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Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen: 9 Things You Must Know About Visiting

Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen: 9 Things You Must Know About Visiting

The Devil’s Pulpit is a mind-blowing gorge, officially known as Finnich Glen, located in Scotland. This breathtaking natural attraction is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction. Indeed, the popular beauty spot has experienced a rapid rise to fame. With the resultant mass tourism, unfortunately, there’s been a spike in incidents such as injuries, accidents and rescues at the natural site. Sadly, there have even been deaths.

With this in mind, we’re going to tell you nine essential things to know about visiting to ensure a fun yet safe visit to the Devil’s Pulpit in Scotland.

How to Find the Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen

The natural wonders of Devil’s Pulpit are tucked away and hidden in the sublime gorge called Finnich Glen (AKA Finnich Gorge). In this guide, we’re going to tell you, step-by-step, how to find the gorge. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect during a visit and can prepare for and plan your adventure.

But, first, what exactly is the Devil’s Pulpit?

What Is the Devil’s Pulpit?

Basically, most people refer to Finnich Glen, which is the gorge, as the Devil’s Pulpit. But, strictly speaking, the Devil’s Pulpit is a standalone structure found in the gorge. The Devil’s Pulpit is actually a rock that resembles a church pulpit. So, in reality, you’ll visit Finnich Glen (the gorge) to find Devil’s Pulpit (the rock). But, given the natural beauty of the gorge as a whole, many visitors happily explore and enjoy the gorge without too much focus on the rock formation itself.

To keep things simple, we’ll use the name ‘Devil’s Pulpit’ when talking about the gorge, as this is how most people refer to the gorge. So, where exactly is the Devil’s Pulpit located?

Beck stands on the rock known as the Devil's Pulpit in Finnich Glen
The rock that’s specifically known as the Devil’s Pulpit

Where Is Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen?

The Devil’s Pulpit is found in an area called Gartness, roughly 20km (12 miles) northwest of Glasgow, Scotland. The natural site is located just outside the southeast border of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It’s located in the county of Stirling southeast of Drymen and just north of Craighat. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area.

Make sure to visit the nearby Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

A screenshot of a map showing the location of the Devil's Pulpit

9 Things to Know About Exploring Devil’s Pulpit

To visit Devil’s Pulpit, there are some important things to know. Below, we’re going to tell you nine essential things that you should know before visiting. By following these tips, you’ll enjoy a memorable and safe trip. Let’s start with getting to the Devil’s Pulpit in the first place.

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1. How to Get to Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen

There are a few options for getting to the Devil’s Pulpit. Although, most visitors will drive there. After all, driving there yourself is the quickest and easiest way to get there. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

2. Where to Park For Devil’s Pulpit

When it comes to parking, there are two options. The most convenient and best place to park is on a roadside verge on the A809, referred to as The Devil’s Pulpit Path Start on Google Maps. Indeed, officially speaking, this is where the walk to Devil’s Pulpit begins. So, parking on the roadside verge is the logical option. Unfortunately, there’s only enough space for three vehicles maximum. So, most of the time, the spaces there are taken.

The second option is to park at the unofficial dirt car park at the crossroads of the A809 and the B834. This parking spot, labelled ‘Finnich Glen‘ on Google Maps, has enough room for around 10–15 vehicles. In reality, most people park there, given the very limited parking at the trailhead.

But, please keep in mind that roadside parking around this unofficial dirt car park (on either the A809 or B834) is strictly prohibited. There are double yellow lines on the sides of these sections of the roads. Also, this area has been designated for emergency service use only. Parking on the roadside is extremely dangerous. So, please don’t park there. Other than being dangerous, you’ll likely be fined. Additionally, police have tweeted to say your car may be uplifted and taken away!

Parking options for the Devil's Pulpit

3. Public Transport Options

Given the limited parking in the area, using public transport seems like a logical choice for visiting. Unfortunately, there is no direct public transport to or very near the Devil’s Pulpit. From Glasgow, your best bet would be to get a bus to Killearn or a train and bus to Drymen.

From either place, there are no safe paths for walking to the trailhead for Devil’s Pulpit, nor is it particularly close or exciting to walk there from the towns. So, from either Killearn or Drymen, we recommend catching a taxi to the Devil’s Pulpit. We recommend using Google Maps and Trainline to help plan your journey.

Booking Trains


Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.

With all this in mind, it’s much simpler and straightforward if you can drive to the Devil’s Pulpit yourself. If you can arrive early or visit during the week, you’re much more likely to find a parking spot.

4. Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen Tours

If you don’t have your own vehicle and public transport seems like too much of a ball-ache, then an organised tour might be your best option. Viator offers an excellent tour called Find a Hidden Glen in Scotland’s Woods, which visits Devil’s Pulpit from Glasgow. The highly-rated small group tour (maximum of eight people) takes around three hours. The tour includes roundtrip transportation and a guided walk.

