With wild, snow-tipped mountains in the north, rolling lowland landscapes in the south and myriad lochs, rivers, glens and ancient woodlands, it is easy to see why the Scottish made Loch Lomond and The Trossachs their first national park.
Boasting some of the finest scenery in the world, the national park covers an area of 720 square miles (1,865 square kilometers). The wildly contrasting landscape affords a diverse and beautiful place to explore—making it a Mecca for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The diversity means there is lots of wildlife to see. Keep a lookout for red deer, the famously-shy red squirrels, black grouse, buzzards and hen harriers. If you get off the beaten track, you might be lucky enough to encounter golden eagles soaring high on the thermals or catch a glimpse of an otter hunting along the loch shores.
For the hill-baggers, there are 21 Munros (mountains above 3,000 feet/914 meters) to hike and 20 Corbetts (mountains over 2,500 feet/762 meters with a 500 foot/152 meter drop between them) in the national park. There are also 22 large lochs, numerous smaller lochs and lochans, around 50 rivers and large burns and the national park contains one of the UK’s largest National Nature Reserves, the Great Trossachs Forest.
This Collection aims to introduce you to the many different characters of this national park. From wild mountain hikes to gentle strolls around tranquil lochs, there is something for all ages, abilities, moods and interests here.
In these routes, you will explore Ben Lomond, the most popular of all the Munro mountains; take a spellbindingly beautiful trail up to the Cobbler, one of the most dearly loved Corbett mountains; and adventure far off the beaten track on a wild circuit of Meall an t-Seallaidh and Creag MacRanaich.
However, there are also some leisurely hikes here, too. Try the fantastic loop of Ben A’an, for example, which offers some intermediate hillwalking that is suitable for the family. Or, how about a brief stroll around Balloch Castle and Country Park from the beaches of Loch Lomond to fill an afternoon?
A good place to stay in the national park is Balloch; an enchanting village on the southwest shores of Loch Lomond. Often referred to as the gateway to the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, it has excellent road and rail links from Glasgow. There are plenty of places to stay and an assortment of shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs.
For information about Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, visit: lochlomond-trossachs.org.
For information on public transport links in the national park, visit: lochlomond-trossachs.org/plan-your-visit/getting-around-the-park/by-bus-or-trai.
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com.
This challenging, yet utterly spellbinding route traverses the most popular Munro mountain of them all—Ben Lomond.
From the Rowardennan car park on the banks of Loch Lomond, you follow the waymarked 'Ben Lomond Access Path' as it rises through mesmerizing mixed woodland.
The gradient eases a little over open moorland before ascending via the main summit ridge. Great care and attention should be taken here, especially in poor visibility, as the path runs close to the steep slopes above Coire Odhar and Coire Fuar.
When you reach the summit you are afforded a spectacular panoramic view; the Arrochar Alps, the big Munros above Crianlarich—especially Ben More and Stob Binnein—as well as Loch Lomond, Ben Ledi and Ben Venue.
At this point, most people retrace their steps to Rowardennan. However, a superb descent follows a good path over Ptarmigan ridge. Steep and a little exposed at points, care must be taken here but the views are exceptional and the hiking is sublime.
From here it is an undulating descent to finish, with fantastic views down to Loch Lomond and its many islands; across the water to the Luss hills.
This fantastic circuit of Ben A’an offers some intermediate hillwalking that is suitable for the family; something that is often hard-to-find in the Highlands.
Whilst this route is relatively easy-going it crucially does not lose any of the beauty and interest you would expect from this region.
The trail up to Ben A’an affords a marvelous ascent. A well-maintained and clearly marked path makes for leisurely walking, too—with the exception of the final ascent, which is a little trickier—and boasts incredible views along the way.
When you reach the summit of Ben A’an, you will see why it is so loved. At 1,491 feet (454 meters), it is not particularly high. However, its position at the heart of the Trossachs makes it a truly wonderful viewpoint.
From Ben A’an, it is a steady descent to the shores of Loch Katrine; a serene and beautiful stretch of water surrounded by snow-tipped mountain peaks.
To finish, you follow the shoreline back to the starting point, admiring the immense beauty of the landscape every step of the way.
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On this spectacular route you will traverse the summits one Corbett and two Munros—in some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery.
You begin by following a fantastic trail to the summit of Ben Arthur, which is also known as The Cobbler.
One of the most distinctively shaped mountains in Scotland, Ben Arthur is a Corbett; meaning a stand-alone mountain over 2,500 feet (762 meters) with a 500 foot (152 meter) drop.
