The Way commences in the southern suburbs of the capital and civilisation is soon left behind as the route moves deep into high, heathery moorland.
The Dublin and Wicklow Mountain range, the most extensive surface granite field in these islands, moulded over eons into a corrugation of east-west high rounded ridges and deep valleys, is crossed before the route descends across a series of gentle foothills to reach the County Carlow village of Clonegal. It is a richly varied route, with the more dramatic scenery of mountains and lakes at the northern end, where although there is a strong sense of remoteness and few habitations, one is never very far from a public road.
Among the dramatically scenic places taken in by the route as it wends its way through the mountains is the ancient and beautiful monastic site of Glendalough, where many will want to linger. Although the southern part of the route is less scenically impressive, the climbs are gentler as it wends its way along forestry roads through a landscape of conifer-covered foothills.
Wicklow County Tourism has an extensive online resource section on visitwicklow.ie, dedicated to help users plan and enjoy the Wicklow Way. There is an online map, planning suggestions and detailed information for each of the sections on the Wicklow Way. Information includes many points of interest, exit locations, and mobile phone coverage.
Terrain consists of forestry tracks, quiet roads, boreens and mountain paths through open moorland. Some sections can be wet and muddy. While there is some overnight accommodation available along the route, most options are off-route, so careful planning may be necessary.
The total ascent over the entire route is about 2820 m, but apart from some short steep sections, there are no significant climbs..
Ordinance Survey Maps of Ireland Discovery Series 1:50,000 Sheet 50, 56, 61 and 62.