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Ben Venue: The Complete Walking Guide (2023)

Ben Venue: The Complete Walking Guide (2023)

Ben Venue is a well-known mountain in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Despite only having Graham status, the mountain dominates the Trossachs landscape. The Ben Venue Walk offers a chance to explore the majestic mountain. Truly, the views of the surrounding lochs from the summit are mind-blowing.

In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Ben Venue Walk.

A Loch Lomond cruise is a memorable thing to do in the national park. Make sure to do a Loch Lomond Cruise during your visit to the area.

About Ben Venue

Ben Venue is an easily recognisable mountain in the Trossachs area of Scotland. It’s one of the most famous and best-known Grahams, which is a mountain between 600 and 762 metres (2,000 and 2,500 feet) with a peak that’s 150 metres high. Indeed, the famous Scottish historian, Sir Walter Scott, popularised the mountain in one of his poems called The Lady of the Lake. He described the mountain’s impressive rocky slopes as belonging to an ancient and prehistoric time, well before our existence.

At 727 metres above sea level, the summit of Ben Venue offers stunning views across Loch Venachar, Loch Achray and Loch Katrine. But, exploring this mountain is more than merely reaching the summit. The Ben Venue Walk in itself is a fun and enjoyable route.

Beck on the Ben Venue Walk

Where Is Ben Venue?

Ben Venue is located in the Trossachs, with the walk starting near Loch Achray in Scotland. The Graham falls in both the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park as well as the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve. Both are prominent areas in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Ben Vane

Ben Venue: Statistics

Below, you’ll find trail specs for the Ben Venue Walk.

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 14.3km (8.8 miles)
  • Time: 5–6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 755m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Ben Venue Car Park

Ben Venue Maps (GPS and OS)

In terms of trail navigation, Beck and I used a GPS-guided map (linked below) to help us navigate the route. The walk is only partially waymarked with signage present during the early stages. But, most of the walk isn’t waymarked. Trail navigation isn’t overly easy as a combination of trails is used in the early and mid stages of the walk. Also, trail navigation near the summit isn’t straightforward. So, using a map is definitely helpful for this walk.

A screenshot a map showing The Ben Venue walking route.

Ben Venue: Terrain and Profile

You’ll encounter a variety of terrain during the Ben Venue Walk. Initially, you’ll walk along well-defined forest tracks. There’s also a section of road walking. Nearing the mid-stage of the walk, you’ll follow a well-defined path to the base of the mountain’s peak. Finally, you’ll endure a steep rocky climb with boggy sections to reach the summit.

In total, the walk involves around 755 metres of accumulated elevation gain. The incline is mostly gradual with steeper sections nearing the push to the summit.

Elevation profile for the Ben Venue Walk.

Ben Venue: Walk Description

Below, we’ll briefly describe our experience doing the Ben Venue Walk. Here, our intention isn’t to thoroughly explain the walk step-by-step. Rather, our aim here is to give you a snappy overview and tell you about our adventure.

Where to Start: Ben Venue Car Park

At the Ben Venue Car Park, situated on Loch Achray, you’ll find an obvious trailhead. Walking through quaint trails in the forest, you’ll soon meet the A821 road. Turn left to follow a tarmac lane alongside Loch Katrine Dam. You’ll soon cross the lovely Achray Water Bridge, which is a hotspot for lovely cascades. You’ll then venture further into the forest. Keep your eyes peeled – Beck and I were lucky enough to see a red squirrel during this stage of the walk!

Ben Venue Summit: Our Experience

After passing through the forest, you’ll briefly follow a forest track, before joining a path along the north side of Gleann Riabhach. Along this track, you’ll round the southern edge of the mountain, eventually veering right through a stunning valley. After making your way through the valley, west of the mountain’s peak, you’ll turn right, commencing a steeper ascent.

Unfortunately, Beck and I encountered mist and fog during the latter stages of the walk. Basically, as soon as we began this steeper ascent, we encountered a whiteout. For the remainder of our walk, along the ridge, to the twin summits, we enjoyed nada in terms of views.

As they say, you win some and you lose some. On this occasion, we didn’t enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding lochs (Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and Loch Venachar) synonymous with the summit. On a clear day, indeed, you’ll enjoy stellar views of these lochs. Additionally, you’ll enjoy views of the surrounding mountains such as Ben A’an and Ben More as well as mountains in the Arrochar Alps such as Ben Lomond. For Beck and I, it wasn’t to be!

Dan at the summit of Ben Venue
The first summit of Ben Venue

Thankfully, during our return walk, the low mist did start to improve. So, we did enjoy some more glimpses of the magnificent Ben Venue during our descent. But, otherwise, during this bad weather day, we simply retraced our steps to complete the walk and moved on to the next one – the Loch Katrine and Primrose Hill Circular Walk.

Dan walks on a trail

Other Ben Venue Walking Trails

The other well-known route alternative is the walk to Ben Venue From Ledard Farm (Loch Ard). Otherwise, there are numerous walking trails near Loch Achray that involve some of the paths used for the walk to Ben Venue described in this guide. One of these popular trail options that doesn’t summit Ben Venue, is the Achray Water Bridge Circular Walk. Another shorter walk option is the Creag Noran Viewpoint Trail.

