From picturesque islands home to lovely beaches to the staggering views over the Highlands and mysterious rock formations – these are some of the most incredible things you’ll encounter when hiking in Scotland. Renowned for multi-day hikes, hiking in Scotland is an experience you will treasure for the rest of your lives! So, get your walking boots ready and conquer some of these hiking destinations to try in Scotland.
1. Isle of Skye
The otherworldly landscapes of the Isle of Skye make it one of the world’s most scenic destinations for hiking. Your hiking adventure will take you to visually appealing places, home to incredible wildlife. From coastal ambles to hilly walks taking you to the craggy coastline and eerie rock formations, the Isle of Skye has spectacular hiking routes to suit anyone.
The hike to the Old Man of Storr is a popular hiking trail in the Skye. An iconic landmark of Scotland, the Old Man of Storr, is a freestanding rock about 165 feet tall and surrounded by many massive rock formations. The hike to the Storr summit is relentlessly uphill, and you’ll go down 950 feet to get to the Old Man. Sure, it’s not an easy climb, but a stunning 180-degree view of the vast ocean and the peninsula off the mainland is waiting for you at the summit, so it’s worth it!
The trail at Rubha Hunish is a tranquil path leading you to the northern tip of the Isle of Skye. It’s relatively flat, traversing to moorlands before reaching a rocky and steep descent. You’ll come across sheer sea cliffs, where you can marvel at Skye’s most stunning landscape views!
Home to Scotland’s most impressive mountains, Glencoe is an ideal spot for hiking. It has countless scenic trails taking you to picturesque villages, majestic lochs, and lovely streams surrounded by imposing mountains. Whether a beginner or an expert hiker, you’ll find great trails to conquer in Glencoe.
The Coire Gabhail trail, also known as the “Lost Valley,” is one of Glencoe’s most popular hiking trails, taking you to wooded valleys surrounded by the gorgeous views of a vast plateau. It starts at the car park on A82 road that leads to the Glen Coe valley. From the car park, take a steep hike, ascending to 335 meters, before reaching the valley. When you arrive at the valley, you’ll find wooded paths taking you to various mountain peaks. You can continue with your hike or retrace your steps back.
The Pap of Glencoe may not be too lengthy, but it’s surprisingly challenging to tackle. At the top section, you’ll have to conquer steep trails and some tricky scrambling. Yet, the effort will be worth it, as it will take you to the centre of Glencoe, where you can marvel at seriously stunning views.
Falkirk lies in central Scotland, easily accessible from Glasgow, Edinburgh, or the Scottish Highlands. Its surrounding area boasts stunning views and has some of Scotland’s most picturesque trails, some of which will take you to fantastic attractions like the Helix, The Kelpies, Kinneil Railway, and the Falkirk Wheel.
You can hike along the Falkirk Paths Network, a series of paths managed by the Falkirk Council. The network of trails offers a range of activities, from cycling to walking, horseback riding, and canoeing, taking you to Blackness & Bo’ness, South Falkirk, and The Falkirk Wheel. If you prefer more challenging hikes, you should conquer the John Muir Way, a 134-mile trail starting in Helensburgh and all the way to Dunbar. Depending on your hiking abilities, the entire walk could take approximately 7 to 10 days to conquer. You don’t necessarily need to hike up the whole route. You can do it in sections, depending on what suits you.
The Helix Park is a gorgeous place to enjoy leisurely hikes in Falkirk. It has a network of scenic trails connecting various communities through a 26-km path. You can walk around the lagoon, past the Kelpies, or get down to Helix.
4. Fort William
Fort William is a playground for outdoor lovers. The picturesque town lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland, so it’s not surprising to find many hiking trails here. If you’re up for some challenge, you can hike up the Ben Nevis, but make sure you come prepared.
If you prefer easy hikes, consider hiking the 2-mile Lower Falls and Paddy’s Bridge path. Starting at the Lower Falls Car Park, the walk takes you to rocky hillsides with the river Nevis tumbling down on your side. When you get to Paddy’s Bridge, marvel at the stunning gorge and crystal-clear waters before hiking back down. Bring along some snacks to enjoy a picnic before retracing back your steps.
Another popular hiking trail in Fort William is the path taking you to Dun Deardail and Outlandia, starting at the Glen Nevis Car Park. The fort of Dun Deardail is a historic landmark built around 100 BC, while the Outlandia is an off-grid treehouse and artist studio.
5. Loch Ness
Hiking around Loch Ness is a fantastic opportunity to explore the vast lake, home to the infamous Nessie monster. The paths along the lake will take you to some of Scotland’s most stunning areas.
One of the most popular hikes along the lakeshore is the Great Glen Way, which takes you to spectacular sites like the Caledonia Canal, which is worth knowing if you’re taking part in a Scottish canal holiday. The starting point is in Fort William, leading you to Inverness. The final stages of the hike run along the entire length of the northern side of the lake. It’s a coastal trail requiring a few climbs taking you to fantastic viewing points and cosy forest areas along the banks of the lake.
The Loch Ness 360 trail runs the entire lake area, connecting some parts of the southern trail to the Great Glen Way. Generally, the circular route could take around four to six days to conquer, starting and ending in Inverness.