• WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE SECTIONS

    Looking back towards Glencoe and the imposing Buachaille Etive Mor from the top of the Devil's Staircase on the West Highland Way route section from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven
  • WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE SECTIONS

    A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way

A GUIDE TO THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE SECTIONS

The West Highland Way is a classic long-distance walking trail, covering a variety of scenery and terrain over its 96 mile route. Stretching from the outskirts of Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands, it leads through rolling farmland, along the rocky shores of Loch Lomond, over scenic passes, and across a vast heather moorland, before reaching the dramatic mountains of Glencoe and ultimately emerging at the foot of Ben Nevis. Although a well-trodden trail, it is a highly rewarding journey. 

In this guide we share detailed trail notes and a complete breakdown of each West Highland Way route section, to ensure you know exactly what to expect throughout your walk. We include practical info about food, accommodation, and facilities along the Way, plus a downloadable map for easy on-trail navigation.

*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
Regular 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 map includes the West Highland Way 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 each West Highland Way route section, or a particular pin, by clicking on it in the legend or on the map itself.

Note that this map functions best in the desktop ‘My Maps’ version. If you save it 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).

You can download the entire map using the links below, or an individual route section in the stage-by-stage breakdown. 


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.


If you are planning on wild camping the West Highland Way, our detailed E-Map is a valuable resource which includes more than 50 suggested wild camp spots at various stages along the route. 


WEST HIGHLAND WAY TRAIL OVERVIEW

Most people walk the West Highland Way from south to north, breaking up the 96 mile / 154 km route over 4 – 8 days. 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 route section 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). For various itinerary suggestions, check our accompanying WHW Guide

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 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

WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE SECTIONS

Below is a complete breakdown of each West Highland Way route section. As in the table above, each stage includes the distance, elevation gain and loss, and an estimated range for walking time without breaks.

WHW ROUTE SECTION 1: MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

WHW ROUTE SECTION 1:

MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

12 miles / 19.2 km | + 794 ft / + 242 m | – 764 ft / – 233 m | 3.5 – 5 hours

12 miles / 19.2 km

 + 794 ft / + 242 m

– 764 ft / – 233 m

3.5 – 5 hours

FOOD

WATER

  • Tap at start
  • Tap at Carbeth Cottages
  • Tap at Beech Tree Inn
  • Refill at Turnip the Beet (during opening hours)
    or canned water at honesty box
  • Bottled water at honesty box Gartness Bridge
  • Tap at Drymen Campsite

TOILETS

  • Milngavie
  • Beech Tree Inn
  • Drymen Camping

The first section of the West Highland Way is a gentle introduction to the walk, with little elevation gain or loss and no tricky terrain. You’ll pass through wooded areas, next to lochs, through farming land, along an old railway line, and walk occasionally on roadside verges.

There are a couple of places to eat just over the half-way mark and two water taps along the trail. There’s even an opportunity for a small detour to an excellent whisky distillery.

The marked route doesn’t go into Drymen village itself – it’s a 0.6 mile / 1 km detour from the Drymen turn-off to access the shop and various accommodation options there. If you’re camping or staying at Altquhur B&B then you won’t need to deviate from the trail.

There are two good options for wild camping near Drymen: among the trees near the burn (stream) on the last 400 metres of the marked route before the Drymen turn-off, or in one of the forest areas before Garadhban Car Park (along the first part of the next section).

Note that Milngavie is pronounced ‘Mill-guy’, or more locally as ‘Mull-guy’, and Drymen is pronounced ‘Dr-min’.


Milngavie to Beech Tree Inn

7 miles / 11.2 km  | + 440 ft / + 134 m | – 522 ft / – 159 m | 2 – 3 hours

Milngavie to Beech Tree Inn

7 miles / 11.2 km

+ 440 ft / + 134 m

– 522 ft / – 159 m

2 – 3 hours

From the obelisk in the centre of Milngavie, the trail follows Allander Water initially, then leads through a forest on the southern side of Mugdock Country Park. You’ll soon pass Craigallian Loch on your right, followed by Carbeth Loch on your left. There are a few cottages around Carbeth and a water tap by the side of the trail.

