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12 Best Things to Do in the West Highlands of Scotland

12 Best Things to Do in the West Highlands of Scotland

The West Highlands (AKA the Western Highlands) of Scotland is easily one of the most beautiful areas in the country, and the whole of the UK (and Europe). The area is full of incredible mountains, waterfalls, tourist attractions and even some breathtaking castles. So, where should you spend your time exploring in the West Highlands of Scotland?

Well, many hikers choose the multi-day (6–9 day) West Highland Way and yes, that’s a fine option. I had the pleasure of walking it over seven days in 2018 and had a fantastic time. But, when it comes to exploring the West Highlands, we believe there is an even better option.

We highly recommend doing a mixture of day hikes, chasing waterfalls, sightseeing and exploring castles. Collectively, this will provide you with an even better overall experience exploring the area than completing the West Highland Way.

With that said, this guide will reveal the 12 best things to do in the Western Highlands of Scotland.

What Are the Western Highlands in Scotland?

The Western Highlands of Scotland is the awe-inspiring mountainous region extending from Loch Lomond in the south to the northern coast. This beautiful yet rugged area is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and outdoor recreational activities. Certainly, in this guide, we’re going to reveal the best places to visit and the best things to do to experience the very best of the West Highlands of Scotland.

The Three Sisters in Glencoe in the Western Highlands of Scotland
The Three Sisters

What Are the Best Places to Visit in the Western Highlands of Scotland?

The Western Highlands of Scotland include iconic landmarks and areas between Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the north coast. In this guide, we’re going to focus on attractions in and around the Glencoe National Nature Reserve, which is the heart of the West Highlands of Scotland.

There are plenty of excellent day hikes in and around the Glencoe National Nature Reserve in the West Highlands of Scotland. Starting around the southernmost area of the West Highlands, the Tarmachan Ridge is a brilliant hike, which will certainly whet your appetite for marvellous mountainous landscapes.

Heading north to picturesque Glencoe, you can experience Bidean Nam Bian – a truly spectacular day hike, one of the best in Scotland. Onwards and upwards to Fort William, you can climb Britain’s highest mountain (Ben Nevis) and the even more spectacular Ring of Steall, which includes a mesmerising four Munros!

Heading further north, out of the Glencoe National Nature Reserve, you can do one more spectacular mountain trail and ridgeline – The Saddle via Forcan Ridge. To finish, you’ll hike to arguably the best waterfall in Britain – the Falls of Glomach in Morvich.

Besides hiking these trails, you’ll find excellent waterfalls, castles and tourist sites to explore. All in all, we’ve handpicked the 12 best things to do in the West Highlands of Scotland to help you explore the area in all its glory.

Beck and Dan enjoy Ben Nevis summit in the West Highlands of Scotland, the UK's highest mountain
Ben Nevis

Exclusions

As mentioned, we’re going to focus on attractions and things to do in and around the Glencoe National Nature Reserve. With this in mind, we won’t cover attractions or things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park or in the Scottish Islands or Hebrides such as the Isle of Skye.

In addition, we haven’t included attractions or hikes in the North West Highlands, which you could do on an NC500 road trip. That’s why we didn’t include walks such as Beinn Alligin, Beinn Eighe or Liathach. For the same reason, we left out trails like Suilven and Quinag.

12 Best Things to Do in the West Highlands, Scotland

Below, we’ll run through the 12 best things to do in the West Highlands of Scotland, which you can squeeze into a one-week itinerary!

Suggested West Highlands Scotland 1 Week Itinerary

If you want to complete all 12 of the best things in the West Highlands of Scotland in just one week, this is how you do it! Bear in mind, that this itinerary isn’t for the faint-hearted. Given the hiking involved, you’ll want to be well-conditioned and in good physical shape to complete this itinerary.

Am Bodach, a Ring of Steall Munro, in the Western Highlands of Scotland
Ring of Steall

Why Not Just Do the West Highland Way?

All of these walks in the West Highlands of Scotland are truly exceptional mountain trails, climbing much higher elevations than the West Highland Way. These day hikes involve steep ascents to their respective peaks and summits, some via extraordinary ridgelines, providing unrivalled views of the sensational mountainous landscapes. In a nutshell, that’s why day hiking in the West Highlands is even better than hiking the West Highland Way!

