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Loch Katrine: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide (2024)

Loch Katrine: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide (2024)

Loch Katrine is a spectacular and well-known loch in Scotland. There are plenty of awesome things to do at Loch Katrine during a visit to the area. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting the breathtaking Loch Katrine.

About Loch Katrine: History

Loch Katrine is a 13km (8 mile) long freshwater loch in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It’s certainly one of the most famous lochs in the national park, and, in all of Scotland for that matter. That’s owing to its fascinating history.

The loch was actually the birthplace of the infamous outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor (AKA Rob Roy), who was born in 1671. Whilst, the famous Scottish historian, Sir Walter Scott, wrote a famous novel about the loch, entitled, The Lady of the Lake, which was published in 1810. Scott’s well-worded description of the loch motivated people to visit the loch, which was a key driver in the birth of Scottish tourism.

On top of that, in 1859, Queen Victoria visited the loch to inaugurate the opening of the first aqueduct. In turn, the loch would function as a reservoir, providing Glasgow and the wider area with a water supply.

Read our guides about Loch Lubnaig, Loch Achray, Loch Venachar and Loch Earn

Lock Katrine

Loch Katrine Map

Loch Katrine is located in the heart of the Trossachs in the southern highlands of Scotland. For your reference, here’s a map of the loch. Please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Loch Venachar

Information For Visiting Loch Katrine

Now you a little more about the history and whereabouts of Loch Katrine, let’s talk about what to do during a visit to the stunning loch. You’ll find that most activities at the loch start at the Trossachs Pier.

Beck at the Gift Shop at the Trossachs Pier on Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine Visitor Centre AKA the Gift Shop at the Trossachs Pier

Loch Katrine Cruises

One of the most popular things to do at Loch Katrine is a boat trip. Indeed, it would be a shame to come to the loch and not join one of the fun cruises. The company, Loch Katrine, has numerous vessels, which service different cruises and tours. Let’s look at all of this in a bit more detail!

Loch Katrine Boats and Cruisers

The company, Loch Katrine, usually operates four boats. For your convenience, we’ve listed them below.

  • Lady of the Lake
  • Rob Roy III
  • Sir Walter Scott Steamship
  • Osprey

Generally speaking, Loch Katrine’s Lady of the Lake (named after Sir Walter Scott) and Rob Roy III (named after, you guessed it, Rob Roy) service the standard circular cruises. Whilst, the Sir Walter Scott Steamship is the most iconic boat on the waters at Loch Katrine, which is possible to sail on sometimes. Additionally, the Osprey is a charted boat, requiring advanced booking to sail.

Below, we’ll talk more about the four most popular Loch Katrine boat trips on offer. For information about Loch Katrine cruise prices, cruising timetables and booking procedures, head to the official Loch Katrine website for the most up-to-date details.

Loch Katrine Circular Cruise

The most popular Loch Katrine cruise is the circular cruise. Usually, the narrated circular cruise is a one hour cruise, taking in the natural wonders of the loch and its beautiful mountainous surroundings. In summer, and during the shoulder season, there are usually shorter 45 minute cruises too.

Specifically, during a standard circular tour, you’ll explore Brenachoile Point, which is where an episode of Outlander was filmed! Additionally, you’ll learn more about the infamous Rob Roy.

From Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar

Another option is the Loch Katrine ferry service from the Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar. You can either do a round trip or just book a single trip either way. Those choosing to do the latter option, often take a bike on the boat, cycling their way back along the northern shores of the loch. Please read the Cycling section for more information about bike hire.

Stronachlachar Pier
Stronachlachar Pier

Sir Walter Scott Steamship

Loch Katrine’s Sir Walter Scott Steamship (AKA the Loch Katrine steamer) is an iconic steamship that first came into service in 1900. Interestingly, the S.O.S. Save our Steamship appeal was launched in 2021 to help raise £500,000 to help with essential repairs. In the end, the repairs blew out to £750,000. So, safe to say, appeals are ongoing and any donations are welcomed at this stage.

In terms of sailing on the Sir Walter Scott Steamship, it’s apparently possible. Although, it seems most of the cruises these days are run on the Lady of the Lake and Rob Roy III. You’ll have to enquire to find out which cruises are run on the famous steamer as there is no defined schedule.

Sir Walter Scott Steamship on Loch Katrine
Sir Walter Scott Steamship

Osprey Boat

Last, but not least, the Osprey is a chartered boat service in use on the loch. If you’re wanting private Loch Katrine boat hire, this is your best option. FYI – there is a limit of 10 people per boat trip on the Osprey.

