• Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features

Experience Scotland in 57 miles — Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

GCampbellHall (CC BY 2.0)

Experience Scotland in 57 miles — Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson



3-6 h

/ day

58.3 mi

6,225 ft

6,200 ft

The Loch Lomond and Cowal Way is hailed as Scotland’s most diverse long-distance footpath. It explores some of the most beautiful and varied landscape the Highlands has to offer.

Fondly known as ‘Scotland in 57’, this sublime route enables you to experience the many characteristics of the country on one trail. From stunning coastlines to serene lochs, wild moorlands to fragrant forests, friendly villages to empty hilltops — no long-distance hike affords a better sense of Scotland.

Starting from Portavadie, the route cuts northeast across the Cowal peninsula to finish in Inveruglas, on the shores of Loch Lomond. The official route is 57 miles (92 km). However, with a few minor, clearly marked detours to some worthy sites, this Collection is 58.3 miles (93.8 km) in total.

As well as beautiful and ever-changing scenery, you can expect ruined castles, historic churches, clan histories, and prehistoric sites. You can also observe plenty of wildlife, including seals, deer, rare red squirrels, and mighty golden eagles.

Highlights along the way include: Asgog Castle, a ruined 15th-century keep in a picturesque lochside setting; Asgog Loch, a natural freshwater loch nestled in spellbinding surroundings; the Kyles of Bute, a narrow sea channel known as ‘Secret Coast’; Dunans Castle, a magnificent ruin in Glendaruel; Curra Lochain, a stunning stretch of water between the summits of Beinn Lochain and Beinn Bheula; Loch Goil, a pretty sea loch surrounded by mountains; Loch Long, a dramatic sea loch; and An Ceann Mòr, an art installation at the finish line that affords a magnificent view of Loch Lomond, the Arrochar Alps, and Ben Lomond.

Although the route feels very remote at times, you are never too far from civilisation or a main road. The route is waymarked too, making it a good choice for seasoned hikers and those looking to break in their long-distance boots.

One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the Loch Lomond and Cowal Way also connects with the West Highland Way, Scotland’s most famous long-distance route, and the Three Lochs Way, ensuring endless opportunities to extend the route or tailor it to your desires.

In this Collection, I split the route into four stages: 18.1 miles (29.1 km), 16.6 miles (26.7 km), 9.1 miles (14.6 km), and 14.4 miles (23.2 km), respectively. I have given a suggestion on how to split stage 1 into two shorter hikes.

You find accommodation at the end of every stage. However, places to stay can be limited so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling your rest days accordingly.

As it is Scotland, though, it is super-easy to tailor the route as you are legally allowed to wild camp, thanks to the Right To Roam act (see more at scotways.com/faq/law-on-statutory-access-rights).

To get to the start of the trail, you can catch a train to Glasgow. From there, you can take the 907 bus service to Dunoon. From Dunoon ferry pier, the 478 service runs to Portavadie.

At the end, you can book the Glasgow to Loch Lomond/Fort William/Skye service (No’s 914/915/916) from Sloy Power Station, which is a few minutes walk from Inveruglas, to Glasgow.

For the 907 service, visit: mcgillsbuses.co.uk/resources/site1/general/timetables/901-904-906-907-908.pdf.
For the 478 service, visit: bustimes.org/services/478-dunoon-portavadie-2.
For the Glasgow to Loch Lomond/Fort William/Skye service, visit: argyll-bute.gov.uk/glasgow-loch-lomond-glencoe-fort-william-isle-skye.

On The Map


Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

56.4 mi

6,100 ft

6,075 ft

Last updated: November 9, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

Learn more
komoot premium logo

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Portavadie to Glendaruel — Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

    18.1 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage is a varied hike that affords fine views of Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute and explores an enchanting lochside castle.


    Kicking things off with the longest distance in the itinerary, stage 1 is 18.1 miles (29.1 km) long with 1,125 feet (343 m) of uphill, and 1,025 feet (312 m) of downhill

    by Dan Hobson

  • Expert
    16.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A historic ruin, spellbinding scenery, and a flavour of Cowal culture lay in store on this hike.


    Another tough stage awaits, with 16.6 miles (26.7 km) of distance, 1,450 feet (442 m) of uphill, and 1,425 feet (434 m) of downhill.


    The stage begins with level walking up Glendaruel. When you reach the A886

    by Dan Hobson

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Intermediate
    9.09 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Expect empty moorland, peaceful lochs, pretty waterfalls, and a warm West Highland welcome at the finish on this stage.


    After two tough hikes, and with a gruelling finale to come, the penultimate stage eases up a tad with 9.1 miles (14.6 km) of distance, 1,075 feet (328 m) of uphill, and 1,200 feet (366

    by Dan Hobson

  • Expert
    14.4 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,600 ft
    2,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage takes you to the highest point on the Cowal Way, where you experience a sense of wild solitude and fabulous views.


    With 14.4 miles (23.2 km) of distance, 2,600 feet (792 m) of uphill, and 2,575 feet (785 m) of downhill, stage 4 is one of the toughest in this Collection.


    There is no easing

    by Dan Hobson


Like this Collection?



Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    58.3 mi
  • Duration
    26:27 h
  • Elevation
    6,225 ft6,200 ft

You Might Also Like

Hike Scotland’s most iconic long distance trail — West Highland Way

Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield

Spectacular weekend hikes in the UK – #UnitedBySummits

Hiking Collection by adidas TERREX

From Ouistreham to La Rochelle — riding the Vélo Francette

Bike Touring Collection by Guillaume Favez

High peaks and beautiful valleys in Italy – Aosta Valley’s Alta Via Trail 2

Hiking Collection by Marika Abbà