Ideally located just 15 minutes from both Carrigaline and Kinsale, Tracton Woods, a place which hosted numerous IMRA events in the past, is very popular amongst trail runners throughout Cork. Comprised of enchanting forest paths and demanding mountain bike trails which can be from 7 – 21km with 200 – 600m elevation gain, Tracton Woods is the perfect training ground for all runners.
- Distance: 11 km
- Elevation Gain: 275m
- Terrain: Forrest Paths and Mountain Bike Trails
- GPS Starting Point: 51°45’41.3″N 8°23’32.9″W
- Additional Parking: The Overdraught Restaurant
From the very entrance of Tracton Woods there is an endless number of directions you could take and that is what makes it more interesting, you never have to run the same route twice, nor have I.
However, I recommend following the initial forest path naturally in an anti-clockwise direction for approximately 400m and entering the dense woods via the first mountain bike trail on your right. Follow this as it bends and rises to what is the edge of the woods on the eastern side of the forest, continue straight as you climb higher, take care for the roots underfoot. As you emerge from within the forest the immensity of Tracton Woods opens before and the direction becomes more apparent. Pick up a bit of speed on the downhill section ahead of you, keep close along the forest boundary and innately follow the narrow, undulating trail for approximately 1.5kms crossing the little stream to face the western side of the forest. Tread carefully out and back along the recent deforested area until you cross the stream via the wooden bridge after a series of fast, downhill turns. Follow the stream for about 1km until you enter the forest area located in the middle of Tracton Woods. Cross the stream once more and take a few deep breaths before taking on the steepest section of the route. Climb until you join the walking trail but do not be tempted by the inviting downhill ahead of you, instead turn sharply, continue uphill around the back of the western forest and the highest point of Tracton Woods. From here, keep high along western boundary line and enjoy the speedy downhill sections through winding forests paths until you reach the main walking trail. Keeping left, proceed uphill, double-back down the steep section, across the stream, through the woods up to a fire road, jump on the first trail heading for the stream and follow this back as far as the first wooden bridge. Merge with the fire road, take your pick of trails on the left which bring you high into the eastern forest where you first emerged, descend quickly via the sharp turns of the mountain bike trails and before you know it, you escape the forest on the path home with a 400m finish to where you started.