The GO Outdoors Guide to Loch Lomond & Trossachs - 50 Reasons to visit
Outdoors enthusiasts and adventure-seekers, listen up! If you’re ready for a new challenge, you’ll love what’s on offer in Loch Lomond. Whether you’re passionate about climbing, a keen walker or interested in exploring new cycling trails, there’s something to suit all tastes.
We’ve compiled a series of guides to discovering Loch Lomond so you can plan ahead to make the most of your trip – and with so much on offer, you may find yourself wanting to return again and again.
You don’t have to be an outdoors expert to enjoy Loch Lomond – as long as you’re not afraid of a bit of mud and you’re up for trying something new, we guarantee you’ll love every minute of your visit.
And don’t forget your youngsters. We have plenty of suggestions for family-friendly days out, suitable for children of all ages. You could be getting up close and personal to birds of prey in the morning and taking part in an outdoor assault course in the afternoon.
So what are you waiting for? Dig out your sturdy boots, pack your waterproofs and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. In need of some protective gear before you set off? Check out the GO Outdoors range of specialist footwear, walking equipment and cycle clothing to make sure you’re fully prepared for all eventualities.
- Loch Lomond & Trossachs Walks
- Loch Lomond & Trossachs Cycle Routes
- Loch Lomond & Trossachs Climbing Routes
- Loch Lomond & Trossachs Family Activities
- Loch Lomond & Trossachs Try Something New
From short strolls to challenging climbs, there are walks suitable for all abilities in Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
- Balmaha Millennium Forest Path – (for all abilities)
You’ll need your binoculars for this mile-long route through the forest as there’s lots of wildlife to be spotted, including crossbills, siskins and goldcrests, as well as beech trees and the nation’s only large native conifer. Allow yourself around 45 minutes to complete this walk as there are some steep sections along the way.
More Information: http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/images/stories/Looking%20After/PDF/publication%20pdfs/Balmaha%202012_web.pdf
- The Great Trossachs Path 1 – (moderately difficult)
Starting at Inversnaid, make your way along shared mountain bike paths and roads to Trossachs pier, taking care on the steep rough path that makes up the first section of this route. At just less than 18 miles long, expect this route to take around eight hours to complete so be sure to take plenty of provisions for the journey.
More Information: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochlomond/great-trossachs-path-1.shtml
- The Great Trossachs Path 2 – (easy to moderate)
A little shorter than the first path, this route is 12 miles long and should take you around five hours to complete. It starts from Trossachs pier car park and takes you along the minor roads around Loch Achray to Brig o’Turk where you can stop for a mid-way cuppa and a cake in the tearoom. You’ll then take the shared mountain bike path to Callander.
More Information: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochlomond/great-trossachs-path-2.shtml
- Ben Arthur “The Cobbler” – (moderately difficult)
If you’ve got a head for heights, this iconic mountain route is a must-complete during your stay in Loch Lomond. Ascending 3200 feet, you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views over Loch Long. Although not given Munro status, Ben Arthur is considered one of Scotland’s most popular peaks.
More Information: Link
- Cashel Forest Walk – (moderately difficult)
For the best scenic views of Loch Lomond, you’ll need to be prepared to climb – but that doesn’t mean you have to be an advanced walker. At three miles long, The Red Loop covers a fairly short distance, albeit with a steep uphill walk. With stunning views along the entire route though, you can’t complain.
More Information: http://www.cashel.org.uk/walk-2.html
- The Aber Trail – (for all abilities)
There’s plenty to see on The Aber Trail which starts at Millennium Hall and ends at Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. From alder and ash trees to buzzards, wood warblers and tree pipits, it’s the ideal route for nature-lovers. For more information about the local area, head to Trossachs.co.uk.
More Information: http://www.trossachs.co.uk/PDF/The-Aber-Trail.pdf
- Callander Crags – (strenuous)
This strenuous route covers just over two miles of paths with some rough rock sections and uneven steps – the views from the top of the crags make it well worth it though. It is advisable to bring sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing. You may also find a bottle of water helpful as you’ll be climbing for around 90 minutes. A section of the route is currently closed due to storm damaged trees although it is still possible to access the cairn at the summit.
More Information: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/queen-elizabeth-forest-park/callander-crags
- Ben A’ an hill path – (strenuous)
This short 3.7 mile hill walk takes you through forest paths before leading you upwards for the final stretch. You’ll be well rewarded for your two hours’ walking with stunning views over Loch Katrine and the surrounding countryside. Stop off at one of the nearby cafes at the Trossachs Pier for well-deserved tea and cake afterwards. Please note that this route is currently diverted due to tree felling and path upgrade works. It is anticipated that the main route will re-open in spring 2016.
