• THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

    SCOTLAND

    Under leaden skies, a hiker is descending the trail towards Loch Tulla and Inveroran on the West Highland Way route section between Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran
  • WEST HIGHLAND WAY

    SCOTLAND

    A hiker in waterproofs climbing the hillside out of Tyndrum on a rainy day on the West Highland Way

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

The 96 mile (154 km) West Highland Way is Scotland’s premier long-distance walking route, connecting the lowland town of Milngavie, on the outskirts of Glasgow, with the regional Highlands hub of Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis. The West Highland Way’s impressive scenery, ease of access, and abundance of camping and accommodation options make it popular with novice walkers and seasoned hikers alike.

In this guide we cover everything you need to know to plan your own journey on the WHW. This includes a map and route overview, itinerary suggestions, and practical info like what to pack, where to stay, when to go, where to eat, how to get there, how much it costs, and more.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

WEST HIGHLAND WAY QUICK FACTS

      • Distance | 96 miles (154 km)
        Duration | 5+ days
        Start/End | Milngavie/Fort William (or vice versa)
        Min Elevation | 23 ft / 7 m
        Max Elevation | 1800 ft / 549 m
        Total Ascent | 13189 ft /  4020 metres
        Total Descent | 13379 ft / 4078 metres
        Hiking Season | Spring – Autumn (Experienced Hikers Only in Winter)
        Accommodation | Wild Camping, Campsites, Glamping, or B&Bs/Hotels
        Food & Water | Regular Cafes/Restaurants/Shops, Water Taps and Streams
        Baggage Transfer Service | Yes – to accommodation or campsites
        Public Transport Access | Yes – bus/train to start/end points,
        and many places along the route

WEST HIGHLAND WAY QUICK FACTS

Distance
96 miles (154) km

Duration
5+ days

Start/End
Milngavie/Fort William
(or vice versa)

Min Elevation
23 ft / 7 m

Max Elevation
1800 ft / 549 m

Total Ascent
13189 ft /  4020 metres

Total Descent
13379 ft / 4078 metres

Hiking Season
Spring – Autumn
(Experienced Hikers Only
in Winter)

Accommodation
Wild Camping, Campsites,
Glamping, or B&Bs/Hotels

Food & Water
Cafes/Restaurants/Shops,
Water Taps and Stream Water

Baggage Transfer Service
To accommodation or campsites

Public Transport Access
Bus/train to start/end points and
many places along the route

 


WATCH OUR FILM

Watch the behind the scenes version of our West Highland Way hike on Instagram stories

Watch the behind the scenes
version of our West Highland
Way hike on Instagram stories 

West Highland Way Stories
Part One | Part Two

WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE MAP

Our detailed West Highland Way map includes the route itself, plus useful info such as places to eat, water taps, public toilets, camping and accommodation options, and key sights along the way. The map legend shows the order of the journey, starting in Milngavie and ending in Fort William. Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle sections on and off, and to switch between satellite and terrain view. You can get more info about the route for each day or a particular pin by clicking on it in the legend or on the map itself.

Note that it functions best in the desktop ‘My Maps’ version. If you save the map to open on your phone, you can only view the Google Maps version which has more limited functionality. You can save this Google map by tapping the star.

For navigating on the trail, we find it easiest to use an offline version of this map. You can do this by downloading our KML file for use with Maps.me (iOS/Android), or the GPX file for use with other offline mapping apps such as Gaia GPS (iOS/Android), Guru Maps (iOS/Android) or OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android).

Download the entire map using the links below. Individual section downloads are available in our detailed WHW trail notes guide .


To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps.

On desktop, click the three lines at the top left, select ‘Your Places’, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then scroll down and select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version.

Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this version of the map offline, but we’ve provided a download for a similar version for offline use.


MAPS.ME

Maps.me is our go-to offline mapping app. We find it straightforward to use for planning routes in advance, as well as navigating on the trail. It doesn’t drain our phone battery, and it’s quick and easy to save and organise ‘bookmarks’. There are many trails already marked on Maps.me, plus you can download and import a KML track of your route to the app.

To use Maps.me, first download the app (iOS/Android). Hover over the region or country that you want to visit and the app will prompt you to download this map. Once downloaded, it can be viewed offline.

You can tap anywhere and save it as a ‘bookmark’ by tapping the star symbol at the bottom. Hit ‘Edit Bookmark’ to personalise the bookmark colour, organise your bookmarks into different folders, and rename them.

You can navigate easily or plan routes in advance by tapping your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tapping your end point and selecting ‘route to’. Tap the car, walking, or cycling symbol at the top of the screen to indicate your mode of travel. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’.

Maps.me shows the distance and travel time, plus elevation profiles for hiking trails. Note that the estimated time isn’t always reliable, but we’ve always found the distance and elevation gain/loss to be largely accurate. It only shows very basic contour lines.

You can track your progress on the trail using GPS. The arrow shows your direction of travel. Tap the compass at the top right of the screen to keep the map in a fixed position (the arrow will rotate). Alternatively, tap the arrow at the bottom right of the screen to rotate the map in the direction of travel (the arrow will stay in a fixed position).

GAIA

Gaia (iOS/Android) is another offline mapping app that is very useful. It shows the contours in much more detail than Maps.me, and you can download both the topographical and satellite view of your route in advance for offline use. The app has existing OpenStreetMap trails marked and you can import GPX tracks and view them offline. You can also create new routes online yourself and export them as GPX or KML files. You can navigate easily on the trail using the arrow that shows your GPS location. You can also check distances between places offline, however you will only get elevation profiles while online. There are a lot of useful features in the free version and even more benefits if you have a paid annual membership, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors it is worthwhile learning how to use the app to its full advantage.

In our experience, Gaia drains your phone battery much quicker than Maps.me, even in flight mode, so it’s best to shut down the app completely each time you finish using it.


WEST HIGHLAND WAY TRAIL OVERVIEW

Most people walk the West Highland Way from south to north, and we’d recommend doing the same.

THE ROUTE

Clearly signposted throughout, the route starts on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. From Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy) it leads through rolling farmland towards Conic Hill and Loch Lomond, the largest loch in Scotland. The trail hugs the ancient oak-wood covered eastern shore, crossing the Highland Boundary Fault and working its way alongside rivers, through glens, and across heather moorlands, to one of Scotland’s most celebrated landscapes – Glencoe. Surrounded by dramatic mountains, the route continues up steep trails and through quiet passes to emerge at the foot of Ben Nevis, and the highland hub of Fort William.

Many people opt to walk the WHW over 5 – 8 days, but it is possible to do it over a shorter or longer period. In the table below, we note the distances between all the places on the route that have accommodation and/or campsites. We’ve also included stages to/from Crianlarich, which is 0.9 miles / 1.5 km off the main route but a common overnight spot for many. For each stage we’ve noted the approximate elevation gain and loss, and provided an estimated range for walking time without breaks (it is of course possible to complete each stage faster or slower than the given estimate).

If viewing on a mobile device or tablet, scroll to the right to see the full table or flip your screen to landscape mode.

