Hiking in Scotland: 5 Best Hiking Trails and More

Scotland is considered one of the best hiking destinations in the world: it offers an array of experiences, from conquering mighty mountains to leisurely forest paths and coastal strolls, charming villages and dynamic city routes—there’s something for every preference, whether it’s a full walking holiday or just a casual afternoon stroll. 

Scotland’s diverse landscape, from majestic mountains to sparkling lochs and dramatic coastlines, provides endless hiking (or hillwalking) opportunities. With easy access from around the world and a well-connected transport network, it’s no wonder Scotland is a popular destination for walkers. 

When to Visit Scotland (and What to Pack)

Some say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Waterproof gear, like trousers and gaiters, is essential for any hike, keeping you dry and windproof even in the most unpredictable conditions. While Scotland’s hills may not rival the towering peaks of the Alps, they offer a wilder, more rugged experience. You won’t find many staffed mountain huts in Scotland, so it’s crucial to carry all necessary equipment and be prepared to navigate on your own, especially if the weather turns. 

Hiking in Scotland is possible year-round, with April and September typically offering the best chance of sunny weather. However, summers can bring swarms of midges and crowds of tourists, while winter requires additional gear like crampons and an ice ax.

Hiking Trails

Ben Nevis 

Distance: 17.7 km with 1374 m elevation gain

Ben Nevis is among the most popular hiking destinations, spanning almost 18 kilometers. Due to rocky terrain and gravel paths, the trail requires excellent fitness and sure-footedness. 

Starting near the Braveheart car park, the loop offers stunning views of the UK’s highest mountain and scenic spots like Lochan Meall an T-Suidhe. The steep ascent to the Ben Nevis summit demands full focus, rewarding hikers with breathtaking vistas on clear days. 

However, the mountain’s elevation brings unpredictable weather and deep snow, making summer the safest time to hike. To avoid crowds, opt for a weekday or an early start. After the hike, a visit to the rustic Ben Nevis Inn provides a cozy way to end the day.

Travel Gxng HOW HARD is hiking BEN NEVIS via the TOURIST PATH? (The Mountain Track), Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿


Distance: 20.2 km with 840 m elevation gain

At 731 meters, Suilven may not be the tallest, but its distinctive silhouette makes it one of Scotland’s most recognizable mountains. Situated amidst Assynt’s hills and lochs, Suilven offers stunning views and stands as one of Britain’s finest peaks.

Begin near Glencanisp Lodge and follow the road alongside Loch Druim Suardalain. Consider a detour to Suileag Bothy before ascending the grassy gully towards Suilven’s ridge. Enjoy stunning views as you navigate towards the summit, passing historic landmarks along the way. Finally, from the peak of Caisteal Liath, soak in panoramic views before descending back to Lochinver.

Alex Foxfield Suilven – Alex Rambles

Beinn Eighe

Distance: 6.4 km with 554 m elevation gain

Described as Britain’s sole waymarked mountain trail, this exceptional hike is truly unique. Ascending steeply through diverse habitats, from majestic ancient pinewoods to a barren plateau of quartzite rocks, the trail offers spectacular views at every turn.

Begin your hike at Coille na Glas Leitre Trails car park, marked on the Loch Maree side of the A832. Follow the trail from the far end of the car park, passing through an underpass beneath the main road. As you ascend through Coille na Glas Letire forest, enjoy views of Loch Maree and Slioch Peak. 

Watch for waymarker cairns and sharp turns as the trail steepens. Eventually, it reaches an extensive plateau with breathtaking views of Beinn Eighe and Meall a’Ghiubhais. Descend past small lochs and the ‘Lunar Loch’ before following a glen back to the starting point. Take a detour for views over Loch Maree before returning to the car park.

Scottish Munro Journey The Beinn Eighe Traverse, Scotland

Stac Pollaidh

Distance: 4.5 km with 521 m elevation gain

Explore the stunning circuit around Stac Pollaidh, offering breathtaking views over Assynt and the Summer Isles. Begin at the car park, cross the road, and head north along the path through a gate. Ascend through shrub and woodland to open moorland, following a well-constructed path around the mountain. Continue uphill with views of Sgùrr Tuath and Cul Beag, passing through another gate in the deer fence.

As you round Stac Pollaidh, enjoy stunning views of Suilven across Assynt. Reach a junction where the path continues around the mountain or ascends to the ridge. If ascending, follow the path to the ridge’s lowest point, enjoying panoramic views. For experienced climbers, ascend to the true summit, navigating rocky towers with scrambling skills. Descend to the junction and continue the circuit around Stac Pollaidh, enjoying views of the pinnacles. Return through a gate in the deer fence to rejoin the outward path back to the car park.

When Adventure Knox NC500 | Hiking Stac Pollaidh in the Stunning Assynt Region of Scotland

Ben A’an

Distance: 3,8 km with 346 m elevation gain

Discover the charm of Ben A’an, a popular peak in the Trossachs offering stunning views. Begin at the Ben A’an car park on the south side of the A821 near Loch Achray. Cross the road and follow the steep path through the trees, crossing a stream via a footbridge.

Continue uphill, passing through a felled area of forest with views of the summit ahead. Follow the path through native trees, aiming for the gap to the right of the summit. The ascent becomes steep and rocky, with views of Ben Venue.

Stay on the main path as it ascends around the back of the summit, enjoying glimpses of Loch Katrine. Reach the rocky summit of Ben A’an, offering panoramic views of Loch Katrine, Ben Venue, Loch Achray, and Ben Lomond. Return the same way, savoring the excellent views.

Highland Hikers The Wee Mountain at the Heart of the Trossachs | Ben A’an | Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine

Recommended Hotels in Scotland

The Garrison: High St, Fort William PH33 6EE link instagram

Inver Lodge: Iolaire Rd, Lochinver, Lairg IV27 4LU link instagram

Loch Maree Hotel: Gairloch, Ross-shire IV22 2HL link

Orkneylodge: Holm of Houton, Orphir KW17 2RD link instagram

Summer Isles Hotel: Achiltibuie, Ullapool IV26 2YG link instagram

Karma Lake of Menteith: Port of Menteith, Stirling FK8 3RA link instagram

If you spot any inaccuracies or have more routes, events, viewpoints, or places to add to our guide, don’t hesitate to reach out in our WhatsApp community! Your feedback is valuable, and we’re excited to make any necessary adjustments to make our guide even better. Let’s collaborate to enhance your hiking experience!

Read more about hiking tips and destinations:

Multi-Day Hiking 101: Essential Tips For Your First Trek

Top 7 Epic Hiking Trails in the UK

Australia’s Top Hiking Trails You Must Experience

MapMagic Route Planning How-to Guide

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