When you meet the road, turn right to go to the West Highland Way Hotel and Campsite or turn left to stay on the trail. Walk 0.3 miles / 500m along the verge of the road before passing through a gate on your right. Walk up the path between farm fields and through another gate. From here you have a fantastic view of Dumgoyne, a distinctive volcanic plug looming above Glengoyne Distillery. Follow the path downhill, working your way between fields and skirting around the knoll of Dumgoyach.

Dumgoyne, a distinctive volcanic plug rising above the trees, seen from the West Highland Way route section from Milngavie to Drymen

Dumgoyne, the distinctive volcanic plug seen on the West Highland Way route section from Milngavie to Drymen



Dumgoyne, a distinctive volcanic plug rising above the trees, seen from the West Highland Way route section from Milngavie to Drymen

Dumgoyne, the distinctive volcanic plug seen
on the West Highland Way route section from
Milngavie to Drymen



The trail crosses a bridge over Blane Water then turns left, running parallel to the A81 road and along the former Strathblane railway line. If you fancy a dram and whisky tour at the distillery, take the short detour off the trail (about 0.9 miles / 1.5 km beyond the bridge). Otherwise, continue the short distance on to The Beech Tree Restaurant and Bar where you can fill water, get meals and drinks, and see some Mini Shetland Ponies.

Beech Tree Inn to Drymen Turn-off

5 miles / 8 km  | + 354 ft / + 108 m |  – 243 ft / – 74  m | 1.5 – 2 hours

Beech Tree Inn to
Drymen Turn-off

5 miles / 8 km
+ 354 ft / + 108 m
– 74  m / – 243 m
1.5 – 2 hours

Cross the road at The Beech Tree Inn and continue along the narrow path between fields and trees which runs parallel to the road. After 0.6 miles / 1km you’ll reach the Turnip the Beet honesty (phone) box which has a selection of snacks, porridge tubs, cakes, and drinks, as well as Smidge. You can pay by cash or bacs (bank transfer). Their deli shop is next door, where you can fill up water and get sandwiches, meals and drinks during opening hours (Wed-Sun). A further 2.1 miles / 3.4 km on, you’ll cross over the road and continue on a narrow path through trees to reach another road.

A look at the items for sale inside the Turnip the Beet honesty box on the West Highland Way

Turnip the Beet honesty box



Endrick Water rushing over rocks below Gartness Bridge on the West Highland Way route section from Milngavie to Drymen

Looking down on Endrick Water from Gartness Bridge



Endrick Water rushing over rocks below Gartness Bridge on the West Highland Way route section from Milngavie to Drymen

Looking down on Endrick Water from Gartness Bridge



Turn left at the road, which you’ll be walking along for the next 2.2 miles / 3.5 km. You’ll soon cross Gartness Bridge and pass by a row of cottages and another honesty box with cold drinks and ice creams. Beyond Gartness is a turn off for the glamping pods at Duncan Family Farm. Altquhur B&B and Drymen Camping sit next to each other and are a little further along the country road, on the route itself.

At a small bridge, just after the road turns to the left (and after a sign for a sports massage), the trail heads down some steps to a stream below and cuts across rolling fields to join the A811 road on the other side. There are a few good camp spots alongside the stream in this section if you prefer to wild camp instead of pitching up at Drymen Camping. When you reach the road, turn left to walk into Drymen itself, which has numerous accommodation options and a shop, or turn right to continue on the trail.

WILD CAMPING

  • By the stream at end of route
  • Forest after Drymen

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 2: DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

WHW ROUTE SECTION 2:

DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

15 miles / 24 km | + 1982 ft / + 604 m | – 2103 ft / – 641 m |  5 – 7 hours

15 miles / 24 km

+ 1982 ft / + 604 m

– 2103 ft | – 641 m

5 – 7 hours

WATER

  • Bottled at honesty box, Drymen
  • Tap at Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
  • Tap by Tom Weir statue, Balmaha
  • Tap at Sallochy Campsite
  • Tap at Clansman Bar, Rowardennan

TOILETS

  • Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
  • Milarrochy Car Park Public Toilets
  • Sallochy Campsite
  • The Clansman Bar, Rowardennan

This section of the West Highland Way is more challenging than the first, with a steady climb up Conic Hill (1128 ft / 344 m), followed by a steeper descent to Balmaha. There are also plenty of ups and downs along the lochside trail to Rowardennan, which can be tiring. The views over Loch Lomond are spectacular however, and the route passes plenty of lovely pebble beaches, perfect for a rest or picnic. 