1. Tarmachan Ridge

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 13.7km
  • Time: 4.5–5.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 855m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Ben Lawers Car Park (free for National Trust members)

The first hike we’ll talk about in the Western Highland of Scotland is the Tarmachan Ridge Hike. This walk begins with a short flat trail through some lovely bushland and wildflowers. You’ll then cross a track and continue on a path that begins to ascend. With good weather, your climb should reveal exceptional views of the Ben Lawers range, Loch Tay and Lochan na Lairige. Initially, we didn’t get to enjoy these nice views due to the thick mist. If you experience the same poor conditions, don’t worry – depending on the weather (and your luck), this mist may begin to clear as time passes.

Your ascent will undulate and meander through the vividly green mountainside. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Meall Nan Tarmachan (1,043m), which has Munro status! Of particular beauty are the Glen Lyon ranges to the north.

Tarmachan Ridge, Meall Garbh & Beinn an Eachan

Would you believe that reaching the Munro isn’t the best part of this hike? Tarmachan Ridge is certainly the highlight of this route. So, after you’ve caught your breath atop Meall Nan Tarmachan, you’ll head in a southwest direction to navigate the winding ridge.

No scrambling is required just yet, so you can really just focus on taking in your stunning surroundings. Eventually, you’ll descend the ridge, pass some lochs and once again ascend, this time via a rougher climb up towards the summit of Meall Garbh (968m). Staying on the main path, you’ll have the narrowest part of the ridge to hike – it’s absolutely epic!

Keep in mind, that after the narrow section, there is one steep rocky scramble to descend; but, it’s very short and isn’t too strenuous. If anything, it’s a good warm-up for some of the more intense scrambling you’ll be doing on other West Highland walks included in the itinerary.

Following the scramble, the path leads to another peak called Beinn an Eachan (1,000m), revealing gorgeous views toward Glen Lochay. From here, it’s possible to add another peak via a relatively short out and back to Creag na Caillich (914m); but, we’ll leave that up to you as it’s not part of the official route!

Either way, for the return journey, you’ll descend from the lowest bealach. The descent initially crosses pathless boggy ground before reaching an obvious outward track. Whilst rounding the southern flanks of the ridge back towards the trailhead, the path passes some nice cascades.

FYI – Despite being higher than 900m, Meall Garbh, Beinn nan Eachan and Creag na Caillich are all classified as ‘Munro Tops’ rather than Munros.

Read more: The Complete Guide To The Meall Nan Tarmachan Ridge Hike

Dan atop a ridge in the Western Highlands of Scotland

2. Falls of Dochart

After completing Tarmachan Ridge, make sure to check out the nearby charming Falls of Dochart in Killin. It certainly makes for a lovely stop. For sure, the Falls of Dochart are one of the easiest natural attractions to access in the West Highlands of Scotland.

Read more: Falls of Dochart – The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide

A cascade waterfall called Falls of Dochart in Killin

3. Bidean Nam Bian (The Three Sisters)

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 12.8km
  • Time: 7–8 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain:  1,315m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Three Sisters Car Park

The next hike we’ll talk about in the Western Highlands of Scotland is the magnificent Bidean Nam Bian hike. It’s set in one of the most beautiful places Beck and I have ever visited – Glencoe. So, we guarantee this trail will be one of your favourite walks in the West Highlands of Scotland. Fascinatingly, these mountain ranges can hold snow well into summer, so keep that in mind before setting off.

Right from the start, you’ll have magnificent views of the Three Sisters.

The initial flat trail soon meets a footbridge. On the other side of that, your steep climb between Gear Aonach and Aonach Dubh, up into Coire nan Lochan begins, following a series of majestic cascades.

Stob Coire nan Lochan

Eventually, you’ll turn right and cross a stream, aiming towards the foot of Stob Coire nan Lochan’s north ridge. Along the way, expect sublime views of the opposing Glencoe mountain ranges to your right and the prominent peak of Stob Coire nan Lochan to your left.

At the foot of the north ridge, you’ll turn left and head to the summit Stob Coire Nan Lochan (1,115m). Interestingly, Stob Coire Nan Lochan doesn’t qualify for Munro status given its close proximity to Bidean Nam Bian! The hike requires mild scrambling at times, as you navigate large boulders on your way to the peak.