Devil’s Pulpit Tour

Devil's Pulpit
  • Small group tour (maximum of eight)
  • Transport by private vehicle
  • Guided tour off the tourist trail

5. The Devil’s Pulpit Walk

Once you arrive in the area, it’s time to finally discover and explore the incredible gorge. Below, you’ll find trail specs and a GPS-guided map for the Devil’s Pulpit Walk.

The trail specs and GPS-guided map above are assuming you’ve been able to find parking on the A809 verge, where the walk officially begins. If you’ve had to park on the dirt car park, you’ll have to do some additional walking to reach the trailhead. In total, from the dirt car park, the return walk will be approx. 2km (1.2 miles).

Please refer to the image below for rough instructions on this extra walking from the dirt car park. Be mindful that there is no safe walking path or infrastructure to avoid road walking on the section of the A809 road to reach the trailhead. Please exercise caution when road walking to reach the trailhead. As far as we’re aware, there are plans to improve infrastructure in the area to allow for a safer visit. But, for now, please be careful!

A screenshot of a satellite image showing the walking route for the Devil's Pulpit

Anyway, to start the walk to the Devil’s Pulpit, you’ll find a small gap in the rock wall. Once you’ve passed through, you’ll see an official sign. You’ll then follow a well-defined trail through the lovely forest. After a fairly short distance, you’ll start to enjoy your first glimpses of Finnich Glen.

Along this walking trail, there are short side trails to unofficial vantage points. People have fallen into the gorge from these lookouts. To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid accessing these spots. Simply, continue the walk to reach the Devil’s Steps.

Dan walks on a trail covered by woodlands

6. Getting Down to the Devil’s Pulpit

Soon, you’ll reach the intimidating Devil’s Steps (AKA Jacob’s Ladder and Zaine’s Ladder). It’s necessary to walk down the Devil’s Steps to reach the floor of the gorge. Climbing down the steps is an exhilarating experience, where you first immerse yourself in the depths of the splendid gorge. But, the steps are a bit on the sketchy side of things. Let’s go into more detail about the steps, in regard to safety, below.

Dan stands on steep steps

7. Safety on the Devil’s Steps

The Devil’s Steps are old Victorian steps that were initially laid around 1860. So, as to be expected, the steps are showing signs of wear and tear. The steps are very steep. Plus, the presence of loose and sometimes crumbling steps doesn’t help much with clambering down. Additionally, in wet conditions (it’s Scotland after all), the steps are quite slippery. So, extreme care must be taken when descending the steps.

8. Wading: Get Ready to Get Your Feet Wet

Once you’ve managed to descend the Devil’s Steps, you’ll arrive at the floor of the amazing Finnich Glen. You’ll notice the red-coloured sandstone floor and riverbed contrast brilliantly with the vivid green gorge walls. Certainly, it’s by no coincidence that the Carnock Burn, flowing through the gorge, is also known as the Blood River. The flowing red-tinged river is an awe-inspiring sight. Indeed, the Devil’s Pulpit is one of the most extraordinary places in Scotland!

At the base of the steps, there is a small area to walk around and explore the gorge. From this area, you’ll even get to see the pulpit rock in the distance. But, to see Finnich Glen’s superb waterfalls and cascades as well as setting foot on the Devil’s Pulpit Rock, you’ll need to wade through the gorge. Indeed, gorge walking in Devil’s Pulpit is a memorable experience and one that will really get your heart racing.

Of course, it’s worth noting that there have been several rescue missions for people experiencing hypothermia and other injuries when gorge walking. So, please be honest with your ability and only proceed with wading through the gorge if you’re experienced and able.

Beck wades in the Devil's Pulpit in the Finnich Glen

By wading through the gorge, you’ll pass a bend in the gorge. This reveals outstanding views of waterfalls cascading with a vibrant red river stream. Truly, this is nature at its best!

9. Tips For Taking Photos at the Devil’s Pulpit

Some of the best photos you’ll see of Devil’s Pulpit are of the cascades flowing through the gorge. So, to snap these waterfalls, you’ll have no option but to wade through the gorge. If possible, we recommend taking a tripod for your camera, in order to capture the waterfall with a slower shutter speed. Try and arrive earlier in the day for optimal lighting conditions. Also, try and use a wide angle to capture the gorge which envelops the river stream.

Cascades at the Devil's Pulpit in Glen Finnich in Scotland

What to Do Near Devil’s Pulpit and Finnich Glen

What next, after exploring the Devil’s Pulpit? Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is just a stone’s throw away. Make sure to visit this beautiful national park whilst you’re in the area. By heading to Balloch, you’ll be able to easily access the divine and famous Loch Lomond. Balloch is actually one of the best places to take a Loch Lomond Cruise. Indeed, a Loch Lomond cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy and experience Loch Lomond.

Dan and Beck on a Loch Lomond cruise
Loch Lomond cruise

Loch Lomond Cruise

Loch Lomond boat cruise

No trip to Loch Lomond is complete without experiencing its famous boat cruise. Sail along the Queen of Scottish lochs aboard this wonderful sightseeing cruise.

