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The Best Hikes in Scotland: A Guide to Must-See Places

Scotland is known for its stunning landscapes, from breathtaking glens and lochs to majestic mountain ranges. With so much natural beauty on offer, it’s no wonder that hiking is one of the most popular activities in Scotland. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or an epic trek, there are plenty of great hikes to explore. Here’s our guide to the best hikes in Scotland, so you can make the most of your time in the great outdoors.

1. Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, standing at an impressive 1,345 metres. The mountain is located in the Scottish Highlands, just north of Fort William. While it’s a challenging hike, the views from the summit are well worth the effort. You’ll have an incredible panorama of the surrounding area, including Ben Lomond, Loch Linnhe and the Great Glen. The hike takes around four to six hours, depending on your pace and the route you take.

The Pony Track

The most popular route up Ben Nevis is known as the ‘Pony Track’. This is a well-marked route that starts from the Glen Nevis visitor centre. The track is fairly easy to follow, but it’s important to bear in mind that it can be steep and slippery in places. It’s also important to be prepared for the weather, as even in summer the summit can be cold and wet.

The Carn Mor Dearg Arete

For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, the Carn Mor Dearg Arete is a great option. This is a more challenging route that takes you up the Carn Mor Dearg plateau and then along the ridge of the mountain. It’s a long and demanding hike, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a sense of achievement.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that Ben Nevis is a serious mountain, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared to turn back if conditions are too severe.

2. The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way is one of Scotland’s most iconic long-distance trails. It runs for 96 miles from Milngavie, near Glasgow, to Fort William, taking in some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery. The trail passes through lochs and glens, along the banks of the River Clyde and over the peaks of the Highland mountains. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, and you can complete it in anywhere from four days to two weeks.

The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a shorter alternative to the West Highland Way. It’s a 73-mile route that runs from Inverness to Fort William, taking in the Great Glen and the stunning Loch Ness. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the Highlands, without having to commit to the full 96-mile trail.

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The Rob Roy Way

The Rob Roy Way is a 94-mile trail that runs from Drymen, near Glasgow, to Pitlochry. It takes in some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery, including Loch Lomond, Glen Dochart and the Trossachs National Park. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of Scotland, and it’s perfect for both experienced hikers and those looking for a more leisurely stroll.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the West Highland Way and other long-distance hikes can be demanding. Make sure that you’re physically prepared for the hike, and that you have the right equipment. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

3. The Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK, covering an area of over 4,500 square kilometres. It’s home to some of Scotland’s highest mountains, as well as lochs, glens and ancient forests. It’s a great place to explore, with plenty of hikes to choose from.

The Coylumbridge Circuit

The Coylumbridge Circuit is a 7.5-mile loop that starts and ends at the Coylumbridge car park. It takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the park, including forests, lochs and mountains. It’s a moderate to difficult hike, with some steep sections, but it’s well worth the effort.

The Glenshee Circuit

The Glenshee Circuit is a longer, more challenging hike in the Cairngorms. It’s a 10-mile loop that takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park, including glens, lochs and mountains. It’s a demanding hike, with some steep sections, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Cairngorms can be a challenging environment, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

4. The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands, with its rugged coastline, dramatic landscapes and stunning views. It’s a great place to explore, with plenty of hikes to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s something for everyone.

The Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr is one of Skye’s most iconic landmarks. It’s a towering pinnacle of rock that stands at an impressive height of 250 metres. The hike to the summit takes around two to three hours, and it’s a great way to experience the beauty of the island.

The Quiraing Circuit

The Quiraing Circuit is a demanding hike that takes you around the Quiraing, a dramatic landscape of cliffs, pinnacles and sea views. It’s a challenging hike, with some steep sections, but the views from the summit are well worth the effort. The hike takes around four to six hours, depending on your pace.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Isle of Skye can be a challenging environment, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

5. The Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is Scotland’s longest coast-to-coast trail, stretching for 212 miles from Portpatrick to Cockburnspath. It takes you through some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery, including lochs, glens and mountains. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of Scotland, and it can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to complete.

