The Green Loch (otherwise known as An Lochan Uaine or the Green Lochan) is an incredible lake and hidden gem near Aviemore, Scotland. The otherworldly green-coloured lake can be explored via a few different routes including the Meall a’ Bhuachaille Circuit or the Ryvoan Pass and An Lochan Uaine Circuit. But, the easiest and quickest way to get to this hidden gem is via the Green Loch Aviemore Walk, AKA the Green Loch Circuit. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything about the Green Loch Aviewmore Walk.
If you’re not convinced about the beauty of the Green Loch, check out our YouTube production below to fuel your hiking wanderlust. Otherwise, this guide will cover all the necessary details you’ll need for visiting the Green Loch near Aviemore.
Read our guide on hiking to Ben Macdui – Scotland’s second highest mountain
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Green Loch Aviemore Walk Overview
Visiting the Green Loch is a worthwhile itinerary addition when exploring the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland. Hiking the Green Loch Aviemore Walk should only take a couple of hours. So, unless you plan on chilling out or swimming at the lake, you’d probably only need half a day to explore the Green Loch.
Personally, we had initially set out to do the Ryvoan and Lochan Uaine Circuit, which starts and finishes at Loch Morlic. But, with Loch Morlic heaving with people, we decided to skip the crowded lake and hike a shorter circular route with the focus of seeing the famous Aviemore Green Loch.
If you’re looking for the simplest walking route, basically a short walk to see the Green Loch, this is the right guide for you. We’ll show you an efficient and straightforward route to see this mesmerising lake. Below, you’ll find the trails for the Green Loch Aviemore Walk. We’ll then describe the trail, before tackling all of the logistics and answering a whole bunch of FAQs.
Green Loch Aviemore Walk Stats and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 6.7km
- Time: 1.5–2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 130m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre (Glenmore Visitor Centre)
- Map: Wikiloc
Green Loch Aviemore Walk
Starting near the Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre near Aviemore, you’ll initially pass the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre to your right. A defined path will then lead you to a fork, turn right and you’ll begin to gently ascend towards the forest. Keep an eye out for blue waymarkers, which lead you by some gorgeous Scot Pines in the Glenmore National Nature Reserve.
As you gain elevation, you’ll have sweeping views of the Cairngorm mountain ranges to your right. Interestingly, even well into summer, the ranges hold a hefty chunk of snow. The trail will soon start to narrow and become rougher underfoot. You’ll then reach a series of boardwalks that descend towards the Green Loch. In this section of the trail, you’ll be surrounded by forest and so it feels very calming. Eventually, you’ll converge onto a large dirt path, that leads you directly to the Green Loch near Aviemore.
The Green Loch (AKA An Loch Uaine and Green Lochan)
The wide trail runs adjacent to the Green Loch; so, we’d recommend following the trail to access the northernmost section of the lake. On your way, you’ll catch glimpses of the loch through the dense forest that really highlights its amazing green colour. From the northern tip of Green Loch, the views are absolutely stunning.
Otherwise, there are many different side trails leading down to different entry points into the lake. Find one that suits you!
After you’ve explored the Green Loch near Aviemore, it’s time for the return walk. Simply retrace your steps on the wide dirt trail and then turn left on the outward route that descends the glen. This wide dirt trail, reporting the Green Loch, is flat and gently winds its way through the forest, back towards Glenmore and Aviemore. Given the simple trail and easy terrain, this is a great stretch of the route to speed hike.
This outward track will eventually reach a fork. Turn right for the quickest exit route to the Glenmore Park Visitor Centre, which continues to follow the blue waymarked track and runs parallel to Glenmore Lodge Road. However, depending on where you parked (more information on parking below), it may be better to turn left at the fork.
By doing so, you’ll follow only a slightly longer route, passing Glenmore Lodge to your right and following the purple waymarked route. You’ll then turn right when this path meets a track positioned next to the stream of Allt na Feithe Duibhe. With the quaint cascading stream to your left, the trail will lead you back to Cairngorm Road where your adventure concludes!
Things to Know Before You Go to Aviemore
The Green Loch near Aviemore is a mesmerising natural attraction, that is easy to access with the walking route described above. By following this route, you’ll be visiting one of the highlights of the Cairngorms National Park. So, make sure to add it to your to-do list when hiking in the area.
For more information on how to get there, fantastic accommodation options and hiking essentials, continue reading below.
