Looking for a short and sweet hike in Killarney, guaranteed to get your heart racing? Cardiac Hill is a great choice. As a bonus, there are some stunning views and you can also visit Torc Waterfall while you’re there.
What and where is Cardiac Hill?
How long does it take to walk up Cardiac Hill?
Most people of average to good fitness would complete the loop in approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. It took us 1.5 and we’re pretty average. Sometimes the estimation is long as 2.5 hours but this seems a little generous. If you’re super fit and speedy, you could probably get around in an hour. Either way, it’s a great choice for anyone on a tight schedule who wants some vigorous exercise in a scenic location.
Parking at Cardiac Hill.
There are several car parks you can use for Cardiac Hill. From Killarney (travelling clockwise on the Ring of Kerry/N71) you’ll find the main Torc Waterfall car park on your left approximately 1km after the gates of Muckross House. We parked here and visited Torc Waterfall before we started our hike but you could do this at the end of the loop walk. If you park here you’ll need to follow the path under the bridge (photo below) which will bring you to the other side of the road. Continue to follow the signs to the second car park and back across the N71 to the start of the trail.
Alternatively, you can drive directly to the second car park (400m on your right past the main Torc Waterfall car park). It’s closer to the start of the loop walk and the red trail is well marked from here.
Finally, you could drive on to the Dinis Cottage car park (another few hundred meters down the road on your right) . Again, you’ll be directed to the start of the trail from here.
Is Cardiac Hill suitable for everyone?
A detailed description of the route.
Once you get to the top of the first section of steps you’ll have a brief reprieve. The ground flattens out a little and, although it’s still rocky, it undulates rather than heading straight up.
You’ll continue along a relatively easy trail for about 15 minutes where you’ll come across an old stone hut and a well. You’ll then start your descent. There are a few stretches where you’re walking back down steps and the rocks can still be slippery. Watch your footing here. However, the path gradually opens out, the rocks disappear and it’s much more even underfoot. There are a few steep sections (the kind that, if you were jogging down them you might find it hard to stop) but nothing to be concerned about. When you reach this section you have the option of either extending your hike (by turning right to head up to the top of Torc Mountain) or continuing along the trail and visiting Torc Waterfall.
Before you’ll know it you’ll be back in the car park and feeling pretty chuffed with your efforts.
What will you need to bring?
We recommend to pack light. It’s a sharp but short trek so you shouldn’t need to bring much. If the weather is warm you should bring water but you could probably leave any snacks in the car for when you get back. Wear light layers. You’re likely to warm-up very quickly once you start climbing but you’ll cool down on the flatter sections, especially in cold, damp weather.
There are some public toilets near Torc Waterfall but don’t rely on them always being open. Best to go to the bathroom before you head out on your hike.
Inveraray Farm is a friendly and welcoming family-run B&B in Beaufort, County Kerry. We have spectacular views of the Gap of Dunloe and the MacGillycuddy Reeks. We’re also a 10-minute drive from Killarney town centre and 20-minutes from Torc Waterfall and Cardiac Hill.