7. The Carn Hill / Knockybrin Loop

Looking toward Muckish and the Aghlas from Knockybrin Hill.

This loop may not seem that attractive on paper as much of the route is on asphalt, but the minor country roads are generally quiet and the piece of track over Knockybrin hill is a gem. The route offers lovely views of the north Donegal mountains on one side and the Swilley estuary on the other. For the walker, it is long enough to be satisfying (90-120 min) but can be easily completed of a mid morning or afternoon.

View northward from Carn Hill.

There is a decent amount of ascent and this is detailed in the graphic below. The normal start point is from the parking area at Mountain Top just outside Letterkenny (Bottom left on map below, set Google Nav or sat nav for Highland Radio.) but the loop can also be started from the Woodlands crossroads (Marked ‘i” on map), although there is limited parking here. This is a National Looped Walk and is clearly waymarked with white arrows on black posts.

  • Distance: 9.2 km from Mountain Top
  • Time: 90min – 2 hrs depending on pace.
  • Ascent: Up to 60m.
  • Facilities: None on route.
  • Surface: Asphalt road and some mountain track. Note: the track over Knockybrin hill can be damp and slippery in spots after rain.