Walks in The Highlands of Scotland
Feel the ghosts of legends, traditions, bloody clan clashes, and stories harking back centuries while walking in the Highlands. Seriously—there's no better way to immerse in the incredible scenery sweeping Scotland's north. Whether you're summiting Ben Nevis, several Munros in one go, or exploring mystical gorges, the folklore imagery will transport you to some time in the past, where legends dictated ways of life and non-fiction happenings survive as often-told tales today. The best part is that you don't need to be an advanced hillwalker to experience the phenomenal scenery the Highlands has to offer. Almost all ages will find trails leading to castles, viewpoints, summits, through glens that give glimpses of the great yore of the Highlands.
The 10 Greatest Walks in the Highlands
Sift through the list of epic walks in the Highlands below, choose your favourites, lace up your boots and off you go! Pack a range of walks into your visit to the Highlands: gloomy and misty gorge meanders speckled with glistening waterfalls, seaside strolls, moderate to intense hill walks for an unveiling of magical scenery, bagging Munros (sometimes several in one adventure) to reach incredible viewpoints, family-friendly walks leading to castles, forest and moorland explorations, and trails hugging fairytale lochs…
What we're trying to say is that the wild landscapes never cease to amaze or end! When you’re out and about, be sure to look out for wild Highland cows, the Scottish wildcat often confused with a lost house cat, golden eagles, humpback whale, puffins, the rare red squirrel, dolphins, and red deer.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at some of the best walks in the Highlands below!
- Ben Nevis Mountain Path Walk - Tackle the most straightforward path leading to the ever-so rewarding summit of Ben Nevis! We suggest taking on a few other hillwalks before attempting this unforgettable, bucket-list worthy adventure—come prepared for snow as well, even in the summer.
- Old Man of Storr Walk - Revel in the fascinating rock formations making up the Old Man of Storr on this epic, short adventure! We've ranked the Old Man of Storr Walk as best for older children only due to some steep sections and rockfall potential on rainier days. Nevertheless, this is one of the best walks to do when visiting the Isle of Skye.
- Stac Pollaidh Walk - Are you looking for an easy adventure? Skip this one. The Stac Pollaidh Walk may be short, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart! After a steep elevation gain, bask in views of Assynt, Summer Isles, and Loch Veyatie. Get ready for a highlight reel of vistas jam-packed into a few kilometres.
- Buachaille Etive Mòr Walk - Bag two Munros on the Buachaille Etive Mòr Walk (Stob Dearg and Stob na Bròige)! But that's not all! The Buachaille Etive Mòr ridge boasts four summits, and guess what? You'll tackle all four on this unruly, intense, and enriching adventure, where a sightline filled with staggering peaks awaits!
- Sandwood Bay Walk - Gather your family and head out to one of—if not the—best beaches in Scotland, the pristine Sandwood Bay. Drop your jaw at the untouched golden sand illuminated by the glistening seascape, cliffs, and sea stack! Maybe you'll even spot a marine animal or two.
- Suilven Walk - Wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a full day? The Suilven Walk will grant you this wish! Enjoy an unveiling of mystical views as you ascend Suilven (731 m). Be prepared to take on some minor scrambling and steep climbs—it’ll all be worth it in the end!
- Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge Walk - Fall in love with the dramatic imagery coating Nevis Gorge as you make your way to the tumbling Steall Falls! This short walk makes for a fun and memorable adventure for the entire family!
- Quiraing Circuit Walk - The Quiraing Circuit Walk may seem relaxing, but your heart will shoot up along this hill loop! Thankfully, the folklore-like, mystical, supernatural scenery will divert your attention from any huffs and puffs. Walk by Needle, Prison, and various Highland natural wonders on this bang-for-your-buck adventure. Older children will enjoy this one!
- Neist Point Walk - The Neist Point Walk is another must-do adventure on the Isle of Skye. Follow a path surrounded by cliffs dropping into the swirling sea below as you head towards a lighthouse harking back to 1909. This walk is family-friendly, but keep your kids close and don’t stray off the path!
- Pap of Glencoe Walk - Gain a significant elevation in a short distance to reach 360-views of Loch Leven nestled in front of the Mamroes range on the Pap of Glencoe Walk. This walk is definitely a Highlands highlight!
When Is The Best Time To Walk in the Highlands?
While you can do most walks year-round, we suggest tackling most routes between May and October when there’s a higher chance of drier and clear conditions. However, some routes may still hold snow deep into the summer, making it essential to always research conditions before you go and come prepared. It’s also common to experience windy conditions. Pack layers to stay warm on hillwalks with a lot of exposure!
Best Regions for Walking in the Highlands
The Highlands boasts several incredible regions! To start, we suggest going to Fort William, Inverness, or the Isle of Skye, where amazing adventures await.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Highlands
While walking through the forest, moorland, alongside lochs and coastlines, bagging a Munro, and summiting hills sit atop the list of adventures in the Highlands; you'll also find a collection of other things to do! Go sea swimming and birdwatching in Assynt, check out Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle near Inverness, go mountain biking and road biking in and around Fort William and Inverness (to start, anyway), and kayak riveting sea waters around Shetland, Orkney, and the Outer Hebrides. Honestly, the list of things to do in the Highlands is endless!
Adventure Tours in the Highlands
Not in the mood to plan your own adventure? We’ve got you covered! Check out our list of adventure tours in the Highlands and take a look at these tours If you’re interested in taking on the West Highland Way.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Scottish Highlands known for?
