Hiking in Scotland | 17 of the Best Walking Routes in Scotland
Looking to hiking or walking in Scotland? Here are some of the best routes around…
Whether you’re scaling a hill in the centre of the capital city and looking out over Edinburgh Castle or hundreds of miles north taking on Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, you’ll be treated to spectacular views, fresh air and that feeling of freedom that comes with walking or hiking out into the wild.
Scotland is a hotbed for hiking routes and walking routes. The country has the most mountainous terrain in Great Britain and a massive 284 munros – munros being any peak over 3,000ft. And the best munros in Scotland are some of the best climbs in the world. It has become a challenge for many hiking enthusiasts to go “munro bagging" and attempt to climb every single one of the peaks in Scotland, and some of these routes are truly stunning.
There are also a lot more leisurely walks and hikes in Scotland of course – hikes near Edinburgh, hikes near Glasgow, hikes in the Scottish Borders and hikes in the Highlands all vary from between relaxed to hardcore.
Let’s take a look at some of the options in each of these categories, and some of the best munros to take on if you are planning to get yourself bagging!
Best Munros in Scotland | 5 of the Most Beautiful Munro to Hike
Munros Near Glasgow: Just an hour drive from Glasgow, Ben Lomond is a relatively easy climb and a beautiful one looking down over the famous Loch Lomond. It's busy on weekends and the walk itself is pretty simple.
Beinn Chabhair is about 10 minutes further rive from Glasgow, and offers amazing views of Munros An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin. It's an ascent with a simple start and a rocky finish.
Munros Near Edinburgh: Edinburgh isn't as well located geographically as Glasgow for munros, but if you head towards Callander and then towards Balquhidder you'll find a quiet route up Stob Binnein. It’s about a two hour drive. It's steep at the start but there's a lower path, and once you get up the worst of the steeps you'll be following a wide ridge right to the top.
Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin are also relatively close to Edinburgh, though still about an hour and three quarters in the car. The former is a gradual climb and the latter a more challenging scramble. Both look down over Loch Earn.
Best Munros for Dogs: There a lot of options for hiking in Scotland that are great for dogs. Ben Challum is a straightforward munro ascent that you’ll ‘dug’ will love.
The ascent to Mount Keen near Angus is also a great option. It's a track with a hillpath, though it is very exposed in bad weather.
Walks in Edinburgh | 3 of the Best Hiking Routes in Scotland’s Capital
The Pentland Hills: The cornerstone of walking and hiking in Edinburgh is the Pentland Hills. Just 45 minutes from the city centre on bus, you can get to over 100km of waymarked trails in the wilderness of Scotland in no time at all. There you’ll find stunning lochs, reservoirs, endless green hills and forests and peaks including Scald Law at 579m.
Arthur’s Seat: The Edinburgh skyline is often defined by Edinburgh castle and Arthur’s Seat. If you’re looking for a great view of the former, you won’t find many better than from the latter. Arthur’s Seat is a 251m extinct volcano looking out over the city of Edinburgh. It’s just a 10 minute walk from the Royal Mile. This is the perfect place to watch the sun set on the historic city of Edinburgh.
North Berwick: A short 30 minute train trip from Edinburgh will take you to North Berwick, a small coastal town where you can climb the 187m North Berwick Law which looks out over the ocean and back towards Edinburgh. Make sure to treat yourself to some fresh fish and chips while you’re there.
For more on each of these routes, and more walks in Edinburgh and hiking in Edinburgh, click through to our full article on the topic.
Walks in Glasgow | 3 of the Best Hiking Routes in Scotland’s Biggest City
Cathkin Braes: The highest point in Glasgow is Cathkin Braes. It's drenched in history and offers stunning views and a wonderful patch of calm not far from the city. You can see not only back to the city but also out as far as Ben Lomond.
Pollok Country Park: Awarded the Best Park in Britain in 2006 and Best Park in Europe in 2008, you know Pollok Country Park really is the business. So why not park yourselves there for the day? Ha! That was a pun. Seriously though. It's a great park. The tall trees dominate the park in their rows, and the 360-acres offer all sorts of options for hiking in Glasgow and walking in Glasgow. You'll find prize highland cows and even some mountain bike trails too.
Ben Lomond: We’ve mentioned it before in the munro category, but Ben Lomond is such a short drive from Glasgow that it really is a great place to start if you’re looking for days out and a great hiking adventure near Glasgow. It’s a manageable climb and great for all levels.
Hikes in the Scottish Highlands | 3 of the Best Walks in the Highlands & Islands
Beinn a'Chrulaiste, Glen Coe: Beinn a’Chrulaiste rises from the north of Rannoch Moor, and many people don’t even know that it’s there. Get to the top of this mountain though and you’ll see a view across Glen Coe that you won’t forget for the rest of your life.
Siloch, Wester Ross: Also known as ‘The Spear’ for obvious reasons, this munro in the Highlands is quite the challenge for enthusiastic climbers. The peak can be seen from hundreds of miles away due to its distinctive nature – like a solitary Italian Dolomite on the horizon. The summit stands at 981m, and though the climb is tough, it’s definitely worth the time.
Stac Pollaidh: This is one for those who want a hell of a view without the biggest climb in the world. The peak is just 613m up and takes about three hours, and from there you’ll look out on 360 degree views all over the Northwest of the Highlands – maybe some of the best views in Scottish hiking.
Hikes in the Scottish Borders | 3 of the Best Walks in the Borders
Peebles: The Culter Fell circular in Peebles, near Biggar, will challenge regular walkers. It’s an 18.5km journey on Culter Fell – the most notable and largest of the rolling hills in the Lanarkshire/Borders area. This is a simple climb to begin with, but can be linked with a reservoir and a passing over Gathersnow Hill before a lengthy, but simple, descent. The full ascent is just below 1000m.
Melrose: The central part of the Borders turn to the triple summits of the Eildon Hills when they want to go hiking in Scotland. The walks in this area are easy but scenic. The landscape features rolling hills as far as the eye can see and green grass taking you over the English border.
Hawick: Hawick the largest town in the Scottish Borders, but the forests and the rolling Ettrick hills are often empty. Here you can find the meditative 10-mile Ettrick Hills horseshoe walking route. It’s an easy track to follow and is largely forest tracks, as well grassy slopes. It’s quiet and it’s beautiful.