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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,125 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    26.2 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
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    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Cairn of Gowal Loop


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    Table of contents

    The Cairn of Gowal Loop is a rough and rugged excursion in Cairngorms National Park that will take you over a number of peaks for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill through a glen along the River South Esk, before traversing a series of peaks overlooking Loch Muick and Dubh Loch. This is no doubt a challenging adventure, but the stunning mountain scenery and feeling of accomplishment will certainly be worth the effort.

    Route Description for Cairn of Gowal Loop

    While there are certainly shorter and easier walking routes in Cairngorms National Park, you will be hard-pressed to find a more scenic adventure than the Cairn of Gowal Loop. Featuring a lengthy overall distance, rugged mountain terrain, and views that sweep across the park, this route will certainly make for an action-packed day on the trails.

    Setting out from the car park, you will make your way through the glen to the north, following along the banks of the River South Esk as it snakes through the valley and leads you uphill to the northwest. Here, you will continue further uphill to traverse the summits of Broad Cairn, Cairn of Gowal, and Cairn Bannoch, all while taking in the beautifully scenic views overlooking Loch Muick and Dubh Loch.

    Reaching the northernmost point of the route, the trail will bend to the south across Fafernie, traversing the rugged mountain landscape to visit the Munros of Tolmount and Tom Buidhe. From the summit of this last hill, you will make your way into the glen to the southeast where you will meet the banks of White Water. Following the edge of the river, you will pass through the serene expanse of Glendoll Forest and eventually arrive back at the car park where you began your walk.

    Getting to the Cairn of Gowal Loop Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Cairn of Gowal Loop can be found at the Glendoll car park, located 5.5 km northwest of Clova.

    Route Information

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    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

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    Cairn of Gowal Loop Elevation Graph

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