You can buy food at Balmaha, around half-way, and again at Rowardennan. There is a water tap in Balmaha and at Sallochy Campsite, and a number of streams along the route. Be sure to carry enough water if you are relying solely on water taps.

Accommodation is available in Balmaha and Rowardennan. There are also three campsites between Balmaha and Rowardennan, plus the national park’s designated permit zone wild camping areas on Inchcailloch island (accessible by on-demand boat from Balmaha, and Lochan Maoil Dhuinne, just before Rowardennan. Permits are limited and you must apply in advance.

Wild camping is possible in the forest sections enroute to Garadhban Car Park, near the streams on the way to Conic Hill, or around Conic Hill itself. No wild camping is permitted within the Loch Lomond Camping Management Zone between March 1st and September 30th. This starts at the entrance to the Balmaha Plantation forest (56.090172, -4.533101, 0.75 miles / 1.2 km from the summit of Conic Hill), and ends above Ptarmigan Lodge (56.171755, -4.655221, 1.8 miles / 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.


Drymen Turn-off to Balmaha via Conic Hill

7.2 miles / 11.5 km  | + 1155 ft / + 352 m | – 1319 ft / – 402 m | 2.5 – 3.5 hours

Drymen Turn-off to Balmaha
via Conic Hill
7.2 miles / 11.5 km
+ 1155 ft / + 352 m
– 1319 ft / – 402 m
2.5 – 3.5 hours

From the road at the Drymen turn-off, the trail leads through a narrow tree tunnel, then alongside the road for less than 0.19 miles / 300 metres before turning left through a gate. You’ll pass a small honesty box selling water outside a house on the road.

Leaving the road behind, the trail climbs gently uphill to join a forest track leading to the Garadhban Car Park. There are a few good wild camping spots in the forest to the left along this section of the trail. 

From the car park, the forest track works its way around towards Conic Hill, with views of Loch Lomond appearing on your left. After passing through a gate, the wide track becomes a narrow footpath and leads down to Kilandan Burn. Here you can fill water from the stream (be sure to treat it before drinking). Cross the bridge and continue to the next bridge at Burn of Mar, the last water source until Balmaha.

The climb to Conic Hill isn’t too steep, with the path working its way around the northern side. A side trail (1.18 miles / 1.9 km beyond Burn of Mar) leads to the actual summit for even better views over Loch Lomond and the surrounding hills. The main trail continues straight on and soon starts descending on a mix of dirt trail and steps. Conic Hill is a popular day hike, so you can expect it to be busy at the weekend, holidays, or on sunny days.

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

People resting and enjoying Loch Lomond views just below the summit of Conic Hill



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

People resting and enjoying Loch Lomond
views just below the summit of Conic Hill



Less than 0.6 miles / 1 km from the Conic Hill summit turn-off, you’ll reach a gate and sign advising that you are now entering a Camping Management Zone and no wild camping is permitted. The trail leads down wooden steps through a beautiful forest section of tall slender pines, and in less than 0.6 miles / 1 km, you’ll reach the car park at Balmaha.

Continue through the car park, past the Loch Lomond National Park Centre, to The Oak Tree Inn across the road. Here you’ll find a water tap and toilets, and a good selection of food and drinks. It’s also a great place to spend the night if you’re ending your hike here for the day. Next door, St Mocha serves ice cream, coffee, and morning rolls, and has a small shop. There are public picnic benches across the road from the Oak Tree Inn, and a Scottish Water filling tap along the road to the right, near the Tom Weir statue. You can also take an on-demand water taxi from Balmaha Boat Yard to Inchcailloch Island, where there is a permit camping area.