STAGEDISTANCEELEVATION GAIN

ELEVATION LOSSHIKING TIME
MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN12 miles / 19 km+794 ft / + 242 m– 764 ft / – 233 m3h30m – 5 hours
DRYMEN TO BALMAHA7.5 miles / 12 km+ 1155 ft / + 352 m– 1319 ft / – 402 m2h30m – 3h30m
BALMAHA TO ROWARDENNAN7.5 miles / 12 km+ 827 ft / + 252 m– 784 ft / – 239 m2h30m – 3h30m
ROWARDENNAN TO INVERSNAID7.5 miles / 12 km+ 794 ft / + 242 m– 797 ft / – 243 m2h30m – 3h30m
INVERSNAID TO INVERARNAN6.5 miles / 10 km+ 705 ft / + 215 m– 722 ft / – 220 m2h30m – 3h30m
INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM12 miles / 19 km+ 1791 ft / + 546 m– 1142 / – 348 m3h30m – 5h30m
INVERARNAN TO CRIANLARICH7 miles / 11 km+ 994 ft / + 303 m– 489 ft / – 149 m2h15m – 3h20m
CRIANLARICH TO TYNDRUM7 miles / 11 km+ 1096 ft / + 334 m– 951 ft / – 290 m2 – 3 hours
TYNDRUM TO BRIDGE OF ORCHY7 miles / 11 km+ 341 ft / + 104 m– 676 ft / – 206 m2 – 3 hours
BRIDGE OF ORCHY TO INVERORAN2.4 miles / 4 km+ 600 ft / + 183 m– 459 ft / – 140 m45 mins – 1h15m
INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE9.5 miles / 15.5 km+ 1188 ft / + 362 m– 866 ft / – 264 m3 – 4 hours
KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN9 miles / 14.5 km+ 1243 ft / + 379 m– 2014 ft / – 614 m3 – 5 hours
KINLOCHLEVEN TO GLEN NEVIS13 miles / 21 km+ 2077 ft / + 633 m– 2044 ft / – 623 m4h30m – 6h30m
GLEN NEVIS TO FORT WILLIAM2.6 miles / 4 km+ 49 ft / + 15 m– 82 ft / – 25 m45 mins – 1 hour

THE TERRAIN

You can expect to walk on a mixture of footpaths, forest tracks, historic drover roads, gravel tracks, old military roads, and the occasional pavement or roadside verge. Although not difficult for the most part the terrain can be mixed: rocky underfoot on long stretches of drover or military roads, slippery and/or slow going on the shores of Loch Lomond with tree roots and rocks to negotiate, and largely straightforward on the well maintained footpaths and gravel roads.

ELEVATION

The highest point on the trail is 1800 ft / 549 m, with most of the West Highland Way remaining at fairly low elevation. The image below shows the elevation profile of the entire route, with height displayed in metres and distance in kilometres. The scale makes it look a little more dramatic than it really is, but you get the idea.

West Highland Way Route Elevation Profile

CHALLENGING SECTIONS

There are no technically challenging sections and you are never too far from a settlement or road. Saying that, some parts of the West Highland Way are more challenging than others, either due to the terrain or the elevation gain and loss.

For example, much of the section between Rowardennan and Inverarnan is tricky underfoot, making it slower going than other parts of the trail. Between Inveroran and Kinlochleven, and Kinlochleven and Fort William, there are greater climbs and descents than on most other days. And in poor weather, the exposed sections on Rannoch Moor and around the Devil’s Staircase can be tough going. However, all these sections happen to be among the highlights of the West Highland Way in our opinion, the reward far outweighing the effort required.

3D ROUTE MAP

Watch our 3D relief map video of the entire West Highland Way route.


HOW DIFFICULT IS THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY?

While we’re sure nobody would claim the West Highland Way to be a walk in the park, it is a very achievable long-distance hiking route that attracts walkers of all ages and experience levels. It is clearly waymarked throughout, there are numerous accommodation and food options to provide comfort, sustenance, and motivation, and it is predominantly a low-level walk with no high mountain passes or technically challenging terrain. There are also frequent access points along the Way, providing an easy escape route if necessary.

However, walking long distances day-after-day can take its toll on your feet and cause various bodily aches and pains, making this a physically and therefore mentally challenging walk. Being well prepared with the right gear, starting with at least a moderate level of fitness, and planning an itinerary within your own capabilities will help set you up for an enjoyable, safe, and successful journey.

WHEN TO WALK THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

SPRING & AUTUMN

The most pleasant (and popular!) times to walk the West Highland Way are late April and May and the first half of September. The weather is often good, the daylight hours are long, and the midges aren’t usually out in force. The flip side is that it can be busier on the trail and accommodation can get booked up quickly, so advance planning and reservations are recommended.

A young lamb among the hills of the Lairigmor on the West Highland Way

Spring is a good time to see young lambs along the trail



A young lamb among the hills of the Lairigmor on the West Highland Way

Spring is a good time to see young lambs



SUMMER

Summer is also a popular time with even longer daylight hours and a chance of good weather, however it is midge season which can be especially bothersome if you’re camping. Midges are particularly active at dawn and dusk and like still, humid conditions. If there’s a breeze, you should be fine, but on a calm night or morning, swarms of the tiny biting insects can descend on you. A midge net and bottle of Smidge is definitely recommended for anyone walking the trail in June, July, or August, and sometimes May and September.

WINTER

Between October and early April there can be wintry conditions along the trail, especially at higher elevations on the northern part of the route: on Rannoch Moor, around the Devil’s Staircase, and on the Lairigmor between Kinlochleven and Fort William. Most baggage transfer services and campsites do not operate in winter, and some accommodation will be closed too. In general, a winter walk on the WHW is best suited to fit and experienced hikers with good winter navigational skills, cold-weather clothing, and equipment such as crampons and ice axes in case of slippery traverses of snow-covered slopes.

HOLIDAYS & SPECIAL EVENTS

During holiday periods such as Easter, local holiday weekends and school holidays, the trail and accommodation are likely to be busier than usual. Annual events such as ultra-marathons, races, and motorcycle trials also take place along the Way, and you may want to avoid walking at this time. Check the notices page on the official website for event updates.

WATCH THE WEATHER

Our preferred apps for accurate weather forecasts are Yr.no (iOS/Android) and Windy (iOS/Android). Windy has the WHW route marked on it if you zoom in enough. Neither will work offline, so be sure to check the weather when you have a signal or wifi connection.

See More From Scotland

A person in a long mustard coloured coat and black hat looking out towards the sea from a viewpoint above Loch Skipport on South Uist, with the Isle of Skye seen faintly on the horizon
A yacht in the bay at Vatersay with pastel sunset skies and the silhouette of the Isle of Rum in the background
One of the two famous stacks of St Kilda, Stac Lee rises from the sea as birds swarm around and the tourist boat MV Cuma offloads kayakers below
A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way
A view of Buachaille Etive Mor on the West Highland Way
A tent set up with expansive views of the surrounding hills near Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor, this hiker found the perfect spot while camping the West Highland Way
A person stands on the wide expanse of Tresness Beach on Sanday
An impressive view of the Old Man of Hoy from the south, showing the towering stack detatched from the rugged red cliffs of the island's west coast
Standing stones set in a large circle, known as the Ring of Brodgar, one of Orkney's most iconic sites and Scotland's largest stone circle
A person walks along the unspoiled beach of the Tresness Peninsula on Sanday
Two surfers walk across the sand in the afternoon sun at Ceannabeinne Beach, not far from Durness on the North Coast 500 route.
An abandoned boat wreck on the Isle of Mull.
Peanmeanach Bothy on the Ardnish Peninsula in February
Culross: Scotland's Best Preserved 17th century town
A person in a long mustard coloured coat and black hat looking out towards the sea from a viewpoint above Loch Skipport on South Uist, with the Isle of Skye seen faintly on the horizon
A yacht in the bay at Vatersay with pastel sunset skies and the silhouette of the Isle of Rum in the background
One of the two famous stacks of St Kilda, Stac Lee rises from the sea as birds swarm around and the tourist boat MV Cuma offloads kayakers below
A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way
A view of Buachaille Etive Mor on the West Highland Way
A tent set up with expansive views of the surrounding hills near Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor, this hiker found the perfect spot while camping the West Highland Way
A person stands on the wide expanse of Tresness Beach on Sanday
An impressive view of the Old Man of Hoy from the south, showing the towering stack detatched from the rugged red cliffs of the island's west coast
Standing stones set in a large circle, known as the Ring of Brodgar, one of Orkney's most iconic sites and Scotland's largest stone circle
A person walks along the unspoiled beach of the Tresness Peninsula on Sanday
Two surfers walk across the sand in the afternoon sun at Ceannabeinne Beach, not far from Durness on the North Coast 500 route.
An abandoned boat wreck on the Isle of Mull.
Peanmeanach Bothy on the Ardnish Peninsula in February
Culross: Scotland's Best Preserved 17th century town

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO WALK THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY?