After a physically tiring ascent, you’ll have phenomenal views at the top of Stob Coire nan Lochan. We didn’t take too many photos up there; but, we captured plenty of drool-worthy drone footage – make sure to check it out here.

Views of Stob Coire nan Lochan in the Western Highlands of Scotland

Bidean Nam Bian (First Munro)

You’ll then head down from this summit, following a path on gentle scree that leads you towards Bidean Nam Bian (1,150m). This is Munro number one! Before reaching this next summit, there is another steep section to negotiate. Make sure to take the upward path that keeps to the left of this steep section, for an easier ascent to the peak.

Once again, there are mind-blowing views in all directions! From Bidean Nam Bian, it’s easy to pick out Loch Etive, the mountain ranges of Ballachulish, Aonach Eagach and Ben Nevis. In fact, it’s the perfect stop for lunch!

After you’ve re-fulled, it’s time to continue along an astonishing ridge that leads you to the second Munro of the day – Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

Bidean Nam Bian mountain range in the West Highlands of Scotland

Stob Coire Sgreamhach (Second Munro)

The gorgeous ridge hike crosses a few minor summits and eventually descends to Bealach Dearg. From here, a short but steep out and back is required to reach Stob Coire Sgreamhach (1,072m). No scrambling is required; although, there are some steep boulders to negotiate. It’s without surprise that more mouthwatering views await. Expect marvellous views of Buachaille Etive Beag, Buachaille Etive Mòr, Ben Starav and Ben Cruachan.

Beck and Dan stand and embrace, looking at the mountains ranges in the West Highlands of Scotland

The Lost Valley

After returning to the Bealach Dearg, you’ll descend north into Coire Gabhail, i.e. the Lost Valley. Admittedly, your initial descent is steep and a bit sketchy. A scree gully leading down has eroded considerably and we saw a few people really struggle down that path. We recommend an alternate pseudo-path that descends broken rocks to the right of the gully. Even in good conditions, make sure to take your time! The descent can be quite dangerous in wet and snowy conditions.

After a slow and careful descent, the trail gradually flattens, steering you to the left side of the valley. You’re sure to feel dwarfed by the surrounding mountain ranges. The valley soon narrows, passing a large flat expanse and then an area of large boulders. It was at this point that we lost the trail and needed to backtrack to find the well-defined path to the right of the valley. Following this path, you’ll soon pass a series of pristine cascading streams.

Exiting the valley to complete the trail involves following a pitched footpath, footbridges to cross over the river and a path leading through birch woodland. We found this final section of the trail a convenient time for some speed hiking, even though we were proper buggered!

Certainly, the Lost Valley and The Three Sisters are some of the most scenic areas in the West Highlands of Scotland.

Read more: Bidean Nam Bian Hike In Glencoe – The Ultimate Guide

Dan walks through the Lost Valley on the Bidean Nam Bian hike in the Western Highlands of Scotland

4. Inchree Falls

The Inchree Falls are another impressive waterfall in the Western Highlands of Scotland. This waterfall can be reached via a circular 5km from the Inchree Falls Car Park. We had initially planned to do this as our short afternoon hike after Bidean Nam Bian. But, with a very sore knee, I thought it best to sit this one out. That’s because we had many upcoming mountain trails to conquer in the days ahead!

5. Ben Nevis Mountain Trail

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 16.3km
  • Time: 5.25 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,320m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Ben Nevis Visitor Centre (£6)

Given Ben Nevis is Britain’s highest mountain (1,345m), the Ben Nevis Mountain Trail is a very popular route in summer, even during the week. Due to the crowds and the fairly unadventurous and straightforward mountain path, the Ben Nevis Mountain Trail was probably one of our least favourite walks in the West Highlands of Scotland. For a quieter route, we highly recommend climbing Ben Nevis via Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête. Although, this route is for experienced hikers as it’s a much harder route!

Despite the inevitable crowds on the mountain path, climbing to Ben Nevis is still a magnificent hiking experience. If anything, the easy-to-navigate trail will be a refreshing change given the more challenging and technical routes on this itinerary.

Keep in mind, that even if the trail is completely covered in mist at the beginning of the trail, in good conditions, it’s only a matter of time until you climb high enough to get above the mist.

