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The best loch walks in Scotland

Think of Scotland and you think of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Scotland’s abundance of water gives it some of its most spectacular and famous scenery. With over 32,000 lochs in Scotland to explore, from the famous to the familiar, here are my favourite loch walks in Scotland. 

The best loch walks in Scotland

  • An Lochan Uaine, the green lochan – it is said the waters get their green hue from the local fairies washing their clothes in it. This 3.7 miles walk is popular with families.
  • Glencoe Lochan – behind Glencoe village hides a romantic lochan in a beautiful forest. There are three routes to explore and on a clear day, the reflections of the trees and mountains in the lochan are just spectacular.
  • Conic Hill, Loch Lomond – climb past a herd of docile Highland Coos, for an incredible view back over the whole of Loch Lomond.
  • Glen Affric – The 11-mile circular path around Loch Affric must be one of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring walks. Amongst the remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Scots Pine forest, the walk takes you alongside the River Affric, past Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain amongst huge surrounding mountains.
  • Creag an Turic, Loch Voil – hike up to Creag an Turic above Balaqhidder to discover a clan rallying point and a fabulous view over Loch Voil.
  • The West Highland Way, Loch Lomond – walk 14 miles of the West Highland Way alongside the east side of stunning Loch Lomond.
  • Ben Venue, Loch Katrine – walk up through the woods for an incredible view across Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and Loch Venachar.
  • Loch Leven near Kinross – Take a 13 mile walk around Loch Leven along the Heritage Trail to spot Highland Cows and visit Loch Leven castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned before she was beheaded.
  • Walk Loch Ness 360 – The 80 mile Loch Ness 360 trail which can be both walked and cycled in around a week and connects paths all around the whole of Loch Ness including part of the 73 mile Great Glen Way and the 26.5 mile South Loch Ness Trail.
  • Galloway Forest Park – Loch Doon and Loch Trool – the largest forest park in the whole of the UK is one of my favourite places to walk in Scotland. By day, take a hike around beautiful Loch Trool to find Bruce’s Stone under the towering mountains, or the short stroll up the gorgeous Ness Glen near Loch Doon.

Looking for more loch walks in Scotland, here are plenty more to explore!

Map of loch walks in Scotland

Loch Lomond Walks

There are few places in Scotland more beautiful than Loch Lomond – and the best way to see the Loch is by foot. Here are the best walks around Loch Lomond.

  • The West Highland Way – the 96-mile West Highland Way takes you from Glasgow north to Fort William. You can hike 14 miles along the east side of Loch Lomond along the route. Hike the West Highland Way.
  • The West Loch Lomond Cycle Path –  running along the west side of Loch Lomond is the 17-mile West Loch Lomond Cycle Path suitable for walkers bikers of all ages. Visit Balloch, Duck Bay, Luss, Inverbeg and Tarbet as you walk or cycle along the loch. 
  • Conic Hill – a popular Sunday stroll, Conic Hill is one of Loch Lomond’s iconic viewpoints. The climb will take you about an hour on part of the West Highland Way, past a herd of docile Highland Coos, for an incredible view back over the loch to Luss. 
  • Ben Lomond – one of the most popular hill walks in Scotland, this Munro has stunning views of Loch Lomond. To make the Ben Lomond route a circular one, follow the Ptarmigan Ridge down.
  • Firkin Point – park up at Firkin Point for a picnic area and a 6-mile path along the loch. The path is suitable for all and it is possible to go 3 miles in either direction from the car park.
  • Duncryne Hill – an easy walk for short legs is up Duncryne Hill (otherwise known as the Dumpling) with its view of Loch Lomond reached in only 40 minutes from Gartocharn.
  • The Arklet Trail, Inversnaid – from the Inversnaid Hotel climb up a very steep path above Loch Lomond for a fabulous view back across the loch from the Rob Roy Viewpoint. To climb the Arklet Trail, park at Inversnaid.
  • Beinn Dubh – Climb up the slopes of Beinn Dubh (The Black Mountain) above the Luss to spot the islands of the Loch. 
  • Looking for more routes? Download this Loch Lomond walking map.

More Loch Lomond walks

My guide to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

More Trossachs and Perthshire loch walks

A visit to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is much more than a stroll around Loch Lomond. With 22 large lochs to to explore, let’s get exploring!

