Some small hills are so exquisitely situated that they wipe the floor with many loftier viewpoints, rewarding walkers with an unforgettable experience for minimal effort. Hikes to Conic Hill’s prominent summit, beautifully perched above the southern, island-studded shores of Loch Lomond, are a perfect case in point. On a good day, you won’t believe your eyes (or your luck) that views from such a gorgeously accessible hill exist.
Bonnie views from the very threshold of the Scottish Highlands
Conic Hill is on the Highland Boundary Fault, representing the very beginnings of the unique magic of the Scottish Highlands. Routes to the summit are well trodden and easy to follow over accommodating terrain.
The views are wonderful and commence almost as soon as your start gaining height. The wide, shimmering expanse of southern Loch Lomond, liberally speckled with a dozen islands, is stunning. Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps loom in the north. To the southwest, the peaks of the Isle of Arran and the hulking granite hump of Aisla Craig rise from the blue across the Firth of Clyde.
Conic Hill’s accessibility and low elevation mean that it makes for a perfect outing when Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps have been transformed by heavy snowfall. Suspend your disbelief for a moment and you could almost be staring down a Norwegian fjord or a lake in New Zealand.
Most walking routes to Conic Hill begin from Balmaha or Drymen via Garadhban Forest. Both offer a range of lodgings and eateries and are popular with picnickers and day-trippers from nearby Glasgow. There are a number of campsites, but if you are planning to wild camp, check the national park website for restrictions in this region.
If you're headed northbound along the West Highland Way, Conic Hill is your first challenge as its role as guardian to Loch Lomond below. Peaking at 361m (1184 feet), the walk up from the east is extremely steep with a gradient as high as 24%.
Tough it out however and you'll be rewarded with beautiful views over Loch Lomond, and on a clear day, you might even catch a week peak of Ben Lomond, Scotland's southernmost Munro.
September 3, 2018
Walk up was steep and very busy. Most people come down the same route, however the Komoot way down across this hills is much quieter and nicer! Only problem was gate, to field and beach, was padlocked at bottom - had to shimmy through gap 😳
August 19, 2020
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