Balmaha to Rowardennan

7.8 miles / 12.5 km  | + 827 ft / + 252 m | – 784 ft /  – 239 m | 2.5 – 3.5 hours

Balmaha to Rowardennan
7.8 miles / 12.5 km
+ 827 ft / + 252 m
– 784 ft /  – 239 m
2.5 – 3.5 hours

The route turns right at The Oak Tree Inn and passes by the Tom Weir statue. Shortly after the lovely whitewashed and blue window-framed cottage, the trail leaves the road and climbs up a forested hillside. Up top there are fantastic views over Loch Lomond. Carry on down the other side to reach the lochside trail which leads past numerous scenic beaches. There is a nice picnic area and some public toilets at Milarrochy Car Park, 1.55 miles / 2.5 km from Balmaha.

Continue along the beach from the car park then cross the road to a trail on the opposite side, passing Milarrochy Camping and Caravanning Club Site to your left. The route crosses the road again, climbs a forested hillside, then descends to the road shortly before Cashel Camping and Caravan Park.

Continue walking parallel to the road for 0.9 miles / 1.5 km then turn left onto a forest trail at Sallochy, which leads through the forest for another 0.9 miles / 1.5 km to Sallochy Woodland Campsite. This is a great place to camp with 10 lovely lochside pitches and more on a grassy area set back from the beach. With just minimal facilities (water and composting toilets), this campsite has a bit of a ‘wild camping’ feel.

A sunny view of beautiful Loch Lomond through the trees on the West Highland Way route section from Balmaha to Rowardennan

There are many views of beautiful Loch Lomond from the forested trail along its shores



A hiker on the forested trail before Rowardennan on the West Highland Way

Hiking the forested trail before Rowardennan



Cross the footbridge after Sallochy Campsite and continue around the coast, turning right to climb a set of steps just beyond the modern looking Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment. It’s a 262 ft / 80 metre climb, followed by a descent back to the lochside. Pass by Mill of Ross house, over Wood Burn, and continue on the undulating forest path.

Soon you’ll reach the signposted turn off for Lochan Maoil Dhuinne permit camping area. There are only 5 permits given per day for this spot, but if you’re lucky enough to have secured one, then it’s a short walk down through the forest to a couple of beaches perfect for wild camping. Otherwise, continue on for around 0.6 miles / 1 km to Rowardennan. Here you’ll find the Rowardennan Hotel which offers accommodation, and The Clansman Bar which serves food and drink.

CAMPSITES

WILD CAMPING

  • In the forest after Drymen
  • By burns on way to Conic Hill
  • Conic Hill
  • No wild camping permitted
    within the Loch Lomond
    Camping Management Zone
    Mar 1st – Sep 3oth

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 3: ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

WHW ROUTE SECTION 3:

ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

14 miles / 22.5 km | + 1499 ft / + 457  m | – 1519 ft / – 463 m  |  5 – 7  hours

14 miles / 22.5 km

+ 1499 ft / + 457  m

– 1519 ft / – 463 m

5 – 7  hours

FOOD

WATER

  • Bottled honesty shop at Ben Lomond Cottage
  • Tap at Inversnaid Hotel
  • Tap at Beinglas Farm

 

TOILETS

  • Ben Lomond Car Park Public Toilets
  • Inversnaid Hotel
  • Beinglas Farm Campsite

Rowardennan to Inverarnan is considered by many to be one of the toughest West Highland Way route sections, due to the undulating forest path along the loch shore which can be slippery in wet weather. It’s also one of the most beautiful sections though, and we personally find the trail very interesting to walk on. You should however expect your pace to be slower than elsewhere along the route, and getting an early start is a good idea.

There is a water tap at Inversnaid, and not again until Beinglas Farm at Inverarnan. So, be sure to leave Rowardennan with enough water to last until Inversnaid, then fill up again for the remaining section to Inverarnan. If you are carrying a water treatment system, natural water sources are plentiful along the route.

There is limited accommodation available at Inversnaid Hotel and Inversnaid Bunkhouse. Accommodation in Tarbet and Ardlui on the western shore of Loch Lomond is accessible via water bus from Inversnaid and Ardleish, respectively.