Cloud inversion on the Ben Nevis hike in Scotland

The Summit of Ben Nevis

The Ben Nevis Mountain Trail is really easy to follow; so, there’s no need for us to provide much of a trail description. Although, once you pass Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, which will be to your left, you’ll arrive at a junction. Make sure to turn right to begin the tortuous zig-zag ascents up to the summit of Ben Nevis. Keep an eye out for the small waterfall on the way up and be prepared for some snow on the track, even in summer!

Thankfully, the gradient eventually eases as you reach the vast summit plateau. There are various memorials, cairns and large slabs of snow. Be careful not to tread too close to the cliff’s edge, particularly in snow-covered areas.

Of course, standing atop the trig of Ben Nevis, and temporarily being the two highest people in the UK, is a once in a lifetime moment and one you’ll never forget.

Now, it’s time for lunch with a view. To escape the crowds, head to the southern face of the summit for uninterrupted views of, well, most of the Western Highlands in Scotland! After you’ve re-fuelled, it’s time for the much easier descent. You’ll be surprised how much quicker it is to descend the Ben Nevis Mountain Trail – you may even go down in half the time it took to climb up!

Read more: Climbing Ben Nevis – How To Summit The UK’s Highest Mountain

6. Steall Falls

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 4km
  • Time: 1–1.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 100m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Upper Falls Car Park

After doing the Ben Nevis Mountain Trail, Beck and I decided we would check out the nearby Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge. It’s a short 5km out and back starting from the Upper Glen Nevis Car Park and only takes around 1.5 hours.

Once you emerge from the woodlands, you’ll continue up the glen with a cascading stream to your right and a superb valley floor ahead. After crossing the river or taking the steel-cable bridge, you’ll reach the spectacular Steall Falls. This waterfall is supposedly the second highest in Scotland, plummeting 120 metres down the rock face. Feel free to explore the base of the falls or retrace your steps to complete the route.

FYI – the Ring of Steall route (see below) encompasses the walk to Steall Falls. So, if you’re short on time, you could simply visit the waterfall during this hike. Albeit, given the Ring of Steall is an all-day hike, you won’t have as much time to swim and relax at the waterfall.

Read more: Steall Falls – A Spectacular Waterfall Walk In Glen Nevis

7. Ring of Steall

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 17.6km
  • Time: 8–12 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,680m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Upper Falls Car Park

The Ring of Steall is arguably one of the best walks in the West Highlands of Scotland. It’s considered a mountain classic. Other than the magnificent Steall Falls, the route takes in an incredible 4 Munros – An Gearanach, Stob Choire a Chàirn, Am Bodach and Sgùrr a’Mhaim.

After passing the base of Steall Falls, you’ll have a steep climb up to the first Munro – An Gearanach (982m). Our views were initially scuppered by the low-hanging mist. But, after a tough ascent, we could finally catch a glimpse of the stunning Highland scenery surrounding us.

The top of An Gearanach affords stunning views of Ben Nevis and Sgùrr a’ Mhaim. From here, there is also an awe-inspiring narrow ridge that forms the arête of An Garbhanach. You’ll continue along this ridge and nearing the end, there is a mild scramble to ascend.

Once your reach the top of the scramble, you’ll briefly descend before another steep climb to the second Munro of the day – Stob Coire a’Chàirn (981m).

In good conditions, expect brilliant views of the Grey Corries and eastern Mamores from Stob Coire a’Chàirn.

You’ll then descend the much flatter grassy southwest ridge that crosses a small summit before another steep ascent takes you to the third Munro of the day – Am Boadch (1,032m). Each Munro provides a different perspective on the surrounding mountains and the views from Am Boadch are yet another spectacular sight.

Dan and Beck in the Mamores

Devil’s Ridge, the Final Munro and the Descent

Following the third Munro, you’ll have the awe-inspiring Devil’s Ridge to follow. The narrow arête cuts through a mainly grassy path along the crest and leads you to the fourth Munro – Stob Coire a’Mhail (990m).

With yet another Munro showing off stunning scenes, you’ll find it hard to take it all in! So, park your bum, rest, eat your lunch and soak up this immense scenery in the Western Highlands of Scotland. From here, you’ll be able to see all of the epic ridges and majestic mountain peaks you have just conquered!