Loch Lomond Cruise

Loch Lomond boat cruise

Make sure to also do a cruise of Loch Lomond during your visit to the area. Departing from Balloch, these cruises are actually the most popular cruises to do in the area.

Loch Katrine Walks

Other than cruises, there are some excellent walking trails surrounding Loch Katrine. The most popular walk at Loch Katrine is the Primrose Hill Circular Walk, which is around 11km (6.8 miles) long.

During the Primrose Hill Circular Walk, you’ll initially walk along the calm shores of the loch. You’ll soon reach the first major highlight of the walk – Brenachoile Point.

Beck on Primrose Hill looking at Loch Katrine
Primrose Hill

Brenachoile Trail: Brenachoile Point

From Brenachoile Point, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Loch Katrine. The point juts out nicely into the loch, providing one of the best sweeping views of the loch. As mentioned, Brenachoile Point was used as a filming location for Outlander. So, many people simply walk to this point, before returning to the Trossachs Pier. In fact, this is known as the Brenachoile Trail, which makes for a 7.1km (4.5 mile) return walk.

But, if you want to best views of the loch, we highly recommend walking up Primrose Hill.

Dan at Brenachoile Point on the shores of Loch Katrine
Brenachoile Point

Primrose Hill Walk

Sure, Primrose Hill is no Munro; but, still, the walk up Primrose Hill still involves an unrelenting 200 metre climb. Thankfully, your efforts are rewarded by some of the best far-reaching views of Loch Katrine. Personally, Beck and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the Primrose Hill Walk and highly recommend it.

Views of Loch Katrine on Primrose Hill

Rhoderick Dhu Path

Currently, it isn’t possible to do the Rhoderick Dhu Path as it’s a work-in-progress route. But, watch this space! Once construction is finished, the Rhoderick Dhu Path will provide an excellent vantage point of the loch.


Given the grand size of Loch Katrine, cycling is a fantastic option for exploring the loch. Certainly, cycling is the best way to explore more of the northern shore and beyond. Indeed, it’s possible to cycle to Stronachlachar. But, most people take a more leisurely approach, cycling smaller sections and taking breaks to picnic or rest.

If you need a bike, we recommend hiring a bike at Katrine Wheelz at the Trossachs Pier. You can hire regular mountain bikes or even e-bikes.

As mentioned, if you’re doing the one-way boat trip from the Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar, you should hire a bike. Indeed, the cycle between Stronachlachar and the Trossachs Pier, along the northern shore, is very scenic. The one-way route is around 42km (26 miles).

Katrine Wheelz at Loch Katrine

What to Do Nearby

Located in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, there are plenty of other things to do in the area after visiting Loch Katrine. From the loch, you’ll enjoy stellar views of the surrounding mountains – Ben Venue and Ben A’an. The trailheads for both Ben Venue and Ben A’an are actually close by. You could certainly take on the Ben Venue Walk or the Ben A’an Walk to enjoy stellar views of Loch Katrine.

Otherwise, if you’re after something more relaxing, you could enjoy some scenic driving. Duke’s Pass and the Three Loch Forest Drive are both stunning roads close by offering exceptional views. During the Three Lochs Forest Drive, you’ll visit Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray.

Read more: Queen Elizabeth Forest Park – 15 Awesome Things to Do

Dan atop Ben A'an, enjoying views of Loch Katrine
Views of Loch Katrine from Ben A’an

Other Nearby Lochs

Loch Katrine is just one of 22 lochs in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. In the Trossachs, there are many stunning lochs to discover, which aren’t too far from Loch Katrine. Below, we’ll take you through some of the best lochs to visit nearby in the Trossachs.

  • Loch Venachar: a lesser-known yet equally beautiful loch.
  • Loch Ard: follow serene forest trails that lead you to this enchanting loch and by one of Rob Roy’s hideouts.
  • St Fillans on Loch Earn: this village is beautifully located on the eastern shores of Loch Earn. Essentially, visiting St Fillans and Loch Earn go hand in hand.
  • Loch Lubnaig: located alongside the A84 road, this loch is extremely accessible and features great amenities.
Dan at Loch Earn, near St Fillans and Lochearnhead
Loch Earn

How to Get to Loch Katrine: Directions

The best way to get to Loch Katrine is to drive there yourself. Simply pop FK17 8HZ into your SatNav or follow directions to the Loch Katrine Visitor Centre on Google Maps. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then 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.

There is plenty of parking at the Trossachs Pier. It’s a pay and display car park, that’s recently increased in price. That’s to help recoup some of the costs of repairing the Sir Walter Scott steamship. So, these days, you’ll find parking is around £1/hour!