  • The Three Lochs Way – The 34-mile Three Lochs Way takes you from Loch Long to Gare Loch and on to Loch Lomond crossing much of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park via military roads.
  • Loch Ard walks – explore two pretty lochs with this circuit around Loch Ard through woodlands near Aberfoyle
  • Loch Rannoch forest walk – visit the forest above Loch Rannoch on this 5 mile walk

Loch Venachar Walk 

Explore the forested banks of Loch Venachar on this 11 miles circuit with views over highland Perthshire. Stop at the Venachar Lochside cafe for lunch or a scone. Not got much time, visit the southside of Loch Venachar on this popular 4.25 mile forestry walk with great views.

Loch Katrine Walks

Lovely Loch Katrine is often viewed from the top of popular Ben A’an but it is also worth heading down to the water to explore, here are my favourite walks at Loch Katrine.

  • Lochside path – walk out from the Loch Katrine steamers pier alongside the water. This 11 mile walk can be combined with catching a steamer sailing from Stronachlachar.
  • Ben A’an – described by many hillwalkers as the perfect hill, Ben A’an is a ‘mountain in miniature’ with great views over Loch Katrine. 
  • Ben Venue – Whilst Ben A’an might be the most popular of all the Trossachs hills, the view from Ben Venue is actually even better. It is a bit of a slog up through the woods but the view across Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and Loch Venachar is so worth it. 
weekend breaks in Scotland Perthshire

Loch Tay Walks

Located just 2 hours north of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Loch Tay is a great place to base yourself for a Scotland holiday. Loch Tay is one of my favourite lochs as whatever the weather there are lots gentle bank side Loch Tay Walks…

  • Hike up to the falls at Acharn a series of dramatic waterfalls with views over the loch.
  • Explore the loch from the village of Killin, before visiting the famous Falls of Dochart.
  • Bag Ben Lawers (the 10th highest mountain in Scotland) or explore the Ben Lawers Nature Reserve.

Where to stay at Loch Tay

Stay at these gorgeous boathouses on Loch Tay

Loch Voil Walks

Deep in the heart of Perthshire just off the A84 by Balquidder, lies Loch Voil, a small loch just 8km in length. Climb up to Creag an Tuirc above the village you can see for miles. Nearby Mhor 84 serves food all day. 

Loch Ness Walks

  • Walk Loch Ness 360 – The 80 mile Loch Ness 360 trail which can be both walked and cycled in around a week and connects paths all around the whole of Loch Ness including part of the 73 mile Great Glen Way and the 26.5 mile South Loch Ness Trail. You can also run the Loch Ness marathon along the spectacular South Loch Ness Trail.
  • Caledonian Canal – stretching the length of Scotland’s spectacular Great Glen, the 62 mile Caledonian Canal sails coast to coast beneath the mighty Ben Nevis, through the maelstrom of the Fort Augustus Locks, across the huge expanse of Loch Ness up to Inverness. You can walk much of the canal on towpaths, and as part of the Great Glen Way.
  • Discover the Falls of Foyers – The 140ft falls at Foyers have been famous since Victorian times There are well-made but very steep paths down to the viewing platforms for the falls.
  • Climb up the Corrieyairack Pass – The Corrieyairack Pass is a remote pass across the 760m high Monadhliath Mountains. Short on time? You don’t need to climb far up the pass for an incredible view of Loch Ness.

Where to stay at Loch Ness

Stay at the Whitebridge Hotel, Loch Ness

Loch walks in the Cairngorms

With forests pepper-potted with deep green lochans, forests home to ospreys, reindeer, pine martens and red squirrels, the Cairngorms National Park is one of Scotland’s two national parks. Here are my favourite walks around lochs in the Cairngorms.

best places to visit in Scotland

An Lochan Uaine, the green lochan walk

Deep in the heart of the ancient Glenmore Forest and surrounded by huge Caledonian pines is the beautiful Lochan Uaine – where it is said the waters get their green hue from the local fairies washing their clothes in it.The 3.7 miles / 6 km walk up to the beautiful Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan) is a popular walk for families.

Loch an Eilein Walk

To the east of Aviemore is Loch an Eilein (Loch of the Island). There is a gorgeous 4.5-mile circular walk or cycle around the loch – look out for Ospreys and red squirrels. The castle in the middle of the loch was built by the grandson of Robert the Bruce, Alexander Stewart. Walk Loch an Eilein.

Loch Morlich walk

Scotland’s highest beach at Loch Morlich is a huge draw on a summer’s day – and swimming in the loch gives you beautiful views of the surrounding mountains – watch out, the loch is fed from snowfalls on the mountains, it can get very cold indeed. The 4-mile circular walk around the loch takes you along the beaches with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Walk or cycle Loch Morlich.