Well done on getting to the fourth and final Munro. Thankfully, there’s no more elevation to gain; but, what goes up must come down! Expect quite a long slog as you begin your steep descent down quartzite scree. It’s easy to lose your footing on the loose rock, particularly with fatigued legs, so watch your step.

The path eventually flattens as it becomes grassy near the bottom. To finish the loop, follow the quaint Riverside Path, cross Paddy’s Bridge and follow the road back for the remaining 1km or so.

Read more: Ring Of Steall – How To Hike This Classic Mountain Circuit

8. Grey Mare’s Tail and Loch Skeen

If you’re looking for another leisurely hike to a waterfall, consider Grey Mare’s Tail and Loch Skeen. It’s a 4.5km walk that visits a gorgeous loch and a nice waterfall too. Personally, Beck and I didn’t get a chance to do this walk. But, we’ve heard good things about it and recommend it if you have time.

9. Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct (AKA the Harry Potter Bridge) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the West Highlands of Scotland. Since the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films, it’s become an extremely popular place to visit.

In this guide that we’ve linked to below, we talk about the most essential tips and tricks for visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct. With that said, we tell you how to get to the Glenfinnan Viaduct Viewpoint and how to time your visit to photograph the Jacobite Steam Train (Hogwarts Express) running along the viaduct.

Read more: Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter Bridge) – 13 Things to Know

Glenfinnan Viaduct (AKA Harry Potter Bridge and Harry Potter Viaduct), Glenfinnan Viaduct Viewpoint, Scotland

10. The Saddle via Forcan Ridge

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 15.2km
  • Time: 7.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,425m
  • Difficulty: Difficult (Forcan Ridge Very Hard)
  • Trailhead: Layby (57.17620, -5.364590)

Another crackin’ route in the West Highlands of Scotland is the Saddle via Forcan Ridge. This trail takes in two Munros – the Saddle and Sgùrr na Sgìne, which unsurprisingly, offer more of the same – drool-worthy mountainous views. The hike begins with an undulating climb up to the col between Biod an Fhithich and Meallan Odhar.

After taking a left, you’ll head to the foot of Forcan Ridge – a challenging breadknife scramble that’ll get your adrenaline pumping. From the get-go, moderate scrambling is required to climb up the steep ridge.

After a few false peaks, you’ll eventually reach Sgùrr na Forcan, which shows off incredible views of the Forcan Ridge you are in the midst of conquering!

Scrambling continues along the ridge as you gradually gain more elevation. Make sure to take your time, you don’t want to be making any rash decisions up on the ridge. Feel free to use any of the flatter side trails that avoid difficult and technical sections (don’t worry, it’s not cheating!)

Eventually, you’ll arrive at the Saddle (1,010m), where you’ll find a trig point and a great spot for lunch a little further along!

You’ll then descend to Bealach Coire Mhalagain, following a steep rocky trail that soon flattens and becomes boggy. Despite the awesomeness of the ridge scramble, for those less experienced, it’s possible to avoid the Forcan Ridge altogether by turning left at the foot of it. You’ll keep just to the right of a drystone dyke, which leads up to the Bealach Coire Mhalagain. You can then do an out and back to the Saddle from Bealach Coire Mhalagain.

Dan stands atop The Saddle in Kintail

Sgùrr na Sgìne (Second Munro)

To continue, there is a pathless ascent that initially meanders through rocky slopes. You’ll then reach a more defined path, which signals the beginning of the out and back section to the second Munro of the route – Sgùrr na Sgìne (946m). It’s steep going but no scrambling is required. The flat expansive summit provides sweeping views of the surrounding ranges. Don’t be surprised if you’re absolutely knackered after climbing up!

After you descend Sgùrr na Sgìne, the return journey begins over the northwest top and continues along a wide ridge to the minor summit of Faochag. You’ll then have a very steep descent directly down the northeast ridge, so take care! The path eventually flattens, passing a small picturesque stream and leading you to the road. Turn left, there’s only around 500m or so of road walking to complete the trail.

Read more: The Saddle Via Forcan Ridge – The Best of Scottish Scambling

11. Eilean Donan Castle

Not far from the Saddle trail is the famous Eilean Donan Castle. We recommend checking out the Eilan Donan Lookout, before heading to the castle to check out the castle up close and personal. At £10, the admission fee isn’t too pricey.