The cost of walking the West Highland Way varies greatly depending on how you choose to do it. Do you plan to camp or stay in accommodation every night? Will you use a baggage transfer service or not? How often will you eat out vs. cooking for yourself? And what transport will you take to and from the trailheads? We’ve broken down each category below to give you an idea of a typical West Highland Way budget.

ACCOMMODATION

Wild Camping: Free

Campsites: Average £10 pppn (per person/per night)

Budget Accommodation: £30 – £50 pppn

Mid-Range Accommodation: £50 – £75 pppn

High-End Accommodation: £75 – £125 pppn

FOOD

Breakfast: Often incl. in room rate, otherwise £8 – £15 pp

Packed Lunch: £6 – £8 pp

Dinner: £15 – £20 pp (main meal)

Snacks: Coffee £3, Cake £3 – £4

Honesty Box Items: £1.50 – £3

TRANSPORT

Train: Glasgow – Milngavie and Train: Fort William – Glasgow: £30 – £40

Train: Glasgow – Milngavie and Bus: Fort William – Glasgow: £30 – £35

BAGGAGE TRANSFER

Full Route x 1 Bag: £65

Part Route x 1 Bag: £45

Reverse Route x 1 Bag: £85


In a nutshell, if you carry your own bag, wild camp every night, cook for yourself, and take the cheapest transport to/from Glasgow, your entire spend would be around £30 plus the cost of your provisions. If you sleep in accommodation every night, eat out for all of your meals, and have a couple of snacks each day, you should budget between £65 and £180 per day (depending on your level of accommodation), plus around £105 in total for transport and baggage transfers. If you opt for a mixture of camping and accommodation then your costs will be somewhere in between.

WEST HIGHLAND WAY ITINERARY SUGGESTIONS

The number of days you take to walk the West Highland Way is completely up to you. Your decision may be influenced by a wide variety of factors, such as the amount of time you have off work, availability of accommodation, personal fitness level, preference for how many miles you walk each day, the addition of rest days or side trips, and so on.

In the tables below, we outline some suggested West Highland Way itineraries that cover various time frames. This should make it easier for you to plan the right itinerary. Each itinerary table shows daily stages, distances, elevation gain/loss, and an estimated hiking time range (without breaks).

If you are wild camping, you will have more flexibility with how far you walk each day, and indeed it’s best to camp either before or after the main settlements. If you are staying at campsites or in accommodation, you will need to plan your itinerary around the location of these facilities. There are a number of such options along each section of the Way, allowing you to plan shorter or longer distances as you like. The only exception is the final stage from Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis/Fort William, which has no campsites or accommodation en route, meaning your final day will always be at least 13 – 15 miles (21 – 25 km).

A hiker looks out across Loch Lomond on the footbridge before Inversnaid on the West Highland Way

Appreciating morning views of Loch Lomond from the bridge just before Inversnaid



A hiker looks out across Loch Lomond on the footbridge before Inversnaid on the West Highland Way

Stopping to appreciate morning views of Loch
Lomond from the bridge just before Inversnaid



SUGGESTED 5 DAY WEST HIGHLAND WAY ITINERARY

To complete the West Highland Way in 5 days you should be fit and experienced at walking many miles, day after day. When considering if this is the right itinerary for you, be sure to consider the weight you will be carrying and the number of daylight hours at the time of year you plan to walk.

Day 1Milngavie to Balmaha19.5 miles / 31 km+ 594 m / – 635 m6h – 8h30m
Day 2Balmaha to Inverarnan21.5 miles / 34 km+ 709 m / – 702 m7h30m – 10h30m
Day 3 (Option 1)Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy19 miles / 30 km+ 640 m / – 554 m5h30m – 8h30m
Day 3 (Option 2)Inverarnan to Inveroran21.4 miles / 34 km+ 833 m / – 554 m6h15m – 9h45m
Day 4 (Option 1)Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven20.9 miles / 34 km+ 924 m / – 1018 m6h45m – 10h15m
Day 4 (Option 2)Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 5Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Balmaha19.5 miles / 31 km+ 594 m / – 635 m6h – 8h30m
Day 2Balmaha to Inverarnan21.5 miles / 34 km+ 709 m / – 702 m7h30m – 10h30m
Day 3 (Option 1)Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy19 miles / 30 km+ 640 m / – 554 m5h30m – 8h30m
Day 3 (Option 2)Inverarnan to Inveroran21.4 miles / 34 km+ 833 m / – 554 m6h15m – 9h45m
Day 4 (Option 1)Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven20.9 miles / 34 km+ 924 m / – 1018 m6h45m – 10h15m
Day 4 (Option 2)Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 5Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

SUGGESTED 6 DAY WEST HIGHLAND WAY ITINERARY

Walking the West Highland Way in 6 days is also a challenging itinerary, requiring you to walk considerable distances over consecutive days. Our suggested route divides the section between Balmaha and Inverarnan (generally considered one of the toughest and slowest-going sections of the WHW) over two days, with an overnight at Inversnaid. This differs from the 6 Day itinerary on the official WHW website which suggests walking all the way from Rowardennan to Crianlarich on Day 3 – the longest day on that itinerary at 20 miles (32 km). Given the terrain, we think that would be an exhaustingly long day.

Day 1Milngavie to Balmaha19.5 miles / 31 km+ 594 m / – 635 m6h – 8h30m
Day 2Balmaha to Inversnaid15 miles / 24 km+ 494 m / – 482 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 5Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 6Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Balmaha19.5 miles / 31 km+ 594 m / – 635 m6h – 8h30m
Day 2Balmaha to Inversnaid15 miles / 24 km+ 494 m / – 482 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 5Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 6Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

SUGGESTED 7 DAY WEST HIGHLAND WAY ITINERARY

A 7 Day West Highland Way itinerary allows you to have a few shorter days, mixed with a few longer days. We have three suggested itineraries below, with an overview of what to expect from each. Personally we think the sections with the best scenery (those you want to savour rather than rush through) are Conic Hill and the shores of Loch Lomond, and between Bridge of Orchy and Fort William. With that said, we’d consider Option 2 or 3 to be ideal. Option 1 matches one of the official WHW website suggested 7 day routes. Our own wild camping itinerary (7.5 days) most closely resembles Option 2.

Option 1: a straightforward day, a couple of tougher days, a couple of straightforward days, a couple of tougher days

Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inverarnan14 miles / 22 km+ 457 m / – 463 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Inverarnan to Tyndrum12 miles / 19 km+ 546 m / – 348 m3h30m – 5h30m
Day 5Tyndrum to Inveroran9.4 miles /15 km+ 287 m / – 346 m2h45m – 4h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inverarnan14 miles / 22 km+ 457 m / – 463 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Inverarnan to Tyndrum12 miles / 19 km+ 546 m / – 348 m3h30m – 5h30m
Day 5Tyndrum to Inveroran9.4 miles /15 km+ 287 m / – 346 m2h45m – 4h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

Option 2: a straightforward day, a tough section over 3 days instead of 2, a long but straightforward day, 2 tougher days

Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inversnaid7.5 miles / 12 km+ 242 m / – 243 m2h30m – 3h30m
Day 4Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 5Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inversnaid7.5 miles / 12 km+ 242 m / – 243 m2h30m – 3h30m
Day 4Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 5Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kinlochleven18.5 miles / 30 km+ 741 m / – 878 m6 – 9 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

Option 3: a straightforward day, a couple of tougher days, a very long but straightforward day, a tough section split over 2 days instead of 1, and finished with a tougher day

Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inverarnan14 miles / 22 km+ 457 m / – 463 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Inverarnan to Inveroran21.4 miles / 34 km+ 833 m / – 694 m6h15m – 9h45m
Day 5Inveroran to Kingshouse9.5 miles / 15.5 km+ 362 m / – 264 m 3 – 4 hours
Day 6Kingshouse to Kinlochleven9 miles / 14.5 km+ 379 m / – 614 m3 – 5 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inverarnan14 miles / 22 km+ 457 m / – 463 m5 – 7 hours
Day 4Inverarnan to Inveroran21.4 miles / 34 km+ 833 m / – 694 m6h15m – 9h45m
Day 5Inveroran to Kingshouse9.5 miles / 15.5 km+ 362 m / – 264 m 3 – 4 hours
Day 6Kingshouse to Kinlochleven9 miles / 14.5 km+ 379 m / – 614 m3 – 5 hours
Day 7Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

SUGGESTED 8 DAY WEST HIGHLAND WAY ITINERARY

An 8 Day West Highland Way itinerary allows you to break down the entire route into manageable sections, while enjoying the best scenery along the way. Of course, this could be split over more days for an even more relaxed pace, but 8 days is a great option which will suit many walkers. 

Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inversnaid7.5 miles / 12 km+ 242 m / – 243 m2h30m – 3h30m
Day 4Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 5Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kingshouse9.5 miles / 15.5 km+ 362 m / – 264 m3 – 4 hours
Day 7Kingshouse to Kinlochleven9 miles / 14.5 km+ 379 m / – 614 m3 – 5 hours
Day 8Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours
Day 1Milngavie to Drymen12 miles / 19 km+ 242 m / – 233 m3h30m – 5h
Day 2Drymen to Rowardennan15 miles / 24 km+ 604 m / – 641 m5 – 7 hours
Day 3Rowardennan to Inversnaid7.5 miles / 12 km+ 242 m / – 243 m2h30m – 3h30m
Day 4Inversnaid to Crianlarich13.5 miles / 21 km+ 520 m / – 373 m5 – 7 hours
Day 5Crianlarich to Inveroran16.4 miles / 26 km+ 625 m / – 636 m4h45m – 7h15m
Day 6Inveroran to Kingshouse9.5 miles / 15.5 km+ 362 m / – 264 m3 – 4 hours
Day 7Kingshouse to Kinlochleven9 miles / 14.5 km+ 379 m / – 614 m3 – 5 hours
Day 8Kinlochleven to Fort William15.6 miles / 25 km+ 606 m / – 623 m5 – 7 hours

WEST HIGHLAND WAY HIGHLIGHTS & SECTION RECOMMENDATIONS

If you want to pick a section of the West Highland Way to walk over a couple of days or such like, there are some definite highlights we would recommend. If you’re walking the complete 96 mile route, these highlights are the sections we think you shouldn’t rush (plan your itinerary to cover more distance on the ‘non-highlight’ days if possible).

CONIC HILL AND LOCH LOMOND

Beautiful Loch Lomond dominates the southern half of the West Highland Way. Giant oak trees line the shore, towering over crystal clear water. Lush ferns and moss cling to the moist jumble of rocks scattered along the narrow, undulating trail. Countless beaches of small stones and, occasionally, soft sand provide peaceful rest stops or idyllic wild camps. Conic Hill, rising 1128 ft / 344 m at the southern end of the loch, provides the perfect vantage point above it all.

People rest and enjoy Loch Lomond views atop Conic Hill, on the Drymen to Balmaha section of the West Highland Way

West Highland Way walkers and day trippers from Balmaha enjoying Loch Lomond views on Conic Hill



People rest and enjoy Loch Lomond views atop Conic Hill, on the Drymen to Balmaha section of the West Highland Way

West Highland Way walkers and day trippers
from Balmaha enjoying the views on Conic Hill


Looking down from Conic Hill to the islands in the middle of Loch Lomond, on the Drymen to Balmaha section of the West Highland Way

Loch Lomond view from Conic Hill



While many people complete this section over 2 days (commonly walking from Drymen to Rowardennan, then Rowardennan to Inverarnan), we highly recommend splitting it over 3 if time allows (with an added overnight at or near Inversnaid). Generally considered to be the toughest section of the whole West Highland Way, we’re sure you’ll also enjoy it more by breaking it into smaller chunks and having time to really savour the uniqueness of the landscape. Our 6, 7, and 8 day suggested WHW itineraries all cover the Conic Hill and Loch Lomond section over three days.

And by the way, our very favourite part of this section is the walk between Rowardennan and Inversnaid, so we urge you not to take ‘the high road’ on an easy forest track that you may read about, and stick to the waymarked route instead!

If you want to walk this section by itself, you can get to Drymen or Balmaha by taking the train from Glasgow to Balloch, then Bus 309 from Balloch to Drymen, terminating at Balmaha. You can check times using Traveline. Return from Inverarnan to Glasgow by Citylink bus, or you could take the water bus from Ardleish to Ardlui, then take the train from Ardlui to Glasgow.

BRIDGE OF ORCHY TO FORT WILLIAM

Another highlight of the West Highland Way is the stretch between Bridge of Orchy and Fort William. Here you are walking through quintessential Highland scenes, complete with heather-covered moorland, dramatic mountains, and stags aplenty. Rannoch Moor, Glencoe and the Devil’s Staircase, and the Lairigmor are the three standout areas along the northern half of the WHW, seen on the Bridge of Orchy/Inveroran to Kingshouse, Kingshouse to Kinlochleven, and Kinlochleven to Fort William sections, respectively.

A view of Buachaille Etive Mor on the West Highland Way

Arriving in Glencoe to stunning views of the mighty Buachaille Etive Mor



A view of Buachaille Etive Mor on the West Highland Way

Arriving in Glencoe to stunning views
of the mighty Buachaille Etive Mor



This 36 mile / 58 km stretch would make a great standalone 3 day itinerary. There is easy access by both bus and train from Glasgow to Bridge of Orchy, and from Fort William back to Glasgow.

WEST HIGHLAND WAY MAPS, GUIDES & RESOURCES

The West Highland Way is very well signposted for the entire length of the trail, to the point where we only checked the route on our phones once or twice over the 96 miles. It would be foolish to set off relying solely on the waymarkings however, so we recommend you download and learn to use an offline mapping app (or two) in advance and pick up a paper map and/or guidebook.

RECOMMENDED MAPPING APPS & GPX/KML TRACK DOWNLOADS

Our go-to mapping apps when hiking are Maps.me (iOS/Android) and Gaia GPS  (iOS/Android). Unlike Google Maps, these apps can be used to navigate offline when you don’t have phone reception or have put your phone on flight mode to conserve battery. Using your phone’s GPS location, you can see exactly where you are on the map and follow along on the pre-downloaded route. You can also easily calculate the distance between locations, the estimated elevation gain and loss, and roughly how long it should take.

The West Highland Way route is already marked on both of these mapping apps, however to make it extra obvious which route you should be following, we recommend downloading our KML (Maps.me) and GPX (Gaia) tracks to the apps. This will load not only the route, but also all of our marked information such as accommodation, campsites, public toilets, water taps, shops, and so on, making it easy for you to find key points and services. You can download our KML/GPX track of the entire route using the links in the map section above, or individual sections of the route using the links in our detailed WHW trail notes guide.

We also have more tips on how to use these apps in our West Highland Way Map section above.

An attractive wooden signpost pointing in the direction of the route on the West Highland Way

Although the West Highland Way is well signposted, it’s always handy to have the route and marked info downloaded to your phone



An attractive wooden signpost pointing in the direction of the route on the West Highland Way

Although the West Highland Way is well signposted
it’s always handy to have the route and marked info
downloaded to your phone



WEST HIGHLAND WAY MAPS AND GUIDEBOOKS

Having a paper map and guidebook is a great backup for a digital device. If you want a full guidebook we’d recommend the Cicerone West Highland Way pocket book, or the Trailblazer West Highland Way Guide.

Our recommended maps are the Harvey waterproof WHW map and Footprints waterproof WHW map.

You can also download any online guides or information that you have found useful (including this blog post!) to read offline later. Check instructions for your specific device on how to do this.

OTHER WEST HIGHLAND WAY RESOURCES

There is a very active Facebook group – West Highland Way – which can be a great resource for up-to-date info, tips, photos, and advice. We’d recommend using the search function within the group page to find answers to any questions you may have before asking in the group, as there’s every chance it will have been covered before.

The official West Highland Way website is also a good source for updates and info on upcoming events.

