Bluestack Way

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Bluestack Way
Hedgerow of Hazel and Sycamore - - 1531144.jpg
Length 65 km (40 mi)[1]
Location County Donegal, Ireland
Designation National Waymarked Trail[1]
Trailheads Donegal, Ardara[1]
Use Hiking
Elevation gain/loss +1,230 m (4,035 ft)[1]
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Moderate[1]
Season Any
Surface Bog roads, moorland, tarmac roads

The Bluestack Way (Irish: Bealach na gCruach)[2] is a long-distance trail through the Bluestack Mountains in County Donegal, Ireland. It is 65 kilometres (40 miles) long and begins in Donegal and ends in Ardara. It is typically completed in three days.[1] It is designated as a National Waymarked Trail by the National Trails Office of the Irish Sports Council and is managed by the Bluestack Way Management Committee.[3]

The trail was first proposed by a local environmental group, the Bluestack Environmental Group, and was opened in 2000.[4] It was partly funded by the EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund and construction was carried out by workers on a FÁS Community Employment Scheme.[4] A review of the National Waymarked Trails in 2010 considered that the trail was suitable to be upgraded to a National Long Distance Trail, a proposed new standard of trail in Ireland intended to meet international standards for outstanding trails, and also recommended that the development of looped walks off the main route should be considered.[5]

Starting in Donegal Town, the trail heads north to reach Lough Eske before crossing the Bluestack Mountains to the village of Glenties.[6] From Glenties, it follows the course of the Owenea River to the end of the trail at Ardara.[6]

The Bluestack Way is proposed to be included in the Irish leg of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT), an extension of the Appalachian Trail through Canada to Newfoundland, to all terrain that formed part of the Appalachian Mountains of Pangaea, including Ireland.[7]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Bluestack Way". IrishTrails. Irish Sports Council. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Bluestack Way". Placenames Database of Ireland. Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  3. ^ National Trails Office 2010, p. 32.
  4. ^ a b "Walking project backed all the way". The Irish Times. Dublin. 28 January 2000. p. 2. 
  5. ^ National Trails Office 2010, p. 33.
  6. ^ a b "The Bluestacks Way" (pdf). IrishTrails. Irish Sports Council. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "International Appalachian Trail (IAT) – Ireland". Irish Sports Council. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 


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