More Information: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/queen-elizabeth-forest-park/ben-aan/improvement-programme
- Ben Lomond – (for all abilities)
With gentle terrain and little navigation required, Ben Lomond is one of the easiest Munros – in fact, it’s so popular with walkers that it’s one of Scotland’s most-climbed hills, second to Ben Nevis. If you’re looking for a more peaceful stroll, there are several alternative routes to try which are less populated, such as the Ptarmigan route which offers a fine descent.
More Information: http://www.stevenfallon.co.uk/benlomond.html
- Rob Roy Way – (for experienced walkers)
If a week’s worth of walking around Loch Lomond sounds ideal, then the Rob Roy Way is for you. Starting from Drymen close to the south east corner of Loch Lomond, this Scottish Great Trail can be either 77 or 94 miles dependent on the route option along Loch Tay. You’ll be met with truly breath-taking scenic views along the way. With plenty of accommodation en-route, you can break up this route to suit walking strengths.
More Information: http://www.robroyway.com/walk.html
Get ready for some of the best mountain bike routes Scotland has to offer. Below you'll find 10 hand picked routes for the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
- Aberfoyle to Callander – (moderate to difficult)
It may only be 13 miles long but expect a challenging uphill climb to start with, followed by an exhilarating descent. Take your time to sample the views as you cycle along Loch Venachar’s shore. Find out more about the local area at Trossachs.co.uk.
More Information: http://www.trossachs.co.uk/PDF/NCR-7-aberfoyle.pdf
- Tour of the Trossachs – (moderately difficult)
With several points of interest along the way, there’s plenty to see on this 31 mile route. Sample the views across Loch Katrine, Loch Ard, Loch Arklet and Loch Con; stop off at Go Ape in Queen Elizabeth Forest for some tree-top fun, or enjoy a relaxing bite to eat in one of the dedicated picnic areas.
More Information: http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/images/stories/Visiting/PDF/Cycle%20routecards/Tour_trossachs2.pdf
- Aberfoyle Mountain Bike Trail – (moderately difficult)
For the more experienced mountain bike riders, this cycle route offers a great mixture of technical and easy cycling with challenging sections along the way. Explore these scenic Trossachs trails either on your own or in a group.
More Information: http://www.biketrossachs.org.uk/trail-maps.html
- Cat Craig Loop – (easy to moderate)
Taking its name from the Scottish wildcat that was famed for roaming the forests, the Cat Craig Loop winds along five miles of forest path before opening up to reveal stunning views over Loch Long. On a clear day, you’ll even see Ben Lomond. The return rewards you with spectacular views over Glen Croe and the Cobbler.
More Information: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/argyll-forest-park/ardgartan
- Loch Lomond Circular – (for experienced cyclists)
Challenge yourself to a more strenuous cycle route with this 54 mile circular loop from Craigendoran. With awe-inspiring views of Glen Douglas and Glen Fruin along the way, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Allow yourself around five hours to complete this route, and take water and snacks to break up the journey.
More Information: http://www.cycle-route.com/routes/Loch_Lomond_Circular_From_Helensburgh-Cycle-Route-3044.html
- Glasgow to Loch Lomond – (moderately difficult)
For those visiting Glasgow, why not cycle the 21 mile route to Loch Lomond and spend the day surrounded by nature? Part of the Glasgow to Inverness route, this cycleway runs parallel to the River Clyde and travels along the former Lanarkshire Dunbartonshire railway line. You’ll cycle close to the railway line for the majority of this route so if it becomes too strenuous, you can always hop on the train for part of the journey.
More Information: https://glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=11136&p=0
- West Loch Lomond Cycle Path – (for all abilities)
Beginners or those cycling with children will find the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path ideal. Completely flat and almost all traffic-free, it’s a great starter route to explore Loch Lomond and its surrounding areas. You’ll also find a selection of restaurants and bars in Balloch at the start of the trail, and in Tarbet at the end – convenient if you want a relaxing bite to eat after all that cycling.
More Information: http://www.cycleroutesuk.com/cycle-route/scotland/balloch-to-tarbet-the-west-lomond-cycle-path.html
- Glen Finglas Loop – (for experienced cyclists)
If you’re up for a challenge, try the Glen Finglas Loop. With rough terrain, steep climbs and exhilarating descents, it’s not one for the faint hearted. You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts with stunning views of the Loch. You can also add a further testing two miles to this route if you’re looking for something really strenuous.
More Information: http://www.trossachs-scotland.co.uk/cycling/glenfinglas.htm
- Ben Lomond Loop – (for experienced cyclists)
For the really adventurous, why not try this strenuous 55 mile loop around Ben Lomond? Boasting a real out-in-the-wild feel, you’ll be right at the heart of the action on narrow country roads and dirt tracks. There’s even the chance to cycle through the shore of Loch Lomond. With plenty of opportunity for refreshment along the way, you can easily make a full day of it.