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WHAT TO PACK FOR THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

There are some universal items that you need to walk the West Highland Way regardless of how you plan to do it. Of course, some extra items are required if you plan to camp, cook your own food, or stay in accommodation each night.

Below are our suggestions on what to pack for the West Highland Way, broken down into clothing, hiking gear, camping equipment, and extras for those staying in accommodation.

CLOTHING

No matter what time of year you’re walking the WHW, you must be prepared for all the different weather Scotland can throw at you. You need a waterproof Jacket, waterproof trousers, and layers (including a breathable moisture-wicking base layer, an insulating mid layer, and an outer layer). Ideally your base layers should be made from merino wool. It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool, and amazingly won’t stink even after days of use. It will dry quite fast too. Avoid jeans or any cotton materials – if they get wet they are heavy, take forever to dry, and you’ll get cold easily. A pair of quick-drying comfortable walking trousers (or leggings if you prefer) are also better than regular jogging bottoms or such like.

FOOTWEAR

Make sure you have proper footwear that is already broken in. We personally prefer hiking boots with good traction and ankle support, but if you are used to walking in trail runners or such like, the terrain on the WHW (outside of winter) is certainly suitable for this kind of footwear. A set of Superfeet insoles are also a great idea. They reduce foot fatigue, improve shock absorption, and help keep your feet in place, again reducing the chance of blisters or hot spots. It’s a good idea to pack a pair of flip-flops or sandals too for wearing in the evening around camp or at your accommodation.

It’s important to wear clean and dry quality socks (ideally merino wool), and change them regularly (at least every two days). Using a liner sock in conjunction with a thicker sock will help reduce the chance of blisters and hot spots.

OTHER ITEMS

A hat, gloves and sunglasses are also needed. A buff is good for sun and wind protection. During midge season (roughly mid-May to mid-September), a midge net is a good idea. Gaiters will help keep your feet and trousers dry in wet or boggy conditions, and offer extra protection against ticks.

FULL CLOTHING CHECKLIST

For more information and an in-depth look at our recommended hiking clothing, including what we use and why, check out our complete hiking gear guide.

Merino Hiking T-Shirt x 2

His/Hers

Merino Thermal Baselayer
(if camping or hiking in colder months)

His/Hers

Merino Thermal Leggings
(if camping or hiking in colder months)

His/Hers

Merino Underwear x 3

His/Hers

Sports Bra x 2

Fleece

His/Hers

Down Jacket 

His/Hers

Rain Jacket/Shell

His/Hers

Waterproof Trousers

His/Hers

Quick Drying Hiking Trousers

(preferably with zip-off shorts)

His/Hers

Change of trousers to wear in evening

Hiking Socks x 4-6

His/Hers

Liner Socks x 4-6

His/Hers

Evening Socks x 1

Buff

Gloves

Liner & Waterproof Outer

Sun Hat

Warm Hat
(if camping or hiking in colder months)

Sunglasses

Hiking Boots or Trail Runners

His/Hers

Insoles

Flip-Flops / Sandals
for evening

Gaiters

Midge Net


HIKING GEAR

Whether you plan to walk the WHW with a daypack (using a baggage transfer service for your main bag) or carry all your gear on your back, there are a number of items we recommend packing for the trail.

BACKPACK

Firstly, you’re going to need a backpack and rain cover. We love Osprey packs and highly recommend them for either your day pack or 40L+ backpack. A waterproof liner or dry sack is also helpful, especially for electrical items, or if you’re camping (when a dry change of clothes and dry sleeping equipment is essential).

Two large backpacks resting against each other in a green field on the West Highland Way

Our 70L and 50L backpacks; ideal for us with camping gear, food, and camera equipment, although something smaller will likely do most people



Two large backpacks resting against each other in a green field on the West Highland Way

Our 70L and 50L backpacks; ideal for us with
camping gear, food, and camera equipment,
although something smaller will likely do most



HIKING POLES

Hiking Poles are highly recommended for walking the WHW. They provide support for your knees while descending, give tired legs a boost on uphill sections, and help maintain your rhythm on the flat.

WATER

A refillable water bottle and/or water bladder is also essential, plus a water purification method if you want to fill up at streams along the way. We use a Steripen and filter, but you could use water purification tablets, a LifeStraw, or such like.

FIRST AID

You should carry a basic first aid kit, including painkillers, ibuprofen, antihistamines, Compeed blister pads, bandages, sterile wipes and dressings, antiseptic cream, plasters, scissors, a tick remover, tape, and safety pins. You can buy handy pre-made kits, or make up your own.

RUBBISH BAGS & TOILET KIT

As you need to carry all of your waste off the trail to be disposed of in bins along the way, a rubbish bag is a good idea. If you’re wild camping, a toilet kit is essential (also useful for all walkers in case of a toilet emergency). Your toilet kit should include some toilet paper or pocket tissues, a rubbish bag to put your used toilet paper in (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great), antibacterial hand gel, and a pocket trowel for digging a toilet hole and covering it over if you need to poo.

OTHER ITEMS

Other useful items include a headtorch, suncream, insect repellent such as Smidge, snacks, a phone with charging cable and power bank, a penknife, and a map of your route. A waterproof phone case can be very handy on wet weather days. Some electrolyte tabs are great for an energy boost and keeping you hydrated on hot, sweaty days. A travel adapter can be useful for charging multiple devices at once in cafes or at your accommodation.

Backpack + rain cover

Pack Liner and/or Dry Bag

Hiking Poles

Water Bladder/Water Bottle

Water Purifier (eg. Steripen, purification tablets, LifeStraw, etc.)

First Aid Kit

Tick Remover

Penknife

Maps (offline GPS and paper)

Rubbish Bag(s)

Headtorch

Suncream

Insect Repellent 

Toilet Paper

Toilet Trowel

Hand Sanitiser

Nappy Sacks or Dog Poo Bags

Phone

Charging Cable

Power Bank

Waterproof Phone Pouch

Travel Adapter 

Electrolyte Tablets


EXTRAS FOR STAYING IN ACCOMMODATION

As well as everything outlined in the checklists above, we’d recommend a few extra items if you plan on staying in accommodation on the West Highland Way.

First, you’ll likely be able to have a shower every day, so pack some basic toiletries such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. This can be packed in your overnight bag if utilising a luggage transfer service. Towels are usually provided in B&Bs, guesthouses, and hotels, but if you’re staying in hostels, bunkhouses, or glamping, you’ll likely need your own towel. A lightweight microfibre towel is a good option.

Ear plugs and an eye mask are also a good idea if you’re staying in a shared room (or have a room buddy who snores!).

Some glamping options along the WHW do not include linen/bedding as standard, so you may need to bring a sleeping bag, travel towel, and travel pillow if you’re booked to stay at these.

CAMPING EQUIPMENT

If you plan to camp, you’ll need a few extra things in addition to the items outlined in the checklists above. Most obviously that is a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. We also recommend a pillow for comfort and a sleeping liner for added warmth and to keep your sleeping bag clean. You’ll also need a small burner, gas canister and cooking supplies if you want a hot meal. Don’t forget some basic toiletries such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, plus soap, shampoo, and a travel towel if you plan to shower along the way.

Read about our tried and tested camping kit in our complete backpacking gear guide.

 Tent

Sleeping mat

Sleeping bag

Silk liner

Pillow

Small camping stove

Gas for stove
(available to buy at some shops along the way such as Beinglas Farm Shop and Tyndrum Green Welly Stop)

Pot

Spork

Cup

Bowl

Biodegradable washing up liquid

Basic Toiletries

Travel Towel


GET THE LOWDOWN ON OUR HIKING AND CAMPING GEAR

WHERE TO STAY ON THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

While walking the West Highland Way it’s possible to wild camp, stay in campsites, or use indoor accommodation every night. It’s also possible to mix and match, camping some nights and glamping or staying in hotels/B&Bs for others. Where you choose to stay may depend on your budget or the type of experience you are looking for.

We give an overview of camping, glamping, and accommodation options in this guide. However, we have covered wild camping and campsite options in great detail in our Camping the West Highland Way Guide, and provide an extensive list of indoor options in our West Highland Way Accommodation Guide, so we recommend that you read these guides for full details.

