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Scottish Borders

Hiking in Scottish Borders

Hiking

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Photo: Derek Christie 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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Huge green hills, deep valleys, sparkling lochs and stunning woodland will all feature highly on your walks in the Scottish Borders. The majority of the region is rural and hilly, with two national scenic areas within its boundaries. Bordering England to the south, this stunning area also has a modest but perfectly-formed North Sea coastline with charming villages and rugged coves. 

Hikes in the Scottish Borders are amazingly beautiful, wherever you go. Instead of the vast mountainous terrain of the Highlands, here in the Southern Uplands you’ll meander along tranquil rivers, hike undulating farmland and breathe sea air as waves crash on rocks below.

Whether you’re here for long distance trails or gentle pub loops, the Scottish Borders will go above and beyond for you. Choose a trail and prepare to fall in love with this wonderful region.


Top 20 best walks and hikes in Scottish Borders

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Easy
    01:45
    3.98 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    02:59
    5.79 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:12
    5.23 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    03:49
    8.46 mi
    2.2 mph
    875 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    02:42
    6.19 mi
    2.3 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    01:57
    4.61 mi
    2.4 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    03:07
    7.44 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    03:25
    7.96 mi
    2.3 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    9
    Easy
    01:59
    4.57 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    03:18
    6.56 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    02:16
    4.20 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    02:26
    5.00 mi
    2.1 mph
    925 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    03:48
    8.04 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    14
    Easy
    01:14
    2.78 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    03:10
    7.41 mi
    2.3 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    03:37
    8.52 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:05
    4.42 mi
    2.1 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:33
    5.91 mi
    2.3 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    04:52
    11.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    02:57
    5.96 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

Exploring the hills of the Scottish Borders

This southerly region of Scotland is mostly rural, free of cities and largely hilly. You’ll find some of the most dramatic and best hiking trails in the Scottish Borders in the west and the south, where the hills are highest. 

Galashiels, Tweedbank and Melrose are neighbouring towns and make great bases if you’re looking for somewhere to stay. There are plenty of trails in the immediate area, both up hills for outstanding views and along the River Tweed. The river will guide you through wonderful woodlands and don’t be surprised if you see a lot of people fishing, this is one of the best salmon-fishing rivers in the world. 

When you’re exploring hikes in the Scottish Borders, you may well spot castles standing proud on hilltops and guarding the valleys. From the enigmatic, 13th century Hermitage Castle to the grand Thirlestane Castle at Lauder, Scotland’s history is all around you as you wander. 

Getting a dose of fresh sea air

Over in the very east of the region, walks along the Scottish Borders’ coastline are exhilarating, inspiring and frankly, pretty marvellous. The coastline here is rugged and windswept, with fantastic views north and south and wonderful cliff top plants. 

You can hike to Cove to discover it’s old fishing harbour and see the lighthouse at St Abbs Head. This headland is also a nature reserve and while seabirds are resident all year round, in summer, they fill the air and the cliffs with the sound of their calls. 

Choosing a time to hike in the Scottish Borders

Every time of year offers excellent hiking opportunities in the Scottish Borders and winter can sometimes be the most breathtaking season. During the coldest months, the sun tracks a low arc in the sky, which means you don’t have many hours to hike, but those hours will often have phenomenal light. With snowfall across the hills and in the valleys, winter treks in this region can be unforgettable. 

Spring and summer turn the entire area into a lush, green landscape filled with birdsong and flowers. Roaming the hills in these seasons and exploring the river valleys shows you just how wildlife rich the Southern Uplands are. 

Autumn brings the classic shades of golden, red and brown to the hills and glens. In the west, you might be lucky and catch sight of red squirrels hoarding food and it’s easier to see a full complement of stars without having to stay up too late. 

Whenever you choose to hike in the Scottish Borders, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to trails, landscapes and views.

Scottish Borders's best walks and hikes on the map

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