A change is as good as a rest or so they say. We are spoiled for choice in terms of where to go for a walk, run or cycle in Killarney. Every now and again, it’s good to go a bit off the beaten track. The forest trail of the Pike Wood is a fine example of a route less traveled and less known but still worthy of a visit.
Maybe it’s because the Pike Wood trail is not officially within the environs of Killarney National Park or perhaps it’s due to its linear “there and back again” route, but for some reason, I have neglected this trail over the years. A realignment of the main Killarney to Cork road has made it more difficult to access, especially if you are arriving by car. It may not be up there in the “hidden gems” category of trails around Killarney but I think you’ll enjoy it because it’s a little bit different.
The Pike Wood trail is in an area managed by Coillte and you start from the main N22 road just outside the town. On a recent visit there I used the mapmyfitness app on my phone to create the map below
If you’re in a car, parking can be a challenge as there is no official car park. Astute positioning of the car is required but take care not to block the rough track at the entrance.
With the Coillte sign on your left and the sounds of the river to your right, make your way along the forest trail. Continue along upstream and the sound of the traffic fades into the distance behind you. The Woodford stream is flowing against you on its way to join the Flesk river before reaching its final stop at Lough Leane.
Before long you will come across a little bridge over the river that leads to a clearing in the forest. A nice spot for a summer picnic or a bit of paddling on the rocks. Make your way back over the river and return to the original pathway. As you wind along, the forest alternates between deciduous and evergreen which gives a nice contrast to the trail.
The path rises up above the river and forms a lovely carpet of leaves during the autumn. As you head on further down the path, you are now almost at the turning point on the trail. If you’re feeling adventurous you can head off the trail on to some dirt tracks between the trees as they bank up the hill towards the end of the trail. Otherwise, turn on your heels and retrace your steps to bring you back to base.
Short and Sweet
This little trail is nice for a short and sweet stroll if you are caught for time and in the mood for something a little different. In the summer time, it can be lovely for a shaded picnic by the river. At any time of the year, it is a nice, quiet escape that tends to be less busy than some other trails nearby. Go have a look, it’s well worth a visit.