WILD CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Wild camping is permitted in Scotland in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and wild camping the West Highland Way is perfectly feasible. However, given the seasonal camping byelaws that exist in an area around Loch Lomond, and the fact that a number of the ‘usual’ start and end points for each section are residential or farming areas, you do need to plan your itinerary accordingly.

The best approach is to wild camp either before or after the main settlements along the route. On the Loch Lomond stretch, the 1st March – 30th September 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). There are signposts at both points, making it obvious when you have entered and exited the restricted camping zone.

If you want to wild camp between these two points, the only option is to secure a permit for the Lochan Maoil Dhuinne wild camping area, just before Rowardennan (56.142926, -4.639668). As there are only 5 permits granted per day (£4 per tent), many people opt to camp at Sallochy Campsite instead, which offers a lochside camping experience very close to wild camping. Otherwise, you must continue just beyond the end of the Camping Management Zone where there are a few good spots to pitch your tent (in the forest or lochside).

A tent on the pebbled shore of Loch Lomond at the Lochan Maoil Dhuinne camping area on the West Highland Way

Early morning in the Lochan Maoil Dhuinne permit camping zone on the shores of Loch Lomond



A tent on the pebbled shore of Loch Lomond at the Lochan Maoil Dhuinne camping area on the West Highland Way

Early morning in the Lochan Maoil Dhuinne
camping zone on the shores of Loch Lomond



An alternative camping option within the Camping Management Zone, but off the main route, is the island of Inchcailloch, accessible by on-demand boat from Balmaha. You must secure a permit in advance, with a maximum of 12 permits being issued for each day at a cost of £9 per person. There is a composting toilet, but no water or other facilities.

When wild camping it’s crucial that you Leave No Trace. 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. 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.

For a section-by-section overview of the best wild camping locations along the route, check out our dedicated Camping the West Highland Way Guide. You can also purchase our detailed electronic map with the location of more than 50 suggested wild camping spots along the Way. 


SCOTTISH OUTDOOR ACCESS CODE

Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply, but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission. Leave no trace by:


WEST HIGHLAND WAY CAMPSITES

There are campsites with toilet and shower facilities along every section* of the West Highland Way, apart from Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran, where informal wild camping areas are available. At each of these locations it’s possible to use the toilet facilities in the nearby hotels during opening hours, by purchasing something at the bar or making a donation. There were also two portaloos at the Bridge of Orchy camping area when we walked the route in May 2022.

* Note that Beinglas Farm Campsite at Inverarnan is closed permanently from 1st October 2022

If you want to camp but don’t want to carry your gear, staying at campsites is ideal. The baggage transfer services that operate on the WHW can drop off your bags at official campsites (and also at the Inveroran Hotel and Bridge of Orchy Hotel if you’re using the informal camping areas nearby).

A red tent nestled among oak trees in one of the shoreside pitches at Sallochy Campsite alongside Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way

Lochside camping at Sallochy Campsite between Balmaha and Rowardennan



A red tent nestled among oak trees in one of the shoreside pitches at Sallochy Campsite alongside Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way

Lochside camping at Sallochy Campsite



Open the drop down boxes below for a section-by-section outline of campsites on the West Highland Way. Note that a few of the campsites only accept 1 – 2 person sized tents, and most of them are only open between Spring and Autumn. For a more detailed look at campsites along the route, check out our dedicated Camping the West Highland Way Guide.

West Highland Way Campsite

  • 7.3 km/4.5 miles beyond Milngavie,
    1km/ 0.6 miles detour off route
  • Enquire direct for prices
  • Breakfast included
  • Open year round

Drymen Camping

  • £10 pp
  • Open 8th March – 23rd October

Inchcailloch Island Permit Camping Area

Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club

  • Price varies, expect to pay £15+ pp

Cashel Camping and Caravan Park

  • Price varies, expect to pay £10+ pp
  • Open 1st April – 17th October

Sallochy Campsite

  • Tents only, lochside pitches
  • £8-9 pp
  • Open 1 April to 31 October
  • No showers

Inversnaid Bunkhouse

  • (1.5 km/0.8 miles detour off route)
  • £10 pp
  • full use of bunkhouse facilities

Beinglas Farm*

  • £10 pp
  • Open Spring – September 30th
    * Closed permanently from 1st October 2022

Strathfillan Wigwams (Auchtertyre)

  • £8 pp
  • £1 per 8 mins hot shower

Pine Trees Caravan Park

  • Primarily for caravans and glamping
  • Small tents bookable by telephone
  • Enquire direct for prices
  • Open 1st March – 30th October

By The Way Hostel and Campsite

  • £12 pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed
  • Closed if waterlogged due to heavy rain

No campsites with facilities

  • Informal wild camping by the river at Bridge of Orchy
  • 200 metres beyond the hotel

Informal wild camping at Inveroran

  • 400 metres beyond the hotel
  • Next to the river

Glen Coe Mountain Resort

  • £8 pp
  • £1 for 5 mins hot shower

Informal wild camping area at Kingshouse

  • Over the stone bridge behind Kingshouse Bunkhouse
  • Access to public toilets and showers
  •  £1 for 5 mins hot shower

Blackwater Hostel

  • £10+ pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed

MacDonald Hotel and Cabins

  • £10+ pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed

Glen Nevis Campsite

  • £11.50+ pp

WEST HIGHLAND WAY GLAMPING

Glamping the West Highland Way is often cheaper than staying in a hotel or B&B and it’s a little more comfortable than camping in a tent. Usually, you need to pay extra for your linen, or bring your own sleeping bag and towel. There are a number of glamping options along the route. The main ones for each section are outlined in the drop down boxes below.

West Highland Way Hotel and Campsite

  • 7.3 km/4.5 miles beyond Milngavie, 1km/ 0.6 miles detour off route
  • Safari Glamping Tent from approx £90 for 2 people incl. breakfast
  • Shepherd’s Hut from approx £135 for 2 people incl. breakfast

Duncan Family Farms (near Drymen)

  • Luxury En-Suite Glamping Pods from approx £250 for 2 people for 2 nights
  • All linen included
  • Minimum 2 night stay

Drymen Camping

  • Green Pods and Kocoons approx £40-50 for 2 people
  • Linen hire extra

No glamping options


Beinglas Farm*

  • Camping Cabin £20 pp
  • £5 Linen Hire pp
  • £2 Towel Hire pp
    * Closed permanently from 1st October 2022

Strathfillan Wigwams (Auchtertyre)

  • Wigwams £40 – £75 for 2 people
  • Yurt £70 for 2 people
  • £5 linen hire pp
  • £1 per 8 mins hot shower

By The Way Hostel and Campsite (Tyndrum)

  • Various pods and huts
  • £40 – £60 for 2 people
  • £4 sleeping bag hire pp

Pine Trees Caravan Park (Tyndrum)

  • Various pods sleeping between 2-5 people
  • £40 – £85
  • NO LINEN HIRE must bring own sleeping bag, etc.

Bridge of Orchy Eco Pods

  • Sleeps 2
  • £82
  • Includes linen

Glen Coe Mountain Resort

  • Microlodge £65 for up to 4 people
  • NO LINEN HIRE must bring own sleeping bag, towel, etc
  • £1 for 5 mins hot shower

Blackrock Cottage

  • £12 pp
  • NO LINEN HIRE must bring own sleeping bag, towel, etc
  • £1/£2 coin operated hot showers

Blackwater Hostel

  • Pods
  • From £45 for 2 people
  • £5 linen hire pp

MacDonald Hotel and Cabins

  • Cabins
  • From £45 for 2 people
  • Extra charge for linen hire

Nevis, Etive, and Coe

  • En-Suite Glamping Pods
  • £150 for 2 people
  • (Nevis and Etive minimum 2 night stay)
  • All linen and Towels Provided

Glen Nevis Campsite

  • Armadilla Camping Pods
  • From £80 for 2 people
  • NO LINEN HIRE must bring own sleeping bag, etc.

