Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is a breathtaking area in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Covering a large space in the national park, there are many brilliant things to do and spectacular places to see in the forest park. Indeed, it’s one of the best forest parks in Scotland. In this guide, we’re going to tell you about the best things to do in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. This will include information about Go Ape Aberfoyle, Duke’s Pass and the Three Lochs Forest Drive.
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About Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Scotland
The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park (AKA Queen Elizabeth National Park and Queen Elizabeth Park) was first given ‘Forest Park’ status by the Forestry Commission in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. These days, Forestry and Land Scotland manage the large natural space, which is brimming with gorgeous forests, lochs, mountains and wildlife. With this in mind, this guide will reveal all of the best things to do in the area.
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Map
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park covers a large area of the south and central part of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in Scotland. To help get your bearings, please click here for an interactive map of the area.
What to Do at Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
Now you know where Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is located, let’s look at what to do during a visit to the area. Admittedly, by exploring Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, many people unknowingly visit Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Although, you’ll see quite a lot of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park signage, especially near Aberfoyle and on the scenic Duke’s Pass, which connects Aberfoyle and Loch Achray.
Those intentionally visiting Queen Elizabeth Forest Park will usually start their visit at the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre. This is where Go Ape Aberfoyle and Little Fawn Waterfall is located!
1. Lodge Forest Visitor Centre
The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre is also known as the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Visitor Centre. Basically, the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Certainly, this is a great place to start your visit to the forest park. At the visitor centre, you’ll find plenty of information about the area, a cafe and Go Ape Aberfoyle.
2. Go Ape Aberfoyle
Go Ape Aberfoyle is one of the most visited places in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. At Go Ape Aberfoyle, you’ll find several zip lines. Indeed, if you’re looking for somewhere to zip-line in the UK, Go Ape Aberfoyle is one of the best places to do it. Thrill seekers particularly enjoy ziplining at Go Ape Aberfoyle. Although, Go Ape Aberfoyle prides itself on being family-friendly; so, it’s a great place to take the kids for a little adventure.
3. Little Fawn Waterfall
From the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, there are a number of walking trails to join. The best trail starting from the visitor centre is the Waterfall Trail, which leads you to Little Fawn Waterfall. This lesser-known waterfall is actually one of the best waterfalls you’ll see in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The walk is signposted, with the waterfall only a short walk from the visitor centre. Indeed, after thrill-seeking at Go Ape Aberfoyle, go and relax at this stunning waterfall.
4. Duke’s Pass
As mentioned, Duke’s Pass (A821 road) is a scenic road, connecting Aberfoyle with Loch Achray. If you pass through Aberfoyle, you’ll join Duke’s Pass, before arriving at Go Ape Aberfoyle. Continuing further north on Duke’s Pass, you’ll soon reach the entrance of the Three Lochs Forest Drive, which is another scenic drive.
If you bypass the Three Lochs Forest Drive, Duke’s Pass continues up to Loch Achray, passing the Ben Venue Car Park. Eventually, Duke’s Pass ends in the north at Loch Achray. At this point, you can then access Loch Katrine to your left or the Ben A’an Car Park to your right.
5. Three Lochs Forest Drive
Of course, we don’t recommend bypassing the spectacular Three Lochs Forest Drive. The scenic forest drive is also known as the Queen Elizabeth Forest Drive. Essentially, the Three Lochs Forest Drive is a 11.5km (7 mile) one-way tourist route, which, you guessed it, explores the forest and three lochs! The lochs seen during the Three Lochs Forest Drive include Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray. Personally, Beck and I really enjoyed the Three Lochs Forest Drive – it was a very relaxing and peaceful drive.
Please note that the Three Lochs Forest Drive is only open from 9am to 5pm, from Easter to October, and usually costs £3.
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Lochs
In terms of attractions in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park promoted by Forestry and Land Scotland, there’s certainly a focus on the places seen along Duke’s Pass. As mentioned, this includes Go Ape Aberfoyle at the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre and the Three Lochs Forest Drive. But, there’s plenty of other natural beauty to discover in the forest park. This includes drool-worthy lochs.
To that end, let’s look at the best lochs in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
6. Loch Achray
As mentioned, you’ll visit Loch Achray as part of the Three Lochs Forest Drive. Certainly, some of the best views of Loch Achray are seen during the Three Lochs Forest Drive.
7. Loch Katrine
Located near Loch Achray, you’ll find the well-known Loch Katrine. This loch was made famous by the Scottish historian, Sir Walter Scott, in the early 19th century. Indeed, it’s been a popular place to visit ever since.
Read more: Loch Katrine –The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide
8. Loch Venachar
East of Loch Katrine and Loch Achray, along the A821, you’ll discover Loch Venachar. No, Loch Venachar isn’t as popular to visit as Loch Katrine. But, Loch Venachar is equally impressive in terms of its natural beauty.