How Do I Get to Green Loch Aviemore?
Using public transport, it’s possible to get a bus (M10/M90) from Inverness to Aviemore and then the 37 bus from Aviemore to the Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre, which is the trailhead for the Green Loch Aviemore Walk. However, this would be a time-consuming way to get there and so, we recommend driving. There is free street parking near the Glenmore Foret Park Visitor Centre.
Otherwise, you can use the pay and display car park at the Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre or the Allt Moor Car Park.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, consider renting a car.
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.
Where to Stay in Aviemore
Aviemore is a beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands and a popular place for people to visit and stay. Below, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury options in Aviemore.
Aviemore Youth Hostel
Budget: if you’re after the cheapest accommodation in Aviemore, you can’t look past the Aviemore Youth Hostel. The hostel is highly rated and a favourite among budget travellers needing a play to stay in Aviemore.
Mid-range: the Cairngorm Hotel is hands down the most popular accommodation option in Aviemore. The Cairngorm Hotel is perhaps the best value for money stay in the area, which includes a fantastic restaurant on-site.
Another Option Is To Stay Near Aviemore
OYO Braeriach Hotel in Newtonmore is a fantastic option for those wanting to stay near Aviemore. Generally speaking, you’ll find accommodation in nearby places such as Newtonmore to be cheaper than staying directly in Aviemore. For a much cheaper rate, you’ll be based opposite the magnificent Grampians mountain range and only a half an hour’s drive to the Green Loch Aviemore Walk trailhead.
At the OYO Braeriach Hotel, expect friendly and accommodating staff, who help with a seamless check-in. The rooms are warm and cosy with beautiful mountain views. Despite the rooms being small, they’ll have everything you need for a pleasant short stay. Conveniently, there’s a pub downstairs and free street parking.
FAQs About Green Loch Aviemore
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Green Loch (An Loch Uaine) near Aviemore.
Where Is the Green Loch Aviemore?
The Green Lochan is located near Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland.
How Long Does it Take to Walk to Green Loch Aviemore?
By doing the Green Loch Aviemore Walk described in this guide, it takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour (approx. 3km) to reach the lake from the Glenmore Visitor Centre.
Why Is it Called the Green Loch?
An Loch Uaine is the Gaelic name, which translates to a small green lake.
Why Is the Green Loch in Aviemore Green?
The water of Green Loch is most likely green because of algae present in the lake. Others have said the green colour comes from the reflection of the pine trees that surround the small lake. Scottish folklore would tell you that the lake gets its green colour from fairies!
Can You Swim in Green Loch Aviemore?
Yes, it’s certainly possible. The Scotland Outdoor Access Code dictates that wild swimming is possible if done so responsibly. Of course, be mindful that the water temperature is extremely low, which presents obvious risks.
What Is the Best Travel Insurance?
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What Should I Pack For the Green Loch Aviemore Walk?
These are our five gear essentials for exploring the Green Loch near Aviemore.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Getting to Scotland
To do this trip from abroad, it’s best to fly to Inverness.
Skyscanner is our go-to website for booking flights. If you’re looking to find the cheapest flights, we recommend getting the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. It allows you to scan all airlines and platforms to find the cheapest airfares.
To find out more about booking the cheapest flights, read our Skyscanner review.
- Visit early: an Loch Uaine is a fairly well-known attraction. After hiking to the Falls of Glomach in the West Highlands in the morning, we arrived for the Green Loch Aviemore Walk around mid-afternoon. By this time, the trail was fairly busy and quite a few people were at the loch. Visit early for a more peaceful and quiet experience!
- Other things to do in Aviemore: check out the majestic Loch an Eilein.
- Explore other areas of the Cairngorms National Park: there’s obviously more to the Cairngorms than just An Loch Uaine and Aviemore. This national park has plenty of other beautiful trails to explore.
- Trail navigation: the Green Loch Aviemore Walk is a simple and easy route to follow; but, if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it may be worth having GPS directions. Feel free to use our Wikiloc GPS-guided map.
- Head to Newtonmore Grill: if you end up staying in Newtonmore, you must eat at Newtonmore Grill. Whether it’s a hearty Scottish breakfast or a greasy fry-up of an evening, you’ll be pleased with a meal at this local institution.
Please leave us a comment below – we’d love to answer any questions about the Green Lochan (AKA An Loch Uaine).