Camping with access to facilities is available at Inversnaid Bunkhouse, and at Beinglas Farm. Wild camping is possible at numerous locations along this West Highland Way stage (marked on our E-Map) with the last good spot at a beach shortly before the old settlement of Ardleish. Rowchoish and Doune Byre bothies are open to all walkers to spend the night. If you’re not sure what a bothy is, you can learn more about them in our guide.


Rowardennan to Inversnaid

7.5 miles / 12 km  | + 794 ft | + 242 m / – 797 ft / – 243  m | 2.5 – 3.5 hours

Rowardennan to Inversnaid
7.5 miles / 12 km
+ 794 ft / + 242 m
– 797 ft / – 243  m
2.5 – 3.5 hours

From the Rowardennan Hotel, the route follows the road along to a large car park with public toilets and a water tap. Continue through the car park on a track towards the Rowardennan Youth Hostel and Ben Lomond Bunkhouse. You’ll find an honesty shop with drinks and snacks outside the Ben Lomond Cottage. 1.06 miles / 1.7 km along the track you’ll come to the end of the Camping Management Zone. Wild camping is permitted from here until shortly before Inverarnan.

Soon after, the track continues straight while a WHW signpost directs you down steps on a hiking trail. This is the ‘High Road/Low Road’ splitting point that you have seen mentioned elsewhere. The official route takes the ‘low road’, but some people prefer to continue on the easier ‘high road’ – they join again 2.5 miles / 4.1 km later. We definitely recommend following the official West Highland Way route here, as this stretch along Loch Lomond is particularly beautiful.

A hiker crossing a wooden bridge on the 'low road' in the forest next to Loch Lomond, the official West Highland Way route

Crossing a wooden bridge on the ‘low road’ next to Loch Lomond, the official West Highland Way route



A hiker crossing a wooden bridge on the 'low road' in the forest next to Loch Lomond, the official West Highland Way route

Crossing a wooden bridge on the ‘low road’ next to
Loch Lomond, the official West Highland Way route



The undulating trail continues along the banks of Loch Lomond, a beautiful section that is easy enough underfoot. Over the next couple of miles there are various scenic beaches and grassy patches which make for great picnic spots and are also ideal for wild camping.

After leaving the shores of the loch, the path leads uphill through a beautiful forest of tall pines and moss. Rowchoish Bothy sits a little off the trail to the left, a fine place for a sheltered rest with a picnic table inside. You can spend the night in the bothy if you wish, sleeping on a raised stone platform. There isn’t really anywhere great to camp in the immediate vicinity (due to sloping terrain and clumpy or long grass).

A hiker on the trail leading through the pine forest to Rowchoish Bothy on the West Highland Way route section from Rowardennan to Inverarnan

The trail leading through the forest to Rowchoish Bothy



A hiker on the trail leading through the pine forest to Rowchoish Bothy on the West Highland Way route section from Rowardennan to Inverarnan

The trail through the forest to Rowchoish Bothy



Continue through the forest, passing the point where the ‘high road’ rejoins the official West Highland Way route you’re following. The trail works its way down towards the loch and along to a wooden bridge crossing over Cailness Burn, passing by a picturesque house, and continuing through a lovely forest of Atlantic Oak. It’s another couple of miles along an undulating lochside trail to Inversnaid, ending at an impressive waterfall. On the way, look out for entertaining feral goats descended from those left behind during the Highland Clearances.

The Inversnaid Hotel itself mostly caters to coach tours, and the walkers bar only serves drinks, snacks, and cakes (no meals). There’s a water tap outside. The Inversnaid Bunkhouse is about 0.93 miles / 1.5 km up the hill from the hotel, a great place to stay or enjoy an evening meal. Reservations should be made in advance for meals (and, like everywhere, for accommodation), and they also offer a free pick up service from the trail outside the Inversnaid Hotel.

