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
Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge Walk
The Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge Walk make for the ultimate short, family-friendly adventure! So get ready to immerse in the Nevis Gorge’s dramatic, incredible scenery before reaching the roaring Steall Falls. One of our favourite images of this walk comes about halfway when the waterfalls appear at a distance. The views of the falls cutting through a jagged slope surrounded by folklore-like scenery make for a fantastic photo opportunity!
Inchnadamph to Kylestrome Walk
Some may find the one-way part of the Inchnadamph to Kylestrome Walk intimidating, but trust us, planning a ride back to your car or staying at the hotel in Kylesku (during summer) before turning around is so worth it. Plus, you can wild camp along the way, so there are options to ease the intimidation factor of this walk. You don't want to miss out on revelling in the lochs, scenic viewpoints, and Britain's tallest waterfall en route, do you?
Fyrish Monument Walk
The Fyrish Monument Walk fuses a fun combination of views to form an unforgettable adventure—despite its shorter length. This walk may not take you deep in the quintessential wild sweeping the Highlands, but it’s definitely a cool adventure that doesn’t compromise on scenery (or uniqueness!). While the main object along this walk is the Fyrish Monument, you’ll also get to revel in views of the Cromarty Firth below, with the North Sea and Ben Wyvis painting colour into the image.
Loch Coruisk Walk
The Loch Coruisk Walk may boast the prettiest freshwater scenery in Scotland, making this a must-do adventure if you’re in the Highlands. However, if you’re a spontaneous adventurer, this walk may not be the best choice for you as it requires booking a boat in advance, which we think adds to the uniqueness of this adventure! While the may path may be boggy at points, the incredible mountain vista flanking the loch will hinder you from focusing on your potentially soaking wet feet. (Come prepared with proper footwear if you can!)
Devil’s Staircase Walk
The Devil's Staircase Walk travels from Kings House to Kinlochleven along the famed long-distance route, the West Highland Way. Of course, this description only describes a small section of the West Highland Way, but it is definitely one of the highlights as it climbs to the highest section of the entire route. You can also easily turn this into an out-and-back route as you’ll summit the Devil’s Staircase early on in your adventure.
Falls of Glomach Walk
This walking guide takes you to the Falls of Glomach via the easiest and shortest route, making it more accessible for walkers with some hillwalking experience, but no need to be super experienced to tackle this out-and-back excursion. With that being said, beginners may want to pocket this route to the incredible, roaring Falls of Glomach for a later day. This 17.5 km walk winds through quintessential mythical and folklore-like scenery that paints most of the Highlands, with the falls cascading into a gorge, elevating the already-epic views to the next level.
The Pap of Glencoe Walk
Don't let the 7.0 km distance fool you into thinking this will be a walk in the park! The Pap of Glencoe Walk is no easy feat, as it sees you gaining 716 m over a super short distance. However, the panoramic views of Loch Leven, backed by the soaring Mamroes range, make the extreme huffing and puffing worth it.
Be prepared to navigate rocks and boulders on the final climb of the Pap!
Ring of Steall Walk
Completing the circular Ring of Steall Walk is no easy feat! Expect to tackle not one, but four Munros— An Gearanach, Stob Choire a Chàirn, Devils Ridge to Sgùrr a'Mhaim, and Am Bodach—while traversing incredibly rugged scenery! From phenomenal glen views where the Steall Falls elevate the level of wonder from 10 to 10+ to dumbfounding views atop four different peaks, the Ring of Steall Walk exhausts and entertains!
South Glen Shiel Ridge Walk
The South Glen Shiel Ridge Walk is a favourite among Munro-baggers as this incredible, adventurous excursion will see you cresting along a grassy ridge that undulates across seven summits. While most of the route features memorable ridgewalking, you will face some short scramble sections. Most people attempt to complete this long route in one day, but you can always split it into two by descending from the Druim na Coire nan Eirecheanach ridge and then take the Druim Thollaidh ridge the next morning. Don't forget to organize transportation for nine or so kilometres back to your car!
Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail) Walk
The Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail) Walk may look easy on paper, but trust us when we say that this adventure is not for the faint of heart. While the steep elevation gain packed into a short distance may be physically demanding, the surrounding scenery is incredible—and mysterious. Coire Gabhail is the hidden, secret valley where the Macdonalds from Glen Coe kept stolen cattle. An amphitheatre of green-laden hills and peaks flank the valley. It’s fun to explore the flat section of the valley, where you’ll encounter rocks bigger than homes. It’s pretty epic, to say the least!
Stob Dubh via Buachaille Etive Beag Walk
The Stob Dubh via Buachaille Etive Beag Walk has you summiting two Munros along the Buachaille Etive Beag mountain range, creating a challenging but worthwhile exploration in the Highlands! The wild scenery throughout will hopefully distract you from your tired legs and lungs. Thankfully, the path is relatively straightforward, hopefully preventing you from getting lost (although we can’t guarantee this, of course).
Ben Nevis by Càrn Mòr Dearg Walk
Want to climb two Munros in a day? And we aren’t just talking about regular Munros; we’re talking about Scotland’s famed summit: Ben Nevis. That’s right! Climb Ben Nevis by way of Càrn Mòr Dearg on this incredible, strenuous walk. The other Munro? Càrn Mòr Dearg, which looms at a haunting 1,220 m of elevation, is the ninth tallest mountain in Scotland.
Blà Bheinn Walk
The Blà Bheinn Walk traverses a not-so-technical path at first before getting a bit more rough and tough later on as you continue to gain significant elevation. But in the middle of your moans, stop to revel in the incredibly wild Highland views, and you’ll be alright. Plus, know phenomenal views await at the top of the Munro!
Glencoe Lochan Circular Walk
The Glencoe Lochan Circular Walk makes for a fantastic family-friendly adventure! This short, relaxing adventure hugs the shores of the lochan backed by soaring mountains, making it easy to feel at ease as you explore the wild yet serene scenery. To top it off, the lochside path can accommodate wheelchairs
Duntulm Castle Walk
The short Duntulm Castle Walk makes for a fun, family-friendly adventure, especially if you're craving fresh air fused with history. Check out 17th-century ruins on this oceanside walk!
The Fairy Glen Circular Walk
Want to feel like you’re a character in a timeless storybook? The Fairy Glen Circular Walk in the Highlands immerses you among grassy cone-shaped hills and leads you towards Castle Ewan, a rocky tower that you can climb if you feel so inclined. Expect to revel in phenomenal, supernatural scenery throughout this entire journey—and not only will adults love it, but the imagery will also entertain kids.
Beinn Dòrain and Beinn an Dòthaidh Walk
The Beinn Dòrain and Beinn an Dòthaidh Walk winds atop two incredible Munros, replete with otherworldly scenery every step of the way. This challenging route isn’t your typical straightforward out-and-back, lollipop, or circuit route as it blends all three walk types into one, so be sure to bring a GPS for secure navigation.
Five Sisters of Kintail Walk
Explore an incredible ridgeline on the ever-so strenuous Five Sisters of Kintail Walk in the Scottish Highlands. This challenging endeavour will have you tackling not one but three Munros! Feel like you’re on top of a wild, wild supernatural world as you meander across the ridgeline. Do note that while we say this is dog-friendly, it’s important to keep your pups on a leash or maybe leave them at home due to steep drops along the ridge.
Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mhòr Walk
The Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mhòr Walk grants the chance to bag two Munros in one epic adventure! Revel in the wild Highland scenery painting a rugged landscape below from atop both these peaks. Some of the highlights are views of Loch Etive, Glen Etive and layers of grassy peaks bleeding into the horizon.
Knockan Crag Trail
The Knockan Crag Trail is a fun walking adventure for the entire family, as it not only unveils fantastic views from atop Knockan Crag, but it includes unique sculptures en route, and kids have the chance to partake in a treasure hunt. This short route—ranked as easy—provides consistent entertainment!
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