We booked in advance to guarantee a booking late in the day (last admission: 5pm), so we didn’t have to rush doing the Saddle trail beforehand. When we visited in the summer of 2021, opening hours were 10 am–6 pm, meaning we only had an hour; but, that was plenty of time to explore the castle! Eilean Donan Castle is an impressive castle with a beautiful setting on the coast. For sure, it’s one of the best attractions in the Western Highlands of Scotland.

12. Falls of Glomach

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 18.9km
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 820m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Parking opposite the entrance to Morvich Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite

Last but not least, let’s talk about a hike to arguably one of the best waterfalls in Britain – the Falls of Glomach.

Starting by the River Croe, the route initially meanders through the forest on a flat trail. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some deer frolicking nearby.

After passing through some more forestry, you’ll eventually arrive at a steep climb uphill. The trail is positioned to the left side of the luscious valley above the river.

Following a gradual ascent through the valley, the trail flattens and veers left. You’ll then follow a gently undulating trail through a very quiet and isolated mountainous area. Soon enough, you’ll descend a winding path, reaching a boggy section as you approach the gorge. Look out for frogs on this section of the trail.

The sound of the falls begins to register as you see the top of the waterfall generated from Allt a’ Ghlomaich.

From there, a defined trail zig-zags down to a peer-down ledge which improves your view of the falls and provides an unparalleled lookout of the incredible gorge.

Return Journey

To finish the hike, simply retrace your steps back to Morvich! We actually passed one couple (and their dogs) on the way back and they were the only people we saw during the entire trail. Given the Falls of Glomach are truly spectacular and it was in the middle of summer, we were surprised by how quiet the trail was. Perhaps, it’s not a very popular route because hikers disregard a trail without a Munro to bag! So, expect a peaceful and quiet trail all year round!

Overall, the multi-tiered 113 metre waterfall is easily one of the best in the UK. Despite not being a mountain trail, the hike still provides some of the best landscapes in the West Highlands of Scotland. Certainly, for something other than a mountain trail in the West Highlands, the Falls of Glomach hike is a perfect choice!

Read more: Falls Of Glomach – An Enchanting Walk To A Hidden Waterfall

West Highlands, Scotland: Recap

We hope this article has helped you plan your Western Highlands trip in Scotland. Certainly, there is more to the West Highlands than just the multi-day West Highland Way. In fact, we think you’ll have an even better time, experiencing the 12 best things to do in the area, compared to walking the West Highland Way.

What’s Next?

After completing the Falls of Glomach trail, Beck and I made our way to the Cairngorms National Park to do the Green Lochan hike. We then spent the next day hiking Scotland’s second-highest mountain – Ben Macdui on Beck’s birthday, before heading home the next day.

However, if you’re looking for another trail in the Western Highlands of Scotland, we recommend heading further north. Just over an hour away, on the NC500 route is the 7km Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain hike, starting from Bealach na Ba. The two hour trail gains 375 metres of elevation and is a good option for a shorter afternoon adventure. You’ll find more details on this hike and others on the NC500 in this guide.

Ben Macdui

Extra Walks in the West Highlands, Scotland

Of course, the obvious omission of this West Highlands Scotland best things to do list is the unbelievable Aonach Eagach in Fort William. This landform is famed for having the narrowest ridgeline on mainland Britain. If you’re experienced with hardcore scrambling, feel free to add this to your itinerary to make it an eight day trip. Otherwise, if you only have one week and you’re all about the mountain trails, you could swap out the Falls of Glomach for Aonach Eagach.

Otherwise, here are some of the other most popular walks in the Glencoe National Nature Reserve.

  • Ballachulish Slate Quarries and Loch Leven Walk
  • The Pap of Glencoe (Sgorr na Ciche)
  • Buachaille Etive Mor
  • Buachaille Etive Beag
  • Beinn a’Briethir
  • Aonach Eagach
  • Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh
  • Beinn a’Chrulaiste
  • An Torr and Signal Rock
  • Glencoe Lochan Trail
  • The Devil’s Staircase

Getting to Scotland

To do this trip from abroad, it makes sense to fly to Glasgow or even Edinburgh. You should use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights when booking flights.

