked.
How to get here
(Follow the signs for the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre from Enniskillen)
Take the A4 Sligo Road from Enniskillen. Turn left onto the A32 Swanlinbar Road. Turn right onto the Marble Arch road. Turn left, still following the signs for the Marble Arch Visitor Centre. Along this narrow road, there will be a sign on your left hand side for the Cuilcagh Mountain Park this is car park option 1, for car park option 2 continue along the road for a further .7 miles/1 km the Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park is signed and located on your right hand side.
There are no local toilet facilities presently available for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. The Marble Arch Caves is closed due to covid-19 and Killykeegan Nature Reserve Toilets are closed due to construction works.
We would advise persons visiting the area to plan ahead for using toilet facilities:
Belcoo Village – Public toilets 6.3 miles from Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
Derrygonnelly Village– Public toilets 25.1 miles from Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Derrylin Village– Public toilets 18.9 miles from Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Enniskillen Town– Public toilets 14 miles from Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.
Dogs are not permitted as the area is a working farm and a European Designated Special Area of Conservation.
Events or Walking Groups Information
For safety, conservation and insurance reasons walk leaders and event organisers are not permitted to organise, advertise or run an event of any nature in or along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail were participants exceed 20 without prior written consent from the Marble Arch Caves. This should be submitted well in advance of the planned walk or event.