Walking in Glasgow | 5 of the Best Hiking Routes in Glasgow
There's an abundance of walks in Glasgow and hiking routes waiting to be discovered...
Walking in Glasgow is a world of opportunity. The city’s close proximity to so many Scottish munros (a munro being any peak over 3000ft) actually means that you can do some serious hiking in Glasgow with less than an hour travel from the city centre.
Glasgow has the highest population of any Scottish city and is often affectionately known – even if only by its own natives – as the real capital of Scotland. It might not have Edinburgh castle, Arthur’s Seat or the Pentland Hills but there are a lot more serious mountains closer to Glasgow than there are in Edinburgh.
Basically, if you're coming to the UK to go hiking in Scotland and want to base yourself in a central belt city, Glasgow is you're best bet. You can always get to Edinburgh in 53 or so minutes on the train as well.
Of course, there’s also plenty of more family-friendly, inner-city walks in Glasgow for those not looking to hit the peaks of the country in their stay in Glasgow. Let’s look at a few of the options from either end…
Walks in Glasgow | Cathkin Braes
The highest point in Glasgow is Cathkin Braes at 200m above sea level. The hills are a staple of the southern skyline of Glasgow for any local and its renowned in the city for its panoramic views which look out not only over Glasgow but the Gleniffer Braes and Kilpatrick and Campsie ranges. You can even see Ben Lomond on a clear day.
The place is drenched in history as well. It's said to be the place where Mary Queen of Scots watched her troops fall to defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1558 (though quite a lot of other hills also claim this story).
At 199 Hectares you won’t struggle to find a walking route around Cathkin Braes that suits you, though some areas are exposed to the conditions so remember to bring your coat!
There’s also mountain biking trails there which were used for the 2013 British Champs and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Walks in Glasgow | Pollok Country Park
Glasgow in rich in parks and greenery but possibly the nicest you’ll find is Pollok – which was voted the best park in Britain in 2006 and the best in Europe in 2008.
That’s when you know that you’ve got a park and a half on your hands. This place is legitimately award-winning! And not without merit. You can take treks through beautiful woodland paths and parkland both casual and challenging.
The tall trees that line the park are signature to Pollok, and also make sure you keep an eye out for Pollok house. The 360 acres of the park offer all kinds of opportunities for walking in Glasgow and hiking in Glasgow, and you’ll pass prize-winning Highland cows on your walks as well, so get those cameras and Instagram hashtags at the ready.
Munros Near Glasgow
Hiking Near Glasgow | Ben Lomond
You can reach some of the best munros in Scotland from Glasgow. The signature stop on any feature about hiking in Glasgow is Ben Lomond – the huge mountain that towers over Loch Lomond, just an hour drive from Glasgow city centre.
The climb is immortalised in the famous Scotland ballad, ‘Loch Lomond’, which starts: “By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes, Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond, Where me and my true love will never meet again On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond."
To be fair, it’s an absolute tune, and as such, the place has become the most popular munro to climb in Scotland. 30,000 people make it to the top of Ben Lomond each year, and are treated to fantastic views spanning way into the north, to the Trossachs to the east and of course back across the loch.
This is particularly busy on weekends, but the wide paths aren’t particularly challenging – though there are some rocky sections and an alternative, rougher path back down the mountain from the top.
Why don’t you take the high road, we’ll take the low road, and we’ll see who gets down first. If you don’t know the song, that was probably a weird sentence.
Hiking Near Glasgow | Beinn Chabhair
Beinn Chabhair is about 10 minutes further drive from Glasgow than Ben Lomond, and offers amazing views of Munros An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin, as well as looking back down on Loch Long.
It's an ascent with a fairly simple start but a bit of a rocky finish. The summit ridge is a gathering of knolls and big rocks, but it makes for a beautiful walk when the weather permits. The ground on the lower section can get quite boggy.
- We know this is quite information heavy, so here's a joke to break it up: we met two rocks by the shores of Loch Long. One was shy. The other was a little boulder.
When you reach the top though, expect sweeping views worthy of fiction, looking back over the beautiful greens and greys of the Scottish hills.
Hiking Near Glasgow | Beinn Narnain and Ben Ime
Beinn Narnain and Ben Ime are actually both closer to Glasgow city centre than Ben Lomond, are possibly even more scenic, but aren’t nearly as busy because (as far as we know) Runrig don’t have a song about them.
Climbers taking on Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful climbs in the Southern Highlands. Part of the ‘Arrochar Alps’ which are known for their rocky, steep terrain, Beinn Ime, the highest peak in the range, can actually be reached by a pretty gentle slope. Beinn Narnain is much rougher and rockier.
The views along the way and from the summit are absolutely spectacular, with the view of the nearby Cobbler - pictured - particularly leaving a mark. This is one hike that you won’t be forgetting any time soon.