More Information: http://www.stirlingcyclehub.org/routes/92-ben-lomond-loop
- Loch Katrine – (for all abilities)
Forgotten your bike? That’s easily fixed with cycle hire for the whole family at Loch Katrine. Whether you need a bike for a couple of hours or a full day, it’s the ideal base from which to explore Loch Lomond and its surrounding areas.
More Information: http://www.katrinewheelz.co.uk
With a mixture of bouldering, classic climbs and strenuous routes, there are plenty of climbing opportunities in Loch Lomond. This guide has been produced in partnership with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland who provided their valuable advice on the best climbs within Loch Lomond.
- Ardvorlich – (Sport)
With a total of nine climbs on offer at Ardvorlich crag, you’ll find a good mix of balance and technical climbing. With names like Magic Carpet Ride and That Sinking Feeling, it’s not one for beginners.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=2914
- The Narnain Boulder – (Bouldering)
Choose from 10 climbs at Narnain Boulders. For high boulders, try out The Crucifix and Two Hot Honies, while slightly easier bouldering can be found in The Quartz Wall and Left Wall routes.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=10415
- The Cobbler (North Peak) – (Trad)
Offering a great mix of classic routes and more severe climbs, the north peak of The Cobbler boasts some of the Southern Highlands’ most impressive rock features. If you’re a more advanced climber why not try Club Crack.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=594
- The Cobbler (South Peak) – (Trad)
Whether you’re a climbing novice or you’re used to difficult routes, there’s something for everyone on the south peak of The Cobbler. Head to the south face for bold climbing, while the north face provides classic winter routes.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=594
- St Bride’s Wall – (Bouldering)
There are a number of good, clean bouldering problems on this wall, along with a couple of trad routes, Diagonal Crack and Shelf Route. Parking is available in the layby next to St. Bride’s Chaple, and from there, simply walk across the field to access the wall.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=9053
- Stank Glen Boulders – (Bouldering)
Bouldering opportunities are vast on the north side of Ben Ledi. Access to the boulders can be found by taking the single track road near the holiday chalets and following the forest track up the glen and turning left
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=3935
- Glen Ogle – (Sport)
Formerly considered Scotland's best area for sport climbing. Glen Ogle boasts a good selection of shorter, powerful climbs. Although fairly steep in nature, many of the routes seep after heavy rain. There are also excellent bouldering opportunities across the area.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=395
- Stronachlachar – (Sport)
You’ll find both climbing and bouldering opportunities at Stronachlachar. Climbing routes tend to be shorter and sportier on good rock. Choose from 34 climbs in total, all offering spectacular scenic views over Loch Arklet and Loch Katrine.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=8548
- Creag Tharsuinn – (Trad)
High grade climbing routes are on offer at Creag Tharsuinn with steep rock on the north east ridge of Beinn Narnain. Choose from routes such as Terminator, Deception and Route Sinister for nail-bitingly tense climbs.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=590
- Arrochar Caves – (Trad/Caving)
Hard severe climbing is on offer at Arrochar Caves. Can you handle The Vice? A midge net is essential when you reach the top so be sure to get properly kitted out before you start.
More Information: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=8811
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland is the organisation for Scottish hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers, or simply anyone who loves Scotland’s mountains. Find out more or join them today at www.mcofs.org.uk or check out www.ClimbScotland.net for the latest news, ideas and advice aimed at getting young people climbing in Scotland.
With plenty on offer for people of all ages to enjoy, make Loch Lomond your next family trip.
- Balloch Castle Country Park
Discover what’s on offer at this derelict castle. From stunning views of the countryside to nature trails, guided walks and walled gardens, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Set in 200 acres, it’s the ideal place for kids to let off steam.
More Information: http://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/balloch-castle-country-park-p252431
- Loch Ard Forest
With so much to do and see in Loch Ard Forest, it’s easy to spend a full day here. Challenge your kids to spot as many species of wildlife as possible, cycle through the forest or take a picturesque walk along the shore of the loch.
More Information: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/queen-elizabeth-forest-park/loch-ard
- Wellsfield Farm
It’s never a dull day at Wellsfield Farm where children and adults alike will be kept busy with adventure parks, fishing lessons, pony club, archery lessons, and outdoor assault courses. There’s also a sauna and coffee shop if you want to relax while your kids are playing.
More Information: http://www.wellsfield.co.uk
- Doune Castle
Used as the filming location for Monty Python, Game of Thrones and more recently Outlander, there’s plenty to explore in Doune Castle. From the nature trail that winds its way around the castle grounds to an audio castle tour narrated by Terry Jones, it’s a day of learning that’s fun and accessible to all.
More Information: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_092&PropName=Doune%20Castle
- The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre
Relax in the comforting hammocks while your kids navigate the brushwood maze or take a walk to the wildlife hide and see if you can spot some red squirrels. If you want to get stuck in to the action, there are many trails to explore as well as nature play features around the waterfall. Alternatively sit back and relax in the comfort of the Café at the Lodge.