There is no public transport going to the loch or this wider area of the Trossachs. There was once a bus system in place. 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.

Loch Katrine Accommodation

When it comes to Loch Katrine accommodation, there are some lovely options available. One of the most popular accommodation options is the Loch Katrine Eco Lodges at the Trossachs Pier.

Loch Katrine Eco Lodges

Also known as the Loch Katrine Lodges, the Eco Lodges are brilliantly located near the Trossachs Pier on the loch’s edge. Certainly, these epic camping pods are an idyllic place for some glamping. You’ll find 10 of these lodges on-site and they’re all named after different mountains, lochs and glens in the national park. Head to the official Loch Katrine website for booking details.

Otherwise, you’ve got the charming Stronachlachar Lodge located at the Stronachlachar Pier.

Loch Katrine Eco Lodges

Loch Katrine Camping

It’s also possible to camp at the main car park at the Trossachs Pier and the Stronachlachar Pier. There are standing motorhome and campervan pitches, which are usually £25/night. You’ll have access to services such as electricity, water and WiFi. To use the shower and toilets on-site at the Trossachs Pier, you’ll be charged an additional service fee of around £5/night.

Otherwise, wild camping is possible. Fortunately, it seems that the loch doesn’t fall in a Camping Management Zone. So, you should be able to wild camp there without a permit.

Where to Eat: Cafes and Restaurants

The Steamship Cafe is a lovely restaurant at the Trossachs Pier. Whilst you’ve got the Pier Cafe at Stronachlachar.

Beck at The Steamship Cafe at Loch Katrine


Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Loch Katrine.

Views of Ben Venue
Aerial shot of Ben Venue

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Where Is Loch Katrine?

It’s located here in the heart of the Trossachs in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

How Long Is Loch Katrine?

It’s approx. 13km (21 miles) long.

How Deep Is Loch Katrine?

The average depth is around 46 metres (150 feet), whilst the maximal depth is around 97.5 metres (320 feet).

How to Pronounce Loch Katrine?

It’s pronounced as laak-kuh-treen. Interestingly, the name of the loch likely derived from the Scottish Gaelic word ‘ceathairne’, meaning robber, which is a reference to Rob Roy.

Why Is Loch Katrine Famous?

It’s famous because of the Scottish historian Sir Walter Scott, who wrote about the loch in his well-received novel, The Lady of the Lake.

Can You Walk Around Loch Katrine?

Yes, you can walk around the northern shores of the loch; but, it’s better to cycle, given the long distance.

What Is the Name of the Boat on Loch Katrine?

The most iconic boat on the loch is the Sir Walter Scott Steamship.

Is Loch Katrine a Reservoir?

Yes, it’s a reservoir with a fresh water supply. The loch supplies water to Glasgow and its surrounding areas and has done so since 1859.

Can You Swim in Loch Katrine?

Yes, it’s possible, but you shouldn’t swim at the Trossachs Pier given the busy sailing route.

Can You Drive Around Loch Katrine?


Can You Cycle Around Loch Katrine?

Yes, you can cycle between the Trossachs and Stronachlachar Piers via the northern shore. But, there is no route along the western shore. So, it isn’t possible to cycle the entirety of the loch.

Can You Kayak on Loch Katrine?

During the tourist season, you should kayak, canoe and paddleboard from the Stronachlachar end of the loch. Otherwise, during the tourist season, you can kayak, canoe and paddleboard from the Trossachs Pier, after 5pm, when sailing has finished for the day.

What Fish Are in Loch Katrine?

Brown trout, northern pike and Arctic char.

Do You Need a Permit to Camp at Loch Katrine?

No, you don’t need a permit for wild camping as the loch doesn’t fall in a Camping Management Zone. Otherwise, you’ll need to book and pay to use the motorhome and campervan camping facilities at the Trossachs and Stronachlachar Piers.

Bonus Tips

  • Best time to visit: the best months for visiting Scotland are during summer or either side of this season (May to October).
  • Explore the Trossachs Trail: the loch is part of the 65km (40 mile) Trossachs Trail. The Trossachs Trail is a tourist route, which passes many attractions that can be enjoyed by boat, bike or on foot.
  • Loch Lomond cruises and boat trips: of course, the most famous loch in the area is Loch Lomond! Make sure to read our guide about Loch Lomond cruises to find out all the details (including information about Balmaha boat trips and private boat hire on Loch Lomond).
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For more Scotland content, please read our Big Loch Lomond Walks Guide and NC500 guides.

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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