Loch Muick walk, Balmoral

Explore this large loch on the Balmoral Estate with views of Glas-allt Shiel house, built by Queen Victoria. The walk around the loch is around 7 miles and will take 3-4 hours. Hike around Loch Muick with this walk from Walkhighlands.

Loch Brandy walk, Glen Clova

Starting at the Glen Clova Hotel, explore the glen by hiking up to the pretty Loch Brandy with stunning views of the stunning Cairngorms Plateau.

Day Walks in Scotland

Highlands and Islands loch walks

Heading further north….

Loch Affric walk, Glen Affric

The 11-mile circular path around Loch Affric must be one of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring walks. Amongst the remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Scots Pine forest, the walk takes you alongside the River Affric, past Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain amongst huge surrounding mountains.

Glencoe Lochan

Behind Glencoe village hides a romantic lochan in a beautiful forest. Take a walk amongst the trees overshadowed by two of Glencoe’s most famous peaks; the imposing Pap of Glencoe which guards the entrance to the glen and Beinn a’Bheithir, the Mountain of the Thunderbolt.

There are three routes to explore, the woodland, the mountain and the lochan trail, a map is available in the car park and the routes are well marked. On a clear day, the reflections of the trees and mountains in the lochan are just spectacular. More walks in Glencoe.

Loch Coruisk walk, Skye

The circuit of Skye’s Loch Coruisk is one of Scotland’s most dramatic mountain walks. To get to the Loch catch a boat from Elgol to Loch na Cuilce. The circuit is boggy and has one ‘bad step’ where care is needed in bad weather, but this is a hike to remember.

best places to visit in Scotland

More west of Scotland and highland loch side walks

  • Loch Creran walks (Port Appin) – explore Glasdrum Wood for great views over Loch Creran near Port Appin in Argyll.
  • Loch Arkaig walks (Great Glen) – stroll along this pretty path to a bothy beside Loch Arkaig
  • Loch Maree walks (Poolewe) – climb up this hillpath for fabulous views over Loch Maree near Poolewe on Scotland’s west coast.
  • Loch Laggan walks (Fort William) – visit Laggan forest on a variety of paths – great for mountain bikers too!
  • Loch Glass walk (Dingwall) – visit the back of Ben Wyvis with this great walk exploring Loch Glass. Spot the famous pink house!

East of Scotland loch walks

  • Loch of Strathbeg walks (Fraserburgh) – explore this nature reserve at St Combs Bay to visit Loch of Strathbeg.
  • Loch Kinord walk (Muir of Dinnet) – visit the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve and walk a circuit of Loch Kinord.
  • Loch Lee walk (Glen Esk) – this walk in the Angus glens is a fabulous hill walk alongside Loch Lee.
  • Montrose Basin (Montrose) – the whole Angus coastline is a haven for bird life but Montrose Basin, an enclosed estuary home to over 80,000 migratory birds is a mecca for bird watchers. Managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust there is a visitor centre, walks around the reserve and viewing huts. Admission to the reserve is £4 for adults, children free.
  • Balgavies Loch walk (Forfar) – managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Balgavies Loch is a haven for red squirrels and lots of birdlife.

Loch Leven walk (Kinross)

Loch Leven near Kinross is a great spot to go for loch walk. Take a 13mile walk around Loch Leven along the Heritage Trail to the RSPB Loch Leven where along with the birds you can spot Highland Cows. In the centre of the loch, discover Loch Leven castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned before she was beheaded. The full walk around Loch Leven will take around 5-6 hours. Find out more at Visit Loch Leven.

Loch walks in Fife

  • Kilconquhar Loch walk (Elie) – visit Elie and Kilconquhar Loch on this lovely walk in the East Neuk of Fife.
  • Townhill loch (Dunfermline) – visit this small country park near Fife’s capital, Dunfermline.
  • Lochore Meadows – with over 1,200 acres of parkland to explore, Lochore Meadows Country Park is the perfect place for a stroll around the Loch Ore (3.5 mile / 5.65 km) trail. Visit Lochore Meadows.

South Scotland loch walks

Galloway Forest Park – Loch Doon and Loch Trool – the largest forest park in the whole of the UK is one of my favourite places to walk in Scotland. By day, take a hike around beautiful Loch Trool to find Bruce’s Stone under the towering mountains, or the short stroll up the gorgeous Ness Glen near Loch Doon.

By night, the forest has been named the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and is home to Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. The night skies must be seen to be believed! 

  • St Mary’s Loch walk (Selkirk) – walk 9 miles around the lovely St Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders.
  • Clatteringshaws Loch walk explore Clatteringshaws Loch to find the Bruce’s Stone.

Which is your favourite loch walk in Scotland?

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