Scotland has the best access laws in the world – you can walk pretty much anywhere! From loch-side strolls to walking in the highlands, or climbing the mountains, the best way of seeing Scotland is to #GetOutside on foot. Here are my favourite short walks. I’ve popped all my favourite Scotland walks on a map at the bottom of the post.
Best for – a quick stroll when driving up the A9 to Inverness
The enchanted forest – Faskally Wood, Pitlochry
The popular town of Pitlochry sits on the River Tummel and along the river are a series of beautiful short walks including Faskally Wood – otherwise known as the enchanted forest. Follow the woodland paths past the picturesque Loch Dunmore or walk as far as the dramatic Killecrankie – watch out for the bungee jumpers!
- Distance: depends on how far you stroll! The Dunmore Trail is ¾ miles.
- Faskally Wood – Forestry Commission Guide
Waterfalls and hermits caves at Hermitage, Dunkeld
The Hermitage is an 18th-century pleasure garden filled with giant Douglas Fir trees. There are various walks you can take through the woodlands of Craigvinean Forest, the most popular is to walk to Ossian’s Hall, where a viewing platform reveals the tumbling Black Linn Falls below. A slightly longer walk will take you to Ossian’s Cave, named for a local, blind, bard. Whilst the Hermitage’s tallest tree was felled in 2017’s storms, the walk through the Fir trees is stunning whatever the season.
- Distance – Ossian’s Hall – ½ mile, Ossian’s Cave 1.5 miles.
- The Hermitage Walk – Guide from NTS
Best for – a breathtaking view of a loch
Stroll around Scotland’s best loch (probably) at Glencoe Lochan
Ah, Glencoe Lochan, one of my favourite places in Scotland. Picture a beautiful lochan, surrounded by larches, cedars and spruces, with the dramatic mountains of Glencoe rising above it. The lochan is both a stunning and a peaceful place, and also little sad, for the Lochan was designed by Donald Alexander Smith in honour of wife Isabella’s native Canada; to help with homesickness. Sadly it never worked, but thankfully the lochan remains as a beautiful romantic gesture. For more information on Glencoe Lochan, have a look at my Guide to Glencoe.
- Distance – 1.5 miles
- Glencoe Lochan – route map
Peat Bogs and Bees on the Ben Lawers Nature Trail
Ben Lawers is Scotland’s 10th highest mountain, and this short walk takes you up its slopes through an alpine landscape to explore a National Nature Reserve. This is a perfect walk for families – follow the Edramucky Trail to discover the area’s bogs, flora, and wildlife – watch out for red deer and birds of prey soaring above. Actually climbing Ben Lawers is for the prepared, but if you fancy giving it a go, have a look at my guide to climbing Ben Lawers.
- Distance – 1.25 miles
- Ben Lawers Nature Trail – Guide from NTS.
Shout a rallying cry at Creag an Tuirc, Balquhidder
Creag an Turic (or Boar’s Rock) is a simply stunning viewpoint high above the small village of Balquidder – most famous for being the resting place of Scottish folk hero Rob Roy McGregor. However, this was once McClaren country – before the McGregors won the fight, Creag an Turic was used as the look out/rallying point for the clan. You can see why from the top! The view across Loch Voil is simply breathtaking.
- Distance – 1.5 miles
- Creag an Turic walk – route map
Best for – dramatic castles!
Discover Dollar Glen and Castle Campbell
Nestled below the dramatic Ochils mountains sits the imposing Castle Campbell and below, is Dollar Glen. Deep in the Glen are two deep chasms, carrying two burns – the Burn of Sorrows and the Burn of Care – worn out of granite rock. The glen is laid out with a series of bridges and raised walkways which dip you down into crevices, revealing the tumbling Hempy Falls, and glimpses of the castle – just imagine how intimidating the path would have felt to any invaders! For more information on Dollar Glen, have a look at my Guide to Castle Campbell.