Highland Holidays (former Lochy Holiday Park)

  • Luxury en-suite Glamping Pod
  • From £90 for 2 people
  • Linen included

WEST HIGHLAND WAY INDOOR ACCOMMODATION

There is a wide range of indoor accommodation available along the West Highland Way, including budget hostels and bunkhouses, homely B&Bs, luxurious hotels, and all sorts in between. Bigger settlements have plenty of options (like Crianlarich, Tyndrum, or Kinlochleven) while others have very limited options (such as Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Bridge of Orchy, and Glencoe/Kingshouse). Booking in advance is highly recommended.

We go into more detail about accommodation on the West Highland Way in our complete guide, but for quick reference we’ve added an overview of options on each section of the route in the drop down boxes below. Each place is marked as budget, mid-range, or high-end using the following key:

Budget £ Mid-Range ££ = £50 – £75 pppn | High-End £££ > £75 pppn

Budget £

Mid-Range ££ = £50 – £75 pppn

High-End £££ > £75 pppn

Inversnaid

£

££

£££

Inverarnan

£

££


£

£££


WHERE TO EAT, FILL WATER, AND PICK UP SUPPLIES

There are cafes and restaurants at each of the main settlements on the West Highland Way. Should you want to, this allows you to order a meal at least once a day, regardless of whether you’re camping or staying in accommodation. Many of the accommodation options provide breakfast and offer a packed lunch service which you can pre-order the night before. Dinner reservations are recommended, especially if you aren’t booked to stay at the place you want to eat.

There are plenty of water taps available at settlements along the way. Note that if there is no obvious tap outside, you can ask to fill your bottle or reservoir at campsites, hotels, pubs, cafes, etc. Away from settlements, there are some long stretches with only natural water sources such as streams. If you are relying solely on water taps, it means having to carry a lot more water on the more remote sections. If you are prepared in advance and carry a water treatment system, then you can fill up regularly from any source.

There are shops to re-supply in each of the main towns (Drymen, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Kinlochleven) plus some smaller shops aimed at walkers at other key stops.

Below is an outline of the food options, supply options, and water taps along each section of the WHW. You’ll find them all marked on our map. In places where there are numerous eateries, we’ve noted the top recommended options.

GLASGOW / MILNGAVIE

There are plenty of supermarkets in central Glasgow, near the train stations where you will likely be arriving and departing from. There is a big Tesco Superstore behind the train station in Milngavie, and various take-away food and sit-in cafes near the start point. There are pharmacies too, in case you need any last minute medical supplies. 

MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

There is a restaurant about half way through the route, plus a deli (Wed – Sun) and honesty shop shortly after the restaurant. Drymen itself is about 900 metres / 0.56 miles off the main route.

Water Tap by Obelisk at Start

Trailside Water Tap at Carbeth Cottages
(55.9838, -4.3475)

The Beech Tree Inn
(11 km / 6.8 miles from Milngavie)
Full food menu
Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm
Sat – Sun 11am – 7pm
Outside Water Tap 

Turnip the Beet Honesty Shop & Deli
(12 km / 7.5 miles from Milngavie)
Snacks, porridge pots, cakes, canned drinks and water from the honesty box
(payment in cash or by bank transfer)
Deli and Shop serving coffee, sandwiches and more
Open Wed – Sat 9am – 6pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm

Water refills available during opening hours

Honesty Box at Gartness Bridge
(16 km / 9.9 miles from Milngavie)
Small selection of cans, bottled water and ice creams

Water Taps Available at Drymen Camping

The Clachan Inn, Drymen
Reservations Recommended (01360 660824)
Full food menu
Mon – Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 12pm – 11pm

SPAR Drymen
Convenience Store
Mon – Sat 630am – 10pm, Sun 8am – 10pm


DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

You can get a meal, light snacks, and basic supplies in Balmaha, after descending from Conic Hill. There is nowhere to eat after this until The Clansman at Rowardennan.

Bottled Water at Honesty Box Outside Glenalva B&B, Drymen

The Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
Breakfast 730am
Lunch and Dinner 12pm – 10pm
Outside Water Tap 

St Mocha Coffee Shop, Balmaha
Morning rolls served all day, coffee, ice cream
Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat – Sun 8am – 5pm

Scottish Water Tap by Tom Weir Statue, Balmaha

Water Tap at Sallochy Campsite

The Clansman Bar and Restaurant, Rowardennan
Breakfast open to non-residents between 7am – 9am
Food Menu served from 12pm
Outside Water Tap

Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel Shop
Basic provisions and snacks

Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel Meals for Guests
(pre-book +441360 870 259)


ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

Options for food are limited along this section so it’s recommended you have a packed lunch and snacks with you

Honesty Shop outside Ben Lomond cottage
(1.2 km / 0.75 miles from Rowardennan Hotel)
Various snacks, cakes, bottled water, and canned drinks.
Payment by cash or PayPal QR code.

Inversnaid Hotel
Snacks and drinks served in the walkers bar, but not reliable for meals for non-guests.
Outside Water Tap 

Top Bunk Bistro at the Inversnaid Bunkhouse
(1.5 km/0.78 miles detour off the route, uphill)
Breakfast served 745am – 915am
Dinner 6pm – 9pm
Reservations recommended for non-guests (+441877 386249)

Beinglas Farm, Inverarnan*
Breakfast 730am – 930am
Lunch and Dinner menu served 12pm – 9.30pm
Outside Water Tap 

Beinglas Shop, Inverarnan*
Open 730am – 10pm
Camping and walking supplies, plus food

*Closed permanently from 1st October 2022

The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan
( 700 metres / 0.4 miles detour off the route)
Lunch and dinner menu, food served 12pm – 9pm

INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

Crianlarich is about 1.5 km / 0.9 miles off the main WHW route so the detour isn’t recommended unless you are staying there. If you’re not going to Crianlarich, it’s best to stock up on supplies at Beinglas Farm shop* at Inverarnan, or at the Green Welly in Tyndrum.

*Closed permanently from 1st October 2022

Londis Store, Crianlarich
Open 730am – 6pm

The Station Tea Room, Crianlarich
Open 8am -4pm Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat
Thurs 9.30am – 4pm
Sun 11am – 2.30pm
Breakfast and Sandwiches

The Rod and Reel, Crianlarich
Open 1230pm – 10pm
Pub food

Strathfillan Wigwams Shop & Cafe

Farm shop, plus pies and bacon rolls
Outside Water Tap 

The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum
Open 730am – 8pm
Breakfast, then full menu from 11am*
*Fish and Chips highly recommended!
Outside Water Tap 

The Tyndrum Inn
Dinner reservations recommended +441838 400219

Green Welly Filling Station
Open 7am – 9pm
Food, walking, and camping supplies


TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

Bridge of Orchy Hotel is the only place to eat between Tyndrum and Inveroran. At Inveroran, the only option is the Inveroran Hotel itself. Currently, they only offer dinner for residents.

Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Breakfast 7am – 930am
Lunch 12pm – 5pm
Dinner 6pm – 8.45pm
Drinks and snacks available in the bar
Reservations Recommended
(
+441838 400 208)
Outside Water Tap 

Inveroran Hotel*
Walkers Bar open from 3pm
Dinner currently only for residents
(+441838 400250)
Outside Water Tap


INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

There is nowhere to eat between leaving Inveroran Hotel and the Glencoe Mountain Resort (14 km / 8.7 miles into the section).

Glencoe Mountain Resort Cafe and Shop
(500 metres /  0.3 miles detour off main route)
Open 8am – 8pm

Kingshouse The Way Inn
Open 730am – 9pm
Breakfast rolls, drinks, pastries, pies, etc.
Outside Water Tap 

Kingshouse Restaurant
Dinner from 6pm
Reservations Recommended
(book via website)



KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

There is nowhere to eat between Kingshouse and Kinlochleven. There is a supermarket in Kinlochleven, plus various pubs, cafes, and take-aways. If you need any urgent gear replacements, there is a selection of Rab clothing and outdoor accessories in the Ice Factor shop.