Inversnaid to Inverarnan

6.5 miles / 10.5 km  | + 705 ft / +  215 m  | – 722 ft / – 220 m | 2.5 – 3.5 hours

Inversnaid to Inverarnan
6.5 miles / 10.5 km
+ 215 m / – 220 m
– 722 ft / – 220 m
2.5 – 3.5 hours

The route continues along the coast, passing a boatshed and informal wild camping area 0.44 miles / 700 metres beyond the hotel. The hiking trail gets more interesting again from here, climbing up, down, and around moss covered rocks. Shortly after ‘Rob Roy’s Cave’, you’ll find a few carved wooden benches and the views begin to open up. The trail undulates along the coastline, passing a few small beaches.

An attractive forest trail near Rob Roy's Cave on the WHW route section from Inversnaid to Inverarnan

An attractive forest trail near Rob Roy’s Cave on the WHW route section from Inversnaid to Inverarnan



An attractive forest trail near Rob Roy's Cave on the WHW route section from Inversnaid to Inverarnan

An attractive forest trail near Rob Roy’s Cave
on the route section from Inversnaid to Inverarnan



You’ll reach a large beach of soft sand 1.74 miles / 2.8 km beyond the boatshed. This is a great place to rest before tackling the trickiest stretch of trail along this route section. For the next 1 mile / 1.6 km there are a few times you’ll likely need to use your hands to climb up, down, or over rocks, and in wet weather it can be very slippery, so take care.

Another soft sand beach awaits at the end of the rocky trail. The route then climbs through a nice forest and downhill to Doune Byre Bothy (and a ruined house next door surrounded by razor wire). Continue down through the trees, passing a grassy clearing and nice beach 0.59 miles / 950 metres from the bothy. This is the best spot for wild camping before Beinglas Farm.

Shortly after the beach you’ll see a signpost for the Ardleish to Ardlui ferry. You can summon the ferry for the next scheduled crossing from the jetty to the left by raising the ball. There are accommodation options in Ardlui.

The scenery soon changes beyond the ruined settlement of Ardleish, with the bracken-covered hillsides looking far more ‘Highland’. The trail climbs steadily up the eastern side of Cnap Mòr, with wonderful views of the mountains ahead and back over Loch Lomond. The trail flattens a bit, then starts descending towards Beinglas Farm. You’ll pass a sign warning that you’re entering another Camping Management Zone area, which extends a little up River Falloch*. Food, drinks, and accommodation awaits at Beinglas Farm, or the nearby Drovers Inn.

*There is no sign along the route advising when you have left this Camping Management Zone, but you can check the boundaries here.

ACCOMMODATION


WILD CAMPING

  • Various locations between end of Camping Management Zone
    (
    shortly after Ptarmigan Lodge 56.171755, -4.655221)
    and the beach before Ardleish
  • Rowchoish and Doune Byre bothies

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 4: INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

WHW ROUTE SECTION 4:

INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

12 miles / 19.3 km | + 1791 ft / + 546 m | – 1142 ft / – 348 m | 3.5 – 5.5  hours

12 miles / 19.3 km

+ 1791 ft / + 546 m

– 1142 ft / – 348 m

3.5 – 5.5  hours

FOOD

  • Shop and restaurants, Crianlarich (1.5 km / 0.93 miles detour off route)
  • Shop and basic cafe, Strathfillan Wigwams
  • Shop and restaurants, Tyndrum

WATER

  • Tap at Strathfillan Wigwams
  • Tap at Tyndrum

TOILETS & PAID SHOWERS

  • Strathfillan Wigwams
  • Green Welly, Tyndrum

By the time you’ve reached Inverarnan you will have crossed the Lowland/Highland boundary fault, but we’d argue that the best Highland scenery is yet to come (from Bridge of Orchy onwards). While this West Highland Way route section is pleasant enough, it can feel like a bit of a ‘filler’ between the beauty of Loch Lomond and the dramatic landscapes of Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. There is a climb and descent but it’s straightforward on easy terrain, and you can count on moving considerably faster than on the previous section, along Loch Lomond’s shore. The road is never too far from sight, or earshot.

The village of Crianlarich lies about half way between Inverarnan and Tyndrum. While it isn’t actually on the WHW route, it is close enough to be considered for accommodation should this suit your itinerary better than continuing to Tyndrum.