- Distance – 1.45 miles
- Dollar Glen Walk – NTS Guide
A palace and a castle famous in Outlander, join the John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail is a coast to coast walk across central Scotland. My favourite section is to catch the train to historic Linlithgow, have a wander around Linlithgow palace and then walk to Blackness Castle. The castle, otherwise known as the ship that never sailed is also a famous location in TV series Outlander. You can also catch a bus Blackness back to Linlithgow (First Bus F49, every 2 hours).
Spot the Forth Bridges from the Shore Walk to Queensferry
Did you know that Edinburgh has a spectacular waterfront with over 15 miles of waterside walkways? Walking the Shore Walk from the quaint village of Cramond through the Dalmeny Estate to the dramatic Forth Bridges is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon. The walk takes you past Barmbougle Castle – did you the castle has its own ghost? It is said that the hound belonging to Barnbougle’s first owner, Sir Roger Mowbray (who was killed during the crusades) can be heard on dark & stormy night howling in pain at his master death.
- Distance – 6.5 miles
- The Shore Walk – Route map
Best for a waterfall walk
Hidden waterfalls at Acharn, near Kenmore
The falls at Acharn are a series of dramatic waterfalls above the banks of Loch Tay. A circular walk takes you through pretty woodland, with views back over to the loch, before dropping down into a steep ravine through which the waterfalls tumble. Do you dare to enter the Hermit’s Cave to view the falls? (a torch will be handy!). Best walked after heavy rain!
- Distance – 1.25 miles
- Falls of Acharn walk – route map
Climb up the Grey Mare’s Tail to Loch Skeen
In the southern uplands of Scotland, is Grey Mare’s Tail one of Scotland’s most spectacular waterfalls which descends 200ft into the Moffat Valley. Take the path to the east of the waterfall to climb to the hidden Loch Skeen, the largest in the Southern Uplands, and surrounded by mountains. Watch out for the wild goats on the path – the kids are incredibly cute!
Visit the Deil’s Cauldron, Comrie
To the north of the pretty Perthshire village of Comrie is the Deil’s Cauldron, where a series of waterfalls fall through a dramatic gorge. The walk is easy, and the landscape is all Perthshire pretty. You can take a short walk up to the two viewing platforms for the waterfalls – the Wee Cauldron, and the more dramatic Deil’s (Devil’s) Cauldron or do the walk as a circuit through the glen, and climb up to the Melville Monument for a fine view across Perthshire.
- Distance – 2 miles (there and back) 4-mile circular.
- Deil’s Caldron walk – circular route map
Best for – getting a little remote!
Climb the incredible Corrie Fee, The Cairngorms
On the edge of the Cairngorms National Park is Glen Clova, and at its head, a dramatic valley called Corrie Fee. Park at the Glen Doll car park and wind your way up the glen to discover a glacial landscape carved out during the last ice age. If you are feeling fit, climb up to the top of the waterfall which pours over Corrie Fee for a truly incredible view back down the glen. More on Corrie Fee.
- Distance – Max 4 miles to the end of the Glen (there and back)
- Corrie Fee walk – Route map
Tackle a mountain in miniature – Ben A’an
Described by many hill walkers as the perfect hill, Ben A’an is a ‘mountain in miniature’. Climbing it you’ll get all the practice in for future Munro bagging – a bit of a slog up, the steep huffing and puffing bits, a wee bit of scrambling around on rocks – plus the amazing views – and you only have to climb 454m (1500ft) to do it. The view across Loch Katrine is also one of the best in Scotland.
- Distance – 2.5 miles with 340m of ascent
- Ben A’an walk – Route map
Scotland’s best short hikes
You might also like:
Scotland’s best small hills
A beginner’s guide to hillwalking in Scotland
10 Munros for beginners
For more walks in Scotland visit WalkHighlands.
All hikers in Scotland should follow the Outdoor Access Code.
If you see me out in the hills (I’m there nearly every weekend!) say hello!
Love, from Scotland x