Co-op Supermarket
Open 7am – 10pm

Mo’s Kinlochleven
Open Mon – Sat 7am – 5pm, Sun 7am – 12pm
Coffee and breakfast rolls, sandwiches, baked potatoes

Ice Factor Cafe
Open 9am – 5pm

Chillers Bar and Grill
Open Thurs – Sun 5pm – 930pm

The Tailrace Inn
Breakfast 8am – 10am
Lunch 11am – 4pm
Dinner 4pm – 9pm


KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

There is nowhere to eat along the main route between Kinlochleven and Fort William, although you can detour to Glen Nevis Camping and Caravan Site, shortly before the end of the walk. There is a big Morrison’s supermarket in Fort William, multiple places to eat, and a number of outdoor clothing shops such as Nevisport, Cotswold Outdoor, and Craghoppers. There is a Scottish Water tap at the finish point.

Glen Nevis Campsite Shop
(1.6 km / 1 mile detour off main route)

Glen Nevis Restaurant and Bar
(1.6 km / 1 mile detour off main route)

Morrison’s Supermarket
Open 7am – 10pm

Black Isle Bar
Craft beer and pizzas, conveniently situated behind the finishing point
Open 12pm – 11pm

Highland Cinema
Cafe bar serving pizza, sharing platters, salads, gourmet hot dogs
Archival footage from the Highlands screened on the cafe wall
Hot food served 12pm – 9pm

Rain Bakery
Excellent bakery treats
Open Mon – Saturday 9am – 4pm

The Grog & Gruel
Pub Food
Food served 12pm – 9pm

The Geographer
Bistro food
Open Mon – Sat 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 9pm

Scottish Water tap at the finish point


TOILETS AND SHOWER FACILITIES ON THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Although there are public toilets along the West Highland Way, they are few and far between. Toilets are also available in pubs, restaurants, hotels, campsites and so on, but only accessible during opening hours and of course it’s polite to ask permission if you are not a customer.

Even if you aren’t camping, it’s highly recommended to carry a small toilet kit in case you get caught out and need to go in nature. Pack some toilet paper or pocket tissues, a rubbish bag to put your used toilet paper in (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great), antibacterial hand gel, and a pocket trowel for digging a hole and covering it over again if you need to poo. Do not bury or discard used toilet paper in nature, make sure you bag it and dispose of it properly at the next available public bin. Be sure to go to the toilet well away from water sources such as streams, and dig your toilet hole at least 6 inches deep. Avoid going anywhere where people may obviously rest or shelter along the way – finding a spot out of sight of the trail is best.

If you’re wild camping the West Highland Way, you may want to take advantage of paid public showers along the route to freshen up. We’ve marked the location of these below. A few campsites also have metered showers and you can ask permission to use these too, even if you’re not staying there.

Toilets

Milngavie train station
(for rail ticket holders only)

Costa Coffee shop by start

Milngavie Community Centre shortly after the tunnel at the start (signposted on trail)

Beech Tree Inn

Drymen Camping


Toilets

Oak Tree In

Milarrochy Car Park Public Toilets

Sallochy Campsite

The Clansman Bar and Restaurant at Rowardennan Hotel


Toilets

Ben Lomond Car Park Public Toilets

Inversnaid Hotel

Beinglas Farm Campsite*
* Closed permanently from 1st October 2022


Toilets

Strathfillan Wigwams

Green Welly Filling Station, Tyndrum

Campsite Showers 

Strathfillan Wigwams
£1 for 8 minutes

Public Showers

Green Welly Filling Station, Tyndrum (very clean)
£2.50 for 10 minutes


Toilets

Bridge of Orchy Hotel
(for customers or by donation)

Two (smelly) portaloos by Bridge of Orchy bridge/informal camping area (May  2022)

Inveroran Hotel


Toilets

Glencoe Mountain Resort
(slightly off route)

Kingshouse Public Toilets (not very clean)

Kingshouse Bar and Restaurant

Campsite Showers

Glencoe Mountain Resort
£1 for 5 minutes

Public Showers

Kingshouse Public Showers (not very clean)
£1 for 5 minutes


Toilets

Kinlochleven Public Toilets
(opposite Ice Factor)

Public Toilets in Ice Factor

Public Showers

Ice Factor

£3 for 8 minutes


Toilets

Glen Nevis Campsite
(off route)

Various establishments in Fort William

Public Showers

Fort William Train Station
£3.50


BAGGAGE TRANSFERS AND LUGGAGE STORAGE ON THE WHW

BAGGAGE TRANSFERS

Many people chose to walk the West Highland Way with just a small daypack, getting their larger bag transferred daily from accommodation (or campsite) to accommodation. There are numerous companies who offer this service, with Travel-Lite, AMS, and Baggage Freedom being three of the best known. Prices are generally around £65 per bag for the entire route. You can check options and book directly with the baggage transfer companies.

Note that this service is not possible if you plan on wild camping, although the Inveroran Hotel does accept baggage transfers for campers (there is no campsite nearby and many opt to camp at the informal wild camping area 400 metres beyond the hotel). We’ve read that Bridge of Orchy Hotel also accepts baggage transfers for campers (for their nearby informal campsite), although it’s best to clarify this with them directly.

LUGGAGE STORAGE

If you’re planning to walk the West Highland Way as part of a longer trip to Scotland, it’s likely you’ll have excess baggage that you need to store somewhere while hiking. If you’re using one of the baggage transfer services they will usually store this for you. Otherwise, you can use a service such as Radical Storage, Bounce, or Stasher to arrange luggage storage while you are walking the route.

TRANSPORT TO AND FROM THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Milngavie and Fort William, the start and end points of the West Highland Way, are both easily accessible by public transport. If you want to leave your car at Milngavie while hiking, you can park at the Premier Inn for a charitable donation, just inform the staff at reception of your return date. There is also public parking at the train station and opposite the police station, but spaces can fill up fast in the morning.

GETTING TO/FROM MILNGAVIE

Milngavie is about 25 minutes by train from Glasgow Queen Street (Low Level) Station. Trains run regularly from approx 0630 – 2330 Mon – Sat, and 0830 – 2230 on Sundays. Tickets cost £3.90. Check the schedule and other stops along the route on The Trainline.

Glasgow itself is Scotland’s largest city and is well connected by bus, rail, and air to the rest of the UK and beyond. You can check train links via The Trainline, bus links via Citylink, Megabus, or National Express, and search flight options on Skyscanner.

GETTING TO/FROM FORT WILLIAM

Fort William has direct bus and rail connections to Glasgow and a direct bus link to Inverness (via Drumnadrochit, which may be of interest to those looking to walk the Affric Kintail Way after the WHW). Onward transport from Glasgow and Inverness is available via bus, rail, or air to destinations across the UK and beyond. You can book trains via The Trainline, and buses via Citylink. Note that booking in advance will secure you the best prices.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

If you plan on walking the West Highland Way in stages, or only want to walk certain parts of it, it’s possible to take public transport to and from some of the destinations along the route.

The train from Glasgow to Fort William stops at Arrochar & Tarbet (water bus connections from Tarbet to Rowardennan and Inversnaid), Ardlui (water bus connection to Ardleish), Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Bridge of Orchy.

The Citylink buses from Glasgow to Oban, Skye, Campbeltown, and Fort William all stop at Luss and Tarbet, where there are water bus connections to Balmaha, Rowardennan, and Inversnaid. The Glasgow to Fort William Citylink bus also stops at Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, and Glencoe.

TRANSFERS FROM FORT WILLIAM BACK TO MILNGAVIE/GLASGOW

A number of baggage transfer services such Travel-Lite, AMS, and Baggage Freedom offer return transport from Fort William to Milngavie or Glasgow as part of their packages.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

We hope you’ve found this guide to the West Highland Way helpful. If you have any questions, or tips to share with fellow WHW walkers, please leave us a comment below.

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The Ultimate Guide To The West Highland WayThe Ultimate Guide To The West Highland WayThe Ultimate Guide To The West Highland WayThe Ultimate Guide To The West Highland Way