Other than holding unforgettable legends and fables, the Highlands have set the scene for other stories to come to life, such as Harry Potter and Outlander. The Highlands is also known for producing whisky!
Where do the Highlands start?
Starting from Fort William, the Highlands continue by Skye, bending around North Coast 500 to the far north towards Durness and John O’Groats, then past Inverness and Elgin in the east.
Can you go wild camping in the Highlands?
Wild camping is allowed throughout Scotland, but due to heavy traffic, some areas are subject to more rules or may require you to book a campsite. Learn more about wild camping in Scotland here.
Are most trails dog-friendly in the Highlands?
Yes! However, some routes may not be suitable or safe for dogs, so be sure to check out this information before you take your furry friend along on your adventures.
Find other amazing walking regions in the UK:
Best Hikes in The Highlands
Ben Nevis Mountain Path Walk
Tackling Scotland’s Ben Nevis Mountain Path Walk is no easy feat! This adventure is best reserved for experienced hillwalkers, especially since snow usually cloaks the ground, adding yet another challenging component to overcome. However, after gaining a significant amount of elevation, nothing beats the feeling of standing atop the UK’s highest mountain with the views of the Highlands stretching into the horizon below. The route described below follows the most straightforward path to summit Ben Nevis!
If you're planning on bagging this Munro and are relatively new to hillwalking, we suggest avoiding this during the winter months when the route can get super technical. It can even hold snow during the summer. The bottom line: come prepared with the proper equipment for various weather conditions, even if you're walking in summer.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Talisker Bay Trail
The Talisker Bay Trail makes for a relaxing family adventure! Nothing beats the swirl of sea-scented air and an image of soft waves lapping onto the shore while a sea stack and a grassy cliffside create a pretty backdrop. So bring a picnic and aim to go when the tide is low!
Old Man of Storr Walk
The Old Man of Storr Walk is an incredibly popular walk—and for good reason. This walk winds to one of the most evocative natural spots: the unique rock formations making up the Old Man of Storr. Near the start of the walk, you’ll reach a stunning overview of the Isle of Raasay and Applecross, a remote peninsula. The Old Man of Storr Walk sure knows how to pack a collection of supernatural scenery into a short 4.5 km adventure!
Stac Pollaidh Circular Walk
Don’t have a lot of time, but want to pack an epic adventure into a few hours? The Stac Pollaidh Circular Walk gifts you an intense workout while incredible scenery unravels around you! Of course, with the steep elevation gain also comes a technical trail and some minor scrambling, but hey, the vistas of Assynt, Summer Isles, and Loch Veyatie will have you forgetting all about your exasperated lungs and elevated heart rate.
Stac Pollaidh Walk
If you're looking for an easy stroll, the Stac Pollaidh Walk isn't it! This walk is challenging, technical and fun for those with walking and scrambling experience. Expect to feast on views of Assynt to the north, Summer Isles to the southwest, and Loch Veyatie in the northwest. The Stac Pollaidh Walk may be under 5.0 km, but it definitely packs a punch when it comes to scenery and adventure!
Buachaille Etive Mòr Walk
The Buachaille Etive Mòr Walk is a tailor-made adventure for avid hillwalkers seeking something rugged, wild, and intense. This lollipop route will not only have you bagging one Munro but two—Stob Dearg and Stob na Bròige. These summits are just two of the four that stagger across the ever-so-stunning Buachaille Etive Mòr ridge, and you'll tackle them all during this walk! The valley views paired with a sightline with peaks add a level of epic and unforgettableness to this challenging but rewarding Highland adventure.
Sandwood Bay Walk
The Sandwood Bay Walk may be slightly long, but the lower elevation gain makes for a fantastic adventure for families! After walking along desolate moorland, the unspoiled Sandwood Bay will wash these average views away with its golden sand contrasted with the shimmering seascape, sea stack, and cliffs. Look out for marine animals while resting on the beach!
Looking for the ultimate day-long adventure? The Suilven Walk will keep you well entertained! Expect to travel around 20.0 km as you ascend one of Scotland’s favourite summits: Suilven (731 m). Before reaching the true summit, you’ll trek through a compilation of mystical scenery, earning the chance to admire the Highlands’ landscape alongside you and below you. Once you’ve reached the pinnacle of Suilven, you’ll retrace your steps back to the car park, which some may find uninspiring, but this adventure makes it worth passing the same scenery twice!
Expect some minor scrambling and steep ascents along the Suilven Walk. Hopefully, the incredible surroundings will minimize any moans and groans and huffs and puffs.
Quiraing Circuit Walk
The Quiraing Circuit Walk may seem easy, but this hill loop will have you huffing and puffing, guaranteed! Most opt to stop after the first section; however, this route gives you a chance to revel in the ever-so-mystical scenery just a little bit longer. Go past the Needle, Prison, and other epic Highland wonders on this short but rewarding adventure. Be sure to charge your camera and get ready to capture image after image of the landscape unravelling in front of you!
Ben Hope Walk
Looking for an intense, rewarding adventure in the remote, desolate wild? The Ben Hope Walk climbs a steep ascent towards an incredibly scenic and isolated view of the wilderness decorated with soaring peaks, lochans, and the faraway sea fading toward the Arctic. This out-and-back route is shorter but packs a punch by having you bag a Munro in under 8.0 km.
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