After doing a Loch Lomond cruise, you should explore more of Balloch. We recommend heading to the gorgeous Balloch Castle Country Park. Otherwise, just around the corner from Balloch, you’ve got the delightful Duck Bay. This small bay is known for its outstanding restaurant and hotel, whilst being a popular area for open-water swimmers.

Duck Bay Hotel entrance

Where to Stay Near Devil’s Pulpit

We recommend staying in Balloch in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Balloch is just a stone’s throw away from Finnich Glen and is the gateway town for the national park. So, Balloch is a great place to stay for visiting Devil’s Pulpit and also exploring the national park. Below, we’ll reveal the best budget, mid-range and luxurious accommodation options in Balloch.

Budget – Lomond Park Hotel

Room inside Lomond Park Hotel

You won’t find much in the way of ultra-budget options in Balloch. The most affordable option is the Lomond Park Hotel.

Mid-range – Queen of the Loch

Room inside Queen of the Loch

Marston’s Inns’ Queen of the Loch is one of the most popular mid-range hotel options in Balloch. You’ll find accommodation is located separately from the bar and restaurant, so you’ll enjoy a quiet stay that’s just a short stroll to the famous pub.

Luxury – Duck Bay Hotel

Room inside Duck Bay Hotel

Certainly, Duck Bay Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Located near the famous Cameron House, the Duck Bay Hotel is beautifully set on the southern shores of Loch Lomond. As mentioned, on-site, you’ll find a fantastic restaurant and bar.


Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Devil’s Pulpit in Scotland.

Beck and Dan at the Devil's Pulpit in Finnich Glen

​​​​​​​Why Is It Called Devil’s Pulpit?

As local folklore goes, back in the day, the devil would address his followers whilst standing on the pulpit-shaped rock. Ipso facto, that’s where the name ‘Devil’s Pulpit’ comes from. Certainly, the red-coloured waters beneath would seem a fitting place for Satan to be preaching!

Why Is Devil’s Pulpit Red?

That’s because of the red sandstone riverbed that partly reflects the red colour, whilst small fragments of sandstone also discolour the water.

How Old Is Devil’s Pulpit?

It’s unknown how long Finnich Gorge has been in existence. But, it’s accepted that the Devil’s Steps, built to access the gorge, was built around 1860.

How Long Is the Devil’s Pulpit Walk?

From the official trailhead, it’s an approx. 0.6km (0.4 mile) return walk. Although, the amount of gorge walking you do may obviously make the walk a wee longer. From the unofficial dirt car park on the crossroads of the A809 and B834, you’re looking at an approx. 2km (1.2 miles) return walk.

How Long Does It Take to Do Devil’s Pulpit?

Most people spend around an hour at the site.

Do I Need Special Gear to Get to Devil’s Pulpit?

No. But, as mentioned in our What to Wear and Take section, a pair of water (aqua) shoes are very useful for gorge walking.

Can You Swim in Devil’s Pulpit?

It’s possible to swim, but it’s not recommended as it’s inherently dangerous. Most people will simply wade through the river to reach the Devil’s Pulpit rock and see the waterfalls.

How Deep Is the Devil’s Pulpit?

Finnich Glen is a roughly 30 metre (100 foot) gorge.

Is Devil’s Pulpit Dangerous to Visit?

Inherently, yes. There are steep and slippery steps required to reach the gorge floor. Then, exploring the gorge requires wading and navigating an unpredictable river stream. With this in mind, please follow our tips and take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe visit.

Who Owns Devil’s Pulpit?

Farmers David and Carole Young own the property where Finnich Glen is located. They’re seeking council approval for a project to turn this natural site into a tourist attraction. Watch this space!

What to Wear and Take

Below, you’ll find our gear essentials for visiting the Devil’s Pulpit.

  • Hiking Boots: you’ll want sturdy footwear, with good traction, to help with grip and safety when descending the Devil’s steps.
  • Water shoes (aqua shoes): these are great for wading and exploring gorges. You’ll have additional traction and grip to wade more safely through the gorge.
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Waterproof Jacket: a windproof/waterproof jacket will be useful – it’s Scotland, after all!
  • Backpack: this will be helpful for storing your gear.

Photography Gear

This is the photography gear that we used whilst exploring the Devil’s Pulpit.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this camera when we’re out and about as it’s lightweight, durable and easy to use.

DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S

Capture breathtaking aerial photography and videography with the DJI Air 2S. The DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo comes with all of the necessary accessories such as the remote controller, spare batteries and battery charger.

GoPro HERO12 Black

GoPro HERO12 Black

The GoPro HERO12 Black is the best action camera on the market. The built-in stabilisation and high specs are excellent for filming adventure activities, so you can capture those special moments with your friends and family.

Bonus Tips

Does any of the information in this guide need updating? Please let us know in the comments below.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, 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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