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Sep 25

How to climb the Sugarloaf in two easy steps

Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008 in Wicklow walks

HA!  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I can, however, show you where the cheat starting spot is, should you ever find yourself needing to reach new heights with little time to spare.  The Sugarloaf mountain is plonked majestically right on the edge of Kilmacanogue village in Co. Wicklow, just south of Bray.  You could park up somewhere in the village and approach the mountain from the eastern side, but  I’ve done it before and I wouldn’t advise it!  Here she is:


This shot is taken from the western side, technically you’re already half-way up the mountain, so it’s a sweet spot to start from.  To find this starting point, drive on the Roundwood road from Kilmacanogue village and keep your eye out for a left turn… it’s a barren place, so keep your eye out.  The road you’re aiming for is clearly marked at the junction as the L1031 which you follow for 200m or so until you come to a lay-by, marked by boulders and a redundant pole.


From this point to the very top of the mountain, I timed my walk as 35 minutes, this includes more rest-stops than I care to admit to, but on a beautiful day like today the effort was minimal and Wouldye and I even got to do a bit of sheep worrying along the way.


The last part of the hike involves a lot of scree which can be a bit tough to negotiate, but nothing ‘an old guy like me can’t handle’ according to an ageing American dude I met near the top.  It’s the sort of mountain that you have to climb with your eyes on your feet, to make the view an even sweeter surprise when you eventually turn around to breathe it in and congratulate yourself on such an achievement.  Having said that though, it’s not as hard as it looks!  You should most definitely try it sometime if you’re ever in that neck of the woods.





Bring on the comments

  1. Kirk M says:

    Well what do ya’ know? I’ve climbed up Sugar Loaf mountain myself a couple of times although this one is located in the state of New Hampshire and has a ski resort nailed to the top of it. Still, it’s a fine, hefty climb up the hiking trails in the summer.

    Nice pics and a beautiful view (of Ireland I mean lest you think I’m some sort of sexist pig).

  2. Thanks a million for this. I took your advice and went to Victorias way about 2 months back. I left confused (some of those signs went right over my head!) but amazed at the place.Also got to have a yap to Victor :)

    Must give the Sugarloaf a crack in the next few weeks if the weather holds up!

  3. Jo says:

    We used to climb it once a year for our sponsored walk at my primary school. In March. In sleet. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been up since!

    I will go your way though, sounds do able for the child.

    I’ve a horror story though – my friend’s Dad reached down to help my friend’s sister up, slipped, and slid down scree-y bit basically on her face. UGH. Bad.

    My daughter’s school walk the sea front and back this week – much more civilised!

  4. Myself and a mate did it for a lunch break a couple of times. It’s a nice short walk. Must bring the sprogs up sometime.

  5. Maxi Cane says:



    There would want to be some very hot naked chicks up there.

  6. OMFG! I am soooo jealous! The shots are breathtaking! Congrats on the climb, K8. :)

    I particularly like the panoramic view of the valley and the cloud vapours. :)

  7. Keiron says:

    I really must find time to do this next time I’m in Bray, the trouble I have is I normally only get over to Ireland for a weekend – and am normally Dublin based (other than popping down to Bray to see some family).

    My concern about the drinking at such heights is how on earth did they get down – crawling would NOT be sensible!!?

  8. Baino says:

    Now don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful and rugged place and a lovely view but if a bunch of drunk teenagers can leave their cruiser bottle on top . . . Nah I’m being a dick . . .I’d struggle! Did the Giant Staircase in the Blue Mountains and by the time I’d reached the bottom I couldn’t feel my legs!

  9. K8 says:

    Kirk M; This sugarloaf was alleged to be an extinct volcano, but apparently it turns out not to be and I’m extremely dissapointed. Thanks for the compliment re. green hills ;) Sure I wouldn’t be without them.

    Green of Eye; So delighted you went to visit Victoria!!! He’s a mind-melt, but in an extremely refreshing way dontya think?! It’s a pity, but he removed some of the enormous statues from the work-room… I hope you got to see them all!

    Jo; OUCH. It is pretty easy to snot yourself up near the top, but I’ve never heard of any casualties until now, though it must happen a lot. I hope she was ok? I’m half thinking of doing a sponsored climb for my laughingboy’s school… it’s not a bad idea, that.

    Thriftcriminal; Seems you’re not the only one… I saw a lot of Subway wrappers up at the top! Bizarre.

    Maxi Cane; There were lots of chicks up there… chaffinches/blue tits etc… it’s so strange what you people are into.

    Jefferson; As I climbed, I was shrouded by early morning mist, but it ebbed away by the minute… it was pretty amazing to watch the sunlight melt it away, pity I don’t have a snazzy camera – these are all mobile phone pictures!

    Keiron; I was thinking the very same thing myself. Luck o’ the Irish, maybe?

    Baino; This mountain looks like it’s an absolute bitch to climb, but it really isn’t anything compared to the Giant staircase. It’s the sort of mountain that makes you think you’re savage for climbing it but it pretty much climbs itself :)

  10. Well, I wasn’t actually eating up there, just clearing the cobwebs away.

  11. Maxi Cane says:

    I’ll have to be creative with this one…..

    I wouldn’t mind chaffing my inches on a pair of blue tits.

    Yes? No?

    Still wouldn’t climb no mountain.

  12. Camera phone? Jaysus, I wish my phone was that snazzy. :)

  13. K8 says:

    Thriftcrininal; Maybe not food, but I bet you had a pair of super-far-range binoculars so that you could spy on your neighbours? I know I did.

    Maxi; Hee! Excellent comeback. Wouldn’t blame you really… these urges to climb things come very rarely these days.

    Jefferson; This phone is da bizniz! It has a guitar tuner on it too :)

  14. let’s just say my head was nearly spinning after i met him K8!He seems to have an insane about of energy for someone old enough to be my grandfather!!The ones in the workshop were gone,so i just saw the ones that were dotted through the grounds,the ferryman was my favourite.It’s a really beautiful spot.

  15. K8 says:

    Yep, Victoria’s a melon twister. The ferryman’s my favourite too, but the 30ft starving buddha runs as close second!

  16. As well as the Sugar Loaf, there’s some more walks in Wicklow online now at

  17. K8 says:

    Sly. Go on then, I’ll let you away with that one ;)

    Thanks for the link!

  18. dessy says:

    im headin to the top of the sugar loaf 2mrw the 19th of sept 2010 with my beautiful fiance and our 3 children, hope the weather is good to us. goin your safe route, thanks for the advice, will keep you posted on our adventure, slan.

  19. K8 says:

    Woah, it was pretty turbulent today weatherwise- hope you all got there and back again safely.

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