Creag Noran Viewpoint Trail

Starting from the Ben Venue Car Park, you’ll initially follow the same trail leading to Ben Venue. But, you’ll only walk around 500 metres to reach the Creag Noran Viewpoint. From this lookout, you’ll enjoy splendid views of Loch Achray and the surrounding Trossachs. Certainly, this is an easier walk and a good option for those just wanting a taste of the Ben Venue Walk. In total, you’re looking at a 1km return walk, taking no longer than 15–20 minutes.

How to Get to Ben Venue

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Trossachs to do the walk is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars for reasonable prices. The website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy.

Ben Venue Car Park Information

To do the walk, you’ll simply park at the Forestry and Land Scotland’s Ben Venue Car Park. It’s a large park, set on the gorgeous Loch Achray, which is open 24 hours a day.

In terms of parking fees, you’re looking at a flat daily rate of £5, unless you intend of staying for less than an hour (if you’re only doing the Creag Noran Viewpoint Trail). In this case, parking is only £2. Of course, prices are subject to change. So, please let us know in the comments whether you paid a different rate during your visit.

FYI – alongside the Ben A’an Car Park, the Ben Venue Car Park is considered another one of the Loch Achray car parks. Certainly, both car parks are decent places to park to access Loch Achray.

A sign at the Ben Venue Car Park

Ben Venue Car Park (SatNav Directions)​​​

Pop FK17 8HZ into your SatNav – this is the postcode for the official car park. Otherwise, you’ll find Ben Venue Car Park on Google Maps.

Public Transport

There is no public transport going to the Ben Venue Car Park or this wider area of the Trossachs. There was once a bus system, but it was replaced by a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) system. This service works like a taxi service, but you’ll only be charged the fare of a bus! This service must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. For more information, click here.

​​​​​​​Facilities, Amenities and Access

Other than the official pay and display car park, you won’t find any facilities or amenities during the walk. The nearest toilets and amenities are found at the Trossachs Pier at Loch Katrine.

Accommodation​​

If you want to stay near Ben Venue, we recommend finding accommodation at Loch Achray. Below, we’ll look at the best budget, mid-range and luxurious accommodation options around Loch Achray.

  • Budget – Loch Achray Campsite: the Loch Achray Campsite is one of the best campsites in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Keep in mind, you’ll need to make a booking to camp there.
  • Mid-range Loch Achray Hotel: the most popular accommodation option in the area is certainly the Loch Achray Hotel.
  • Luxury – Tigh Mor Trossachs: this luxury castle, called Tigh Mor Trossachs, offers apartment-style accommodation. Indeed, it would be a truly magical experience to stay there!

Of course, accommodation options are quite limited at Loch Achray. Another option is to stay in the charming nearby village of Aberfoyle. From Aberfoyle, it’s only a 12–15 minute drive to the Ben Venue Car Park. Click here to find Aberfoyle accommodation that suits you. Otherwise, Callander is only a 20 minute drive away and has even more accommodation options.

Loch Achray Hotel
Loch Achray Hotel

Activities and Walks Nearby

What next, after doing this walk? If you’re keen on another walk, then you’ll definitely want to hike up Ben A’an, which is also known as the miniature mountain. The trailheads for both Ben Venue and Ben A’an are only separated by a couple of minutes of driving. So, it makes sense to do both walks on the same day.

Otherwise, it’ll make sense to explore the nearby lochs. Please read our guides about Loch Achray, Loch Katrine and Loch Venachar to find out more.

Views of Loch Katrine from Ben A'an
Views of Loch Katrine from Ben A’an

Other Loch Lomond Walks

There are plenty of other outstanding walks to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Below, we’ll detail the best Loch Lomond walks, all of which, we completed ourselves.

Read more: 26 Best Loch Lomond Walks Guide

Dan at the Ben Ledi summit
Views from Ben Ledi

FAQs

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Ben Venue.

Dan on the Ben Venue Walk

What Does Ben Venue Mean?

The name is derived from Scottish Gaelic words, meaning ‘small mountain’.

How High Is Ben Venue?

It’s 727 metres high.

Is Ben Venue a Munro?

No – a Munro is a mountain that’s higher than 914 metres (3,000 feet).

How Long Does It Take to Climb Ben Venue?

On average, it takes around 5–6 hours.

How Difficult Is Ben Venue to Climb?

We have rated the walk difficulty as moderate.

Is Ben Venue Dog Friendly?

Yes, but dogs must be kept on a lead.

What to Wear and Take

Below, you’ll find our gear essentials for this walk.

For a longer hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a general list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Free parking: other than the official car park, there is actually free parking found along the walk here. At the section of the walk where you meet the A821 road, there is a small area, unsigned and unrestricted, that makes for unofficial parking. You’ll often see a few cheeky people parking there to avoid paying at the official car park.
  • Visit on a clear day: to take advantage of the glorious views atop the summit, try and time the walk during favourable weather conditions.
  • Explore more of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park: read this guide to find out about other great things to do in the area.

Please leave us a comment below.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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