Getting to the West Highlands of Scotland

From Glasgow and Edinburgh, it only takes 1.5 and 1.5–2 hours, respectively, to reach the first of the West Highland walks in Killin. Accessing some of the trailheads of the hikes mentioned in this article requires a car. If you don’t have one, we highly recommend hiring one.

Car Hire

DiscoverCars.com

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.

Accommodation in the West Highlands, Scotland

There are plenty of excellent accommodation options in the Western Highlands of Scotland. You’ll find the most variety of accommodation options in Fort William. But, perhaps, some of the nicest accommodation is in Glencoe. To find the perfect accommodation that suits you, search on Booking.com.

Our Experience Camping in the West Highlands, Scotland

Admittedly, we booked this trip to the West Highlands of Scotland fairly last minute. So, when it came to camping, many of the more budget-friendly campsites were booked out. Essentially, we just had to book what was available, which meant paying more for camping than we would have liked to.

Albeit, given Glencoe and Fort William are very popular tourist areas, it’s normal to pay above average for camping here. Thankfully, the, let’s call them – premium campsites, that we stayed at during our trip were absolutely phenomenal!

Keep in mind that campfires are not permitted at any of the campgrounds mentioned below.

Camping in Glencoe

The Glencoe Camping & Caravanning Club Site is a beautifully located campground in the Western Highlands of Scotland. You’ll have outrageous views of the Three Sisters and the surrounding Glencoe mountain ranges. The amenities and facilities were top-notch! We paid around £64 for two nights for a grass pitch with an electric hook-up. At this campsite, you won’t have to pay extra for a gazebo (awning).

Glencoe Camping & Caravanning Club Site is a great base for doing Bidean Nam Bian, as it’s less than a 10 minute drive away from the trailhead.

Camping in Fort Williams

The Ben Nevis Holiday Park is another campground with fantastic views of the surrounding Western Highlands of Scotland, including views of, you guessed it – Ben Nevis. Being based in Fort William, you won’t be far from the trailheads of Ben Nevis or the Ring of Steall, making it a convenient location. For an electric tent pitch, we paid £50 for 2 nights, plus an extra £10 for a gazebo (awning).

Compared to the Glencoe Camping & Caravanning Club Site, we found the Ben Nevis Holiday Park slightly busier. The amenities and facilities were really good. But, again, our site was a bit smaller than what we had at the other campground.

Camping in Morvich

For our final night camping in the Western Highlands of Scotland, we stayed at the Morvich Caravan Club site. The Saddle trail is located close by, and this campground is practically the trailhead for the Falls of Glomach hike; so, it’s a great base for these West Highland walks. For one night, we paid around £24 for a non-electric tent pitch (electric pitches were booked out), which included the price of a gazebo (awning).

Being situated outside of the more touristic areas like Glencoe and Fort William, we found the Morvich Caravan Club site less crowded. Amenities and facilities are also really good there. The views of the Highlands are nice; but, not as epic as from the other campgrounds.

Hiking Essentials For the West Highlands, Scotland

Here are some gear essentials for hiking in the Western Highlands of Scotland.

Osprey Skarab 30
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
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
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
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.

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 simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

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.

Camping Essentials For the West Highlands, Scotland

Here are some gear essentials for camping in the West Highlands of Scotland.

You may also want a Smidge Head Net and Mosquito Repellent Bracelets.

After all, you’ll need to have the right gear when visiting in summer to avoid being attacked by midges. They are notoriously vicious!

Trail Navigation in the West Highlands, Scotland

Excluding the Ben Nevis Mountain Trail and Falls of Glomach, the other West Highland walks in this itinerary are challenging to navigate and sometimes technical mountain trails. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it can be easy to take a wrong turn without some basic guidance. So, we recommend using GPS-guided maps for directions.

Tips For Visiting the West Highlands, Scotland

  • Weather in the Highlands in summer: don’t be put off by misty mornings at the trailhead and poor visibility. If the weather forecast suggests good conditions, you’ll eventually climb above the mist and fog as you ascend the mountain.
  • Beware of midges: we found that midges tend to leave you alone when you’re hiking. But, we’d still recommend wearing a strong insect repellent to stop them from gathering when you stop to take a rest or photo!

Do you have any questions about visiting the Western Highlands of Scotland? Please let us know in the comments below.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen 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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