Camping the West Highland Way is a great option for hikers looking to keep costs down, stay connected to nature, and maintain a flexible itinerary while walking Scotland’s most popular long-distance trail. You can opt to wild camp along the Way, pitch up in campsites, or combine the two.
In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about camping the West Highland Way, including what to pack, where to buy food, details of every campsite, and wild camping options along each stage of the route.
WEST HIGHLAND WAY CAMPSITES
MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN | DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN | ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN | INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM | TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN | INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE | KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN | KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM
WEST HIGHLAND WAY WILD CAMPING SPOTS
MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN | DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN | ROWARDENNAN TO INVERSNAID | INVERSNAID TO INVERARNAN | INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM | TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN | INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE | KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN | KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM
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Wild camping is permitted in Scotland in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and wild camping the West Highland Way is a great way to experience the trail. There are a few things to be aware of however, and some advance planning and preparation is required before setting off on your trip.
One of the most important things to be aware of when planning your West Highland Way itinerary are the byelaws which forbid wild camping along a stretch of Loch Lomond between March 1st and September 30th. Within the Camping Management Zone you must camp in official campsites, or obtain a permit to camp at designated camping areas.
The Camping Management Zone starts at the entrance to the Balmaha Plantation forest (56.090172, -4.533101, 1.2 km below the summit of Conic Hill), and ends above Ptarmigan Lodge (56.171755, -4.655221, 2.9 km after Rowardennan Hotel). Signposts at both points make it obvious when you have entered and exited the restricted camping zone.
As wild camping is done in nature, away from official campsites, there are no facilities such as toilets, showers, or bins. It’s crucial that you Leave No Trace when wild camping along the West Highland Way (and anywhere else!). Among other things, you must take all your rubbish with you, bury human waste and carry out used toilet paper, and minimise the impact of campfires, ideally using a stove instead.
Plan ahead and pack rubbish bags and an outdoor toilet kit, including a trowel for digging a toilet hole, toilet paper, antibacterial hand gel, and rubbish bags for used toilet paper (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great). You can dispose of your waste regularly in bins along the route.