Standing at 2,900 feet (884 meters), Ben Arthur may not be the tallest mountain but it is dearly loved as it is easy accessible and boasts some incredible scenery. The trail to the summit has been improved in recent years and once past the initial zig zags makes a pleasant ascent.
From there, you descend briefly before making the climb up to Beinn Ìme, the highest mountain in the Arrochar Alps. The mountain has a simple slope and a well-maintained path. As you might expect, at 3,316 feet (1,011 meters) tall, you are afforded some truly spectacular views from the summit.
You then follow the clearly-marked path to the third and final summit of the day, Beinn Narnain. With a much rougher and rockier character than its neighbor, Beinn Ìme, the route up to this mountain is more challenging that the others. However, the views—especially of the nearby Cobbler—are excellent.
Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain are both Munros; meaning a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet (914 meters) tall.
Getting off the beaten track in the Highlands is easier than most places. However, this short but challenging route goes one step further—taking you far away from most of the major routes through the glens.
Both summits on this route are Corbetts; stand-alone mountains over 2,500 feet (762 meters) with a 500 foot (152 meter) drop.
Creag Mac Ranaich is a hill of character with craggy buttresses on its upper slopes, whilst the higher Meall an t-Seallaidh takes the form of a long ridge. Together they make a delightful circuit hike from Lochearnhead.
To start, you follow the zig-zag track until you reach the old railway line, where you turn left and follow the track as it leads up into Glen Kendrum. At this point, head left and make a steep and challenging ascent towards Meall an t-Seallaidh, where you are afforded incredible views on a fine day.
From there, you follow the ridge over Cam Chreag; with the glorious landscape of mountains and lochs stretching for miles into the distance.
On this section, and indeed all of the high level walking on this route, take care, especially in poor visibility, as there are some very steep drops.
The final summit you reach on this hike is Creag MacRanaich; a fine craggy little hill that rises impressively above the head of Glen Kendrum and boasts awe-inspiring views.
At this point, you head back to the main path and retrace your steps back to the finish.
If you fancy a break from high mountains, rocky ridges and biting winds, this leisurely circuit takes in some lovely scenery and little culture, too.
From the tranquil banks of Loch Lomond, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, you cross the bridge and stroll into Balloch Castle and Country Park.
Loch Lomond’s only country park spans 200 acres and includes Balloch Castle, a delightful walled gardens, nature trails and offers guided walks. The area boast some breathtaking views over the waters of Loch Lomond, too. The country park is free to enter and is open every day.
Whilst it might only take an hour to walk around the country park, there is a lot to see and do, so it is well worth dedicating a few hours or an afternoon.
To finish this circuit, it is worth visiting Maid of the Loch and the Historic Steam Slipway. Assembled in the Glasgow, the Paddle Steamer Maid of the Loch was first of all bolted together and then taken apart, transported to her new home in Balloch on rail wagons and reassembled on the Balloch Slipway before her launch into the sparkling waters of Loch Lomond on Thursday, March 5, 1953.
These days, it is lots of fun to explore the historic ship and the steam slipway, as well as nearby Loch Lomond shores, sandy beaches, BBQ and picnic areas, bike hire, boat trips, fun fair, woodland walks and plenty of Loch Lomond shopping.
This delightful woodland walk packs a lot of punch for its size. With some fantastic views, two waterfalls and plenty of interest along the way, it is a fantastic way to spend an quick hour.
Auchmore is on the south side of the River Dochart and to the east of the village of Killin. Most of this route passes through mixed woodland and follows an estate road, which is well-maintained and easygoing.
Within a few meters, right next to the bridge, are the Falls of Dochart; a mighty cascade of water at the western end of Loch Tay.
From there, you stroll through the woodland until you reach a fantastic viewpoint from where you can admire a fine vista across Loch Tay to the Tarmachan Ridge, Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers.
From the viewpoint, you make a sharp right turn back to Killin along a minor road and finish by seeing another little waterfall.
Loch Lubnaig is a small but stunningly located stretch of freshwater nestling between the striking mountains of Ben Ledi and Benvane to the southwest and Ben Vorlich to the northeast.
This relatively easy-going route takes you through mixed woodland, moorland and farmland to some glorious spots. You will find the sense of tranquility and remoteness here breathtaking.
At various points along the route you get some fantastic views of Loch Lubnaig and the surrounding landscape until you eventually drop down into the valley and follow the Garbh Uisge—a river of approximately four miles (seven kilometers) in the Trossachs—which you follow until the finish.
A few miles before the end, however, you will stumble upon the Falls of Leny; a glorious cascade of rumbling water that makes for a great photo opportunity and place to relax for a moment.