On the main route, there is no food available until the basic cafe and shop at Strathfillan Wigwams, 9.3 miles / 15 km from Beinglas Farm, and then in Tyndrum itself. The same goes for a water tap, although there are plenty of natural water sources along the way. There is a well stocked shop at the Green Welly in Tyndrum, and numerous places to eat that are open from early morning until evening.

There are a number of accommodation options in Tyndrum, including a campsite, glamping pods, B&Bs, and hotels. Wild camping is possible in the forest section between the Crianlarich Crossroad and Herive Burn, or along the River Fillan between Strathfillan Wigwams and Tyndrum. Our E-map has specific locations marked.

The Glasgow to Fort William (and on to Skye) Citylink bus stops at Inverarnan, Crianlarich, and Tyndrum, and the Glasgow to Fort William train stops at Crianlarich and Tyndrum. This may be useful if you want to start or end your WHW walk at one of these locations or stay in a place longer than one night (travelling to and from the trail by public transport at the end/start of each day).

Note that Crianlarich is pronounced ‘Cree-un-la-ruch’, ending with the ‘ch’ as in ‘loch’, not a ‘ch’ as in ‘cheese’. Tyndrum is pronounced locally as ‘Tyne-drum’, not ‘Tin-drum’.


Inverarnan to Crianlarich Crossroad

5.9 miles / 9.5 km | + 987 ft / + 301 m | – 197 ft / – 60 m | 2 – 3 hours

Inverarnan to Crianlarich Crossroad
5.9 miles / 9.5 km
+ 987 ft / + 301 m
– 197 ft / – 60 m
2 – 3 hours

The route leaves Beinglas Farm, climbing gently on a wide gravel road before turning off to the right onto a stony walking trail. It follows alongside the River Falloch, passing above the Falls of Falloch with limited views. The trail becomes a gravel track again, passing by Derrydarroch house, then over a bridge. Turn right, heading on a path through woodland to a tunnel under the railway line (which most people will need to duck to walk through). Climb the steps and continue on to another tunnel leading under the A82 road.

From here you’ll start ascending the slopes of Kirk Craig, a gradual climb on a wide track (1.74 miles / 2.8 km) to reach the Crianlarich crossroad. Turn left to stay on the West Highland Way route, or right to detour down to Crianlarich (0.9 miles / 1.5 km) for shops and various accommodation options. There is a bench next to the signpost.

Crianlarich Crossroad to Tyndrum

6.1 miles / 9.8 km  | + 804 ft / + 245 m | – 945 ft / – 288 m | 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Crianlarich Crossroad to Tyndrum
6.1 miles / 9.8 km
+ 804 ft / + 245 m
– 945 ft / – 288 m
1.5 – 2.5 hours

From the Crianlarich crossroad you’ll climb the hillside, quite steeply at first, towards a forest. There is a picnic bench and viewpoint at the top of the hill. The track continues through the forest, climbing to an altitude of 1115 ft / 340 m, then descends, a little steeply at times, to Herive Burn. Cross the bridge and carry on through the forest.

Continue descending through the forest until emerging at a felled hillside. Follow the path down towards the road, crossing under the railway line and soon crossing the road itself. A track then leads towards farm buildings at Kirkton, and the old cemetery and ruins of St Fillan’s Priory.

Continue along the track past farming fields to Strathfillan Wigwams, where you can camp or spend the night in a wigwam or yurt. They have a shop, small cafe, water tap, toilets, and paid showers on site.

From Strathfillan Wigwams, follow the track around to the left. You’ll soon cross under the road to join a pleasant trail running parallel to the River Fillan.

Looking southeast towards Ben More and Beinn Tulaichean on an overcast day, from the West Highland Way route before Tyndrum

Looking southeast towards Ben More and Beinn Tulaichean, from the trail before Tyndrum



Looking southeast towards Ben More and Beinn Tulaichean on an overcast day, from the West Highland Way route before Tyndrum

Looking southeast towards Ben More and Beinn
Tulaichean, from the trail before Tyndrum



Leaving the river behind, a path leads onto a heather-covered hillside, passing by the Lochan of the Lost Sword, then entering a lovely section of pine forest. Pine Trees Caravan Park appears across the river as you continue, and soon you’ll reach a signpost directing you right to shops and services, or straight on for By The Way Hostel and Campsite and the continuation of the route. If you continue straight on, you’ll curve around to the right and emerge on the main road near the Green Welly, a one-stop-shop for supplies, public toilets, and a public shower. For food, The Real Food Cafe is highly recommended, followed by the Tyndrum Inn, both a short walk down the road to the right.