The Rob Roy Way

The Rob Roy Way is a 94-mile trail that runs from Drymen to Pitlochry. It takes in some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery, including Loch Lomond, Glen Dochart and the Trossachs National Park. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of Scotland, and it’s perfect for both experienced hikers and those looking for a more leisurely stroll.

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The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a shorter alternative to the Southern Upland Way. It’s a 73-mile route that runs from Inverness to Fort William, taking in the Great Glen and the stunning Loch Ness. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the Highlands, without having to commit to the full 212-mile trail.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Southern Upland Way and other long-distance hikes can be demanding. Make sure that you’re physically prepared for the hike, and that you have the right equipment. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

6. The Fife Coastal Path

The Fife Coastal Path is a 117-mile trail that takes you around the stunning coastline of Fife. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of Scotland, with plenty of stops along the way. You’ll have incredible views of the coastline, as well as some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, including the Forth Bridge and St Andrews.

The East Neuk of Fife

The East Neuk of Fife is a great place to explore, with plenty of walks to choose from. The area is home to some of Scotland’s most picturesque villages, including Crail, Pittenweem and St Monans. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the East Neuk, without having to commit to the full 117-mile trail.

The St Andrews Coastal Path

The St Andrews Coastal Path is a 7-mile loop that takes you around the historic town of St Andrews. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of the area, with plenty of stops along the way. You’ll have incredible views of the coastline, as well as some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, including the famous West Sands Beach.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Fife Coastal Path and other coastal hikes can be demanding. Make sure that you’re physically prepared for the hike, and that you have the right equipment. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

7. The Arrochar Alps

The Arrochar Alps are a range of mountains in the western Highlands of Scotland, just north of Glasgow. The area is home to some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery, with lochs, glens and mountains. It’s a great place to explore, with plenty of hikes to choose from.

The Cobbler

The Cobbler is one of the most iconic mountains in the Arrochar Alps. It’s a steep, rocky peak that stands at an impressive height of 884 metres. The hike to the summit takes around three to four hours, and it’s a great way to experience the beauty of the Alps.

The Beinn Narnain Circuit

The Beinn Narnain Circuit is a demanding hike that takes you around the peak of Beinn Narnain. It’s a challenging hike, with some steep sections, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area. The hike takes around four to six hours, depending on your pace.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Arrochar Alps can be a challenging environment, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

8. The Trossachs

The Trossachs is an area of stunning natural beauty in the heart of Scotland. It’s home to lochs, glens, forests and mountains, and it’s a great place to explore. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s something for everyone.

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The Ben A’an Circuit

The Ben A’an Circuit is a 4.5-mile loop that takes you to the summit of Ben A’an. It’s a moderate to difficult hike, with some steep sections, but it’s well worth the effort. The views from the summit are incredible, and you’ll have an amazing panorama of the surrounding area.

The Loch Lomond Circuit

The Loch Lomond Circuit is a 7.5-mile loop that takes you around the shores of the loch. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of the area, with plenty of stops along the way. You’ll have incredible views of the loch, as well as some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, including Inchmurrin Island and Ben Lomond.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Trossachs can be a challenging environment, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

9. The Angus Glens

The Angus Glens are a group of glens in the eastern Highlands of Scotland. They’re a great place to explore, with plenty of hikes to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s something for everyone.

The Glen Clova Circuit

The Glen Clova Circuit is a 5.5-mile loop that takes you around the glen. It’s a moderate to difficult hike, with some steep sections, but it’s well worth the effort. The views from the summit are incredible, and you’ll have an amazing panorama of the surrounding area.

The Glen Esk Circuit

The Glen Esk Circuit is a 5.5-mile loop that takes you around the glen. It’s a great way to explore the beauty of the area, with plenty of stops along the way. You’ll have incredible views of the glen, as well as some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, including the Devil’s Elbow and the Angus Glens.

Safety Tips

It’s important to bear in mind that the Angus Glens can be a challenging environment, and it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, including a map, compass, waterproofs and extra layers. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you set off, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.