Climbing Djouce Mountain

Climbing Djouce Mountain

You have a number of options for climbing Djouce Mountain. From the southern side of Djouce, it really depends on where you want to park – the JB Malone Car Park, Ballinastoe Car Park or the Wicklow Way Car Park at Luggala.

This article describes climbing Djouce Mountain from the Wicklow Way Car Park at Luggala (10km in total). The reason is that the Wicklow Way Car Park is the furthest away and the trail taken from here links up with the routes from the other two parking options.

Another nice bonus for taking on the longer route is that you get to walk through the lovely Ballinastoe Woods. If you are on instagram you will likely have come across pictures of the wooden boardwalk travelling up through the woods. The dappled light coming from one side of the walkway has led this section of Ballinastoe Woods to be dubbed one of Ireland’s “Most Instagrammable Places”!

About Djouce Mountain

One of the things I struggle with most about Djouce is how to actually pronounce it. The D followed by J seems completely alien to me. The best pronunciation explanation I have seen is to say it like “joust” but without the “t” at the end.

The mountain itself stands at 725m (2,379 ft) tall. Djouce is located in the north eastern section of the Wicklow Mountains and the 6th highest peak of the mountain range. 

The Route for Climbing Djouce Mountain

The majority of the route is along the Wicklow Way. As a result, large sections of the trail are via wooden boardwalks which make climbing Djouce Mountain very accessible. The Wicklow Way saddles Djouce so it is just a short detour off the way-marked trail to get to the summit.

Given the height of the mountain, Djouce obviously has periods of quick elevation gain, however summiting the peak is achievable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness.

I’ve included a map of the route below and a link to where I sourced the map from.

  • Distance: 10km (5km to the summit and back the same way)
  • Time Required: We completed the 10km in just under 2.5 hrs. We travelled at a good pace and didn’t stop for lunch
  • Elevation: A total ascent of 345m according to my Garmin
  • Difficulty: Hard – a moderate level of fitness is required 

How to Get to the Starting Point

I collected my good friend John on a blustery Saturday morning. The drive takes around an hour from Dublin City Centre to the Wicklow Way Car Park at Luggala.

We arrived at around quarter to 9 and the car park was pretty much empty. It’s a very large car park so would take a lot to fill out (unlike the Ballinastoe Woods or JB Malone Car Parks which can get very busy over the weekends).

We took note of the Coffee Truck set up at the entrance to the car park and decided this would be a great shout for the car journey on the way back. We figured we would deserve a nice treat after our 10km hike.

The Start of Climbing Djouce Mountain

The walk starts right from the car park with the trail leading in through Ballinastoe Woods. We couldn’t miss the starting point with a small boulder marking the entrance along a gravel path between two trees.

The gravel doesn’t last too long and soon we were onto a smooth earthen path through the trees before the start of the boardwalk.

Through the Woods

The Office of Public Works have done done a great job in providing high quality boardwalks for much of the trail for Climbing Djouce Mountain.

After a few minutes from the start of the boardwalk, we quickly reached the point which makes Ballinastoe Woods instagram famous. A clearing to the left allows sunlight to stream in which creates a beautiful contrast to the dark woods on the right. 

A tip here is to venture out into this clearing (you will see a little path to the left). We were lucky enough to see three lively deer making their way up the slope.

Leaving Ballinastoe

After a kilometre or so, we left the more established part of the forest and out on to a gravel path again. The trees here and younger and smaller. Along this section, we got our first look at Luggala across the valley. While Luggala is not the highest of mountains in this area (595m), the steep granite cliffs that tower over Lough Tay below make for impressive viewing.

JB Malone Memorial

At around the 2km mark, we reach the JB Malone memorial. JB Malone was the main instigator of the Wicklow Way – Ireland’s first long distance way-marked hiking route. The memorial marks JB’s favourite spot along the Wicklow Way. With stunning views over Lough Tay and Luggala it is easy to understand the reason why.

I have written extensively about the Wicklow Way. I can vouch that there are plenty more amazing views along this 127km route. There is definitely something special about this particular spot though.

Out in the Elements

We really started to notice the elements at this point – we were now well out of the cover of the trees and the wind was blowing up a gale. As such, we didn’t delay too long at the JB Malone Memorial. Instead, we continued uphill along the boardwalk.

The trail passes through a narrow section of Ballinastoe forest again before a steep climb up White Hill (630m). We enjoyed the lovely views from White Hill before continuing on again.

Towards The Summit

The top of Djouce is now clearly in front of us. Just after the 4km mark, the Wicklow Way takes a sharp turn to the right. We left the Wicklow Way at this point and continued up the well worn path to the top of Djouce.

While this section of the hike is the steepest, it is less than a kilometre which makes it a little easier.

The summit comes at pretty much exactly 5km. It has taken us about an hour and twenty minutes to get here. The views from the top are spectacular. 

Back to Base

I think we all have a preference for a looped walk. I find that out and back trails like this one offer a great opportunity to catch all the different views on the way back. In this way, going both ways can give you a greater understanding and feel for the route.

In any event, we certainly enjoyed the views on the return journey. Maybe they were more enjoyable because we were walking downhill.

I’ve included some more photos of the way back down after climbing Djouce Mountain. All in all, Djouce is a lovely, very accessible hike. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a nice day out close to Dublin.

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