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.

For another adventure in the Cairngorms National Park (AKA Cairngorm National Park), read our guide on hiking to Ben Macdui – Scotland’s second highest mountain.

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)

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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.

Scot Pines in the Glenmore National Nature Reserve in Aviemore
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.

Beck admires the Green Loch during the short walk in Aviemore.
Beck admires the Green Lochan

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.

Views from the northern tip of Green Loch (AKA An Loch Uaine and Green Lochan) in Aviemore.
Views from the northern tip of Green Lochan

Otherwise, there are many different side trails leading down to different entry points into the lake. Find one that suits you!

Dan hiking up one of the many side trail walks leading to the Green Loch (AKA An Loch Uaine and Green Lochan) in Aviemore
Dan hiking up one of the many side trails leading to the Green Lochan

Return Journey

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.

What is speed hiking? Read our definitive guide on speed hiking to find out more. You may already be a speed hiker without even knowing!

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.

For more hiking content in Scotland, check out our West Highlands, Loch Lomond and NC500 guides.

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 (see pin below) 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 set of wheels, consider renting with RentalCars.com – they have an unbeatable free cancellation policy.

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.

  • Budget – Aviemore Youth Hostel: 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. Otherwise, for a budget hotel stay in Aviemore, we recommend Coylumbridge Hotel. Although, the reviews aren’t as good as the Aviemore Youth Hostel.
  • Mid-range – Cairngorm Hotel: 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. Given the Cairngorm Hotel is extremely popular, you may want to have another mid-range Aviemore hotel option up your sleeve. We recommend High Range Lodge Hotel as your backup option.
  • Luxury – Macdonald Aviemore Hotel: if you’re looking for the best hotel in Aviemore, it has to be the Macdonald Aviemore Hotel, which is part of Macdonald Aviemore Resorts. Featuring an epic indoor swimming pool, cinema and a contemporary American-style family diner, Macdonald Aviemore Hotel really has it all!

If you’re staying in Aviemore as part of a larger Scotland trip, then you may be wanting to do other things in the area. Get Your Guide offers many exceptional tours near Aviemore and Inverness. Have a gander below!

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 only £43/night (if they’re still offering this special 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.

Green Loch Aviemore (AKA An Loch Uaine and Green Lochan) seen during a short walk.
There are many great spots for a photo at the Green Lochan

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 Should I Pack For the Green Loch Aviemore Walk?

Please find our Five Hiking Gear Essentials For the Green Loch Aviemore Walk below.

What Is the Best Travel Insurance?

We recommend World Nomads for the most comprehensive travel insurance. Otherwise, for the budget traveller, we highly recommend Safety Wing.

Five Gear Essentials For the Green Loch

These are our five gear essentials for exploring the Green Loch near Aviemore. For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.

Hiking Essential

Why do you need this?

See it in action

These hiking boots are super comfortable and are well suited for the Green Lochan Circuit

When visiting the Cairngorms National Pak, you'll need layers. This jacket is a high-quality fleece that is warm and compact

Scotland sees plenty of rain; so, a waterproof jacket is a must for hiking here. Beck loves the North Face Venture 2 Jacket. It's a high-quality waterproof and windproof jacket that keeps her dry on wet days hiking

A fantastic backpack for hiking, which has plenty of storing capacity and a convenient compartmet for a hydration bladder

The GoPro Hero 9 is the best action camera on the market

Getting to Scotland

Flights: to do this trip from abroad, fly to Inverness. When booking flights, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. Although, with the pandemic, we recommend booking directly with the airline, because it will be much easier to cancel or reschedule flights if need be.

Additionally, if you’re UK or US-based, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel.

Bonus Tips

  • 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 belowwe’d love to answer any questions about the Green Loch (AKA An Loch Uaine).


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