More Information: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/queen-elizabeth-forest-park/the-lodge-forest-visitor-centre
- Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre
Get up close and personal with no fewer than 36 birds of prey, including buzzards, kestrels, falcons, eagles and hawks. Learn all about these remarkable creatures and their daily struggle for survival.
More Information: http://www.llbopc.co.uk
- Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park
With a variety of animals to meet, including giraffes, elephants, deer, bison, eland and camels, as well as wildlife drive through reserves and a boat trip around Chimp Island, Blair Drummond offers a fantastic day out for all animal lovers.
More Information: http://www.blairdrummond.com
- Maid of the Loch Paddle Steamer
Discover the story of this restored Grade A-listed paddle steamer with a visit to Maid of the Loch. Make sure you come along on “In Steam” days to see demonstrations of the gearing system and steam engine.
More Information: http://www.maidoftheloch.com
- Argyll Adventure
Are you up for an adventure? Then come along to Argyll Adventure where you can take part in paintball, laser tag, horse riding and crossbow sessions. There’s an on-site café for refreshments or if you prefer to bring a packed lunch, you’ll find many picnic spots dotted around the site.
More Information: http://www.argylladventure.com
- Loch Lomond Pony Trekking
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider, there’s no better way to explore Loch Lomond than on a pony trekking experience. Choose from one-to-one sessions or group tuition and discover the rugged moorland overlooking Loch Lomond National Park.
More Information: http://www.lomond-ponytreks.co.uk
Loch Lomond offers a wealth of opportunities for adventure. Check out our top picks and try something new today.
- Balmaha House Canoe Hire
Situated on the shores of Loch Lomond, there’s no better place from which to hire a canoe and spend the day exploring the loch and its islands. Be sure to hop off at each island to discover what’s on offer. From ancient graveyards and castles to deer and wallabies, there’s something for everyone.
More Information: http://www.balmahahouse.co.uk/activities.html
- Visiting The Islands
The islands of Loch Lomond can be reached by canoe, kayak, windsurfing, waterskiing and open water swimming. Boasting many important fauna and flora, they are truly a sight to behold and a must-see when visiting Loch Lomond.
More Information: http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/visiting/visiting-the-islands/menu-id-288.html
- Can You Experience
For outdoor activities and leisure pursuits in Loch Lomond, it doesn’t get any better than Can You Experience. Offering a whole host of award-winning guided activities, choose from canoeing, biking, paddle boarding, segways, fast rib rides, archery, rifle shooting, gorge walking, power kiting and more - there’s something new for everyone. Boat and bike hire at Loch Lomond Shores also available!
More Information: http://www.canyouexperience.com
- Loch Lomond Waterski Club
Follow in the footsteps of celebrities such as Carol Smillie, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and U2’s Bono and learn to waterski. Never done waterskiing before? Don’t worry, there are lessons for all ages and abilities.
More Information: http://www.lochlomondwaterskiclub.co.uk
- Loch Lomond Highland Games
Every year, Loch Lomond plays host to the Highland Games, a series of challenges including World Heavyweight Championship, Scottish 80 metres Running Championship as well as Tug of War and Wrestling. The question is, are you brave enough to take on the Scottish champions?
More Information: http://www.llhgb.com
- Go Ape
Spend the day monkeying around at Go Ape and enjoy tree top adventures including Tarzan swings, rope ladders and zip wires. Flying 46 metres above ground level, Go Ape boasts the nation’s longest zip wire – at 426 metres.
More Information: http://goape.co.uk/days-out/aberfoyle
- Menteith Fisheries
With a reputation for Central Scotland’s best fly fishing, there’s no better place to learn how to fish than at Menteith Fisheries. Stocked weekly with around 1500 trout, it’s usual to catch fish over 2lbs in weight.
More Information: http://www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk
- Wild By Nature
Learn all about survival at the Wild By Nature locations around Loch Lomond. From tips on lighting a fire to building a shelter and tracking deer, you’ll feel up close and personal to nature. Suitable for people of all ages.
More Information: http://www.wildbynature.eu/bushcraft-and-heritage-trips
Tackle multiple obstacles as you swing from tree to tree at Treezone, boasting crossings 14 metres above ground level, as well as a 65 metre zip wire. With stunning views along the way, it’s a must-visit for adventure lovers and thrill seekers.
More Information: http://www.treezone.co.uk/loch-lomond
- Loch Lomond Shooting School
Suitable for ages 12 and upwards, get the whole family together for a day of archery, clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting. You’ll be given full instruction so no previous experience is required.
More Information: http://lomondshooting.co.uk
With so much on offer for outdoors enthusiasts and adventure-seekers, we can’t recommend Loch Lomond highly enough. From the young to the old, the novice to the experienced, there really is something for everyone.