9. Loch Ard
The gorgeous Loch Ard is located near Aberfoyle. By parking at the Loch Ard Forest Car Park (AKA Milton Car Park Aberfoyle), you can explore this loch as well as some separate lochans (small lochs). On the shores of Loch Ard, you can even visit one of Rob Roy’s caves! Additionally, the Loch Ard Forest is one of the best sections of forest in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
10. Loch Lubnaig
North of Loch Venachar, you’ll find Loch Lubnaig, which runs alongside the A84 road. Loch Lubnaig’s convenient location makes it very accessible and easy to visit. Personally, Loch Lubnaig was one of our favourite lochs in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
Read more: Loch Lubnaig – The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Walks
As well as having lochs, the forest park also has a glorious mountainous landscape. Indeed, there are many Munros, mountains and hills to climb in the forest park. With that in mind, let’s look at the best walks in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
11. Ben Lomond From Rowardennan
The Ben Lomond Walk is the premier walk in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Certainly, if you want magnificent views of Loch Lomond (perhaps the best views of Loch Lomond), then you’ll want to walk up Ben Lomond.
12. Conic Hill From Balmaha
Conic Hill is one of the most famous hills in Scotland. From the summit of Conic Hill, you’ll also enjoy splendid views of Loch Lomond. During the walk, starting in Balmaha, you’ll enjoy a gorgeous forest setting in the Balmaha Plantation.
13. Ben A’an
Known as the mountain in miniature, Ben A’an is one of the most iconic landforms in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, let alone Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Certainly, you’ll have to climb Ben A’an during a trip to the area.
Read more: Ben A’an – The Ultimate Walking Guide
14. Ben Venue
Located near Loch Katrine and Loch Achray, the summit of Ben Venue provides epic views of both of these lochs. Ben Venue is neither a Munro nor Corbett. It’s actually classified as a Graham. But, it doesn’t really matter! Importantly, the Ben Venue Walk involves a combination of numerous beautiful forest tracks. So, you’ll get to enjoy many a stunning forest scene during the walk.
Read more: Ben Venue – The Complete Walking Guide
15. Ben Ledi
Located near Callander and Loch Lubniag, Ben Ledi is an easily recognisable peak on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The Ben Ledi Walk is definitely one of the best walks to do in the forest park.
Things to Do Nearby
As you can tell, there are plenty of things to do in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Of course, there are many other beautiful places to explore in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Read our Best Loch Lomond Walks Guide to discover other awesome walks in the wider area. Otherwise, feel free to have a look at all our Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park guides here.
How to Get to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
The best way to get to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is to drive there yourself. Certainly, having a car gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to see as many of the attractions as possible during a visit. 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. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy.
By using public transport, you can explore some of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Areas such as Aberfoyle, Balmaha, Callander and Strathyre are reachable using public transport. But, there is no public transport travelling along Duke’s Pass. This means you can’t use public transport to get to Go Ape Aberfoyle. Additionally, you’ll need your own vehicle to do the Three Lochs Forest Drive and enjoy the scenic driving on Duke’s Pass.
With all of this in mind, we don’t recommend using public transport to get around this forest park.
Where to Stay in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
When it comes to staying in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Aberfoyle might be one of your best choices. As mentioned, Aberfoyle is the gateway village to the forest park. So, staying in Aberfoyle is a logical choice. Aberfoyle has plenty of great accommodation options, including the well-known Rob Roy Hotel.
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park camping: there are many camping options in the area. Indeed, some of the best campsites in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are located in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Personally, we think the best campsite in the forest park is the Loch Achray Campsite.
The campsite is beautifully located on the southern shores of Loch Achray and is surrounded by the sublime Achray Forest. Given the superb location, you’ll have a decent chance of spotting wildlife at dusk and dawn. Keep an eye out for deer, pine martens, red squirrels, ospreys, golden eagles and black grouses.
Just so you know, you can’t wild camp at the Loch Achray Campsite. To make a booking, please click here.
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
How Big Is Queen Elizabeth Forest Park?
It’s 50,000 acres, which is approx. 202 square km.
What Is the Largest Forest in Scotland?
The Galloway Forest is actually the largest forest in Scotland, measuring approx. 190,000 acres (796 square km).
Who Owns Queen Elizabeth Forest Park?
It’s owned and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland.
- Best time to visit: the best months for visiting Scotland are during summer or either side of it (May to October).
- Other places to visit at Queen Elizabeth Forest Park: yes, there are many other things to do in the area that we didn’t list in the guide above. Some notable exclusions from the list include Callander Crags, the Trossachs Trail and Strathyre Forest.
- Long-distance walks pass through the forest park: the West Highland Way, Rob Roy Way and The Great Trossachs Path all pass through the area. Indeed, exploring the forest park by doing a long-distance walk is a unique way to experience the area.
For more Scotland content, please read our NC500 guides.