WILD CAMPING

  • Forest section between Crianlarich Crossroad and Herive Burn
  • Along the River Fillan after Strathfillan Wigwams

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 5: TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

WHW ROUTE SECTION 5:

TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

9 miles / 14.5 km | + 942 ft / + 287 m | – 1135 ft | – 346 m | 2h45m – 4h15m

9 miles / 14.5 km

+ 942 ft / + 287 m

– 1135 ft  / – 346 m

2h45m – 4h15m

FOOD

  • Bridge of Orchy Hotel
  • Inveroran Hotel (book in advance for dinner)

WATER

  • Tap at Bridge of Orchy Hotel
  • Tap at Inveroran Hotel

TOILETS

  • Bridge of Orchy Hotel
  • Inveroran Hotel

The bulk of this West Highland Way route section, from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy, is straightforward and almost a continuation of the previous section. That is to say, it’s a pleasant enough walk on easy terrain, with the road in sight and within earshot the whole way. From Bridge of Orchy to Inveroran, the beauty and expansiveness of the Highlands really starts to reveal itself. You’ll leave the main road behind, climbing Mam Carraigh (1059 ft / 322 m), before dropping down to the small settlement of Inveroran.

A water tap, food, and refreshments are available at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and Inveroran Hotel, although evening meals should be booked in advance. Natural water sources are plentiful along the route. 

Accommodation is available at Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran, however options are limited. There is no campsite along this section of the route. Campers usually pitch up at an informal camping spot next to the bridge at Bridge of Orchy, or by the bridge at Inveroran. Both spots are close to the respective hotels, where toilet facilities are available during opening hours.

Wild camping is possible at a few riverside spots about halfway between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy, or near the summit of Mam Carraigh (exposed), as well as at the abovementioned informal camping sites.

The Glasgow to Fort William Citylink bus and the train stop at Bridge of Orchy, should you wish to start or end your West Highland Way walk here, or travel back to Tyndrum, Crianlarich, or Inverarnan (bus only) for a second night.

Note that Bridge of Orchy is pronounced ‘Orky’ like the ‘ch’ in ‘loch’, not the ‘ch’ in ‘cheese’.


Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy

6.6 miles / 10.7 km  | + 341 ft / + 104 m | – 676 ft / – 206 m | 2 – 3 hours

Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy
6.6 miles / 10.7 km
+ 341 ft / + 104 m
– 676 ft / – 206 m
2 – 3 hours

After crossing the main road near the Green Welly, the route climbs gently out of Tyndrum on a street with a few houses, then soon joins a wide stony track. Further up the hill you’ll cross a bridge and the railway line, then turn left and continue on. Hills rise to the right and the railway line and road run to the left, parallel to the trail.

The trail climbs briefly before descending to cross under the railway. From here there’s a wide track to follow, curving around the base of Beinn Odhar and gently descending towards the Allt Kinglass river.

A hiker climbing the trail from Tyndrum on the West Highland Way, with Beinn Dorain looming in the background under darkly ominous skies

Climbing the trail from Tyndrum, with Beinn Dorain looming in the background under ominous skies



A hiker climbing the trail from Tyndrum on the West Highland Way, with Beinn Dorain looming in the background under darkly ominous skies

Climbing from Tyndrum, with Beinn Dorain
looming in the background under ominous skies



From here it’s more or less a straight line towards Bridge of Orchy, following the wide stony track across an open hillside. It’s mostly flat or downhill, occasionally gently rising. You’ll cross over the railway on a picturesque stone bridge at one point, and under it again when you reach the tunnel at Bridge of Orchy railway station.

There are a few options for accommodation here (all with limited capacity), including the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, the West Highland Way Sleeper, a couple of eco pods, and Stance Cottage B&B. The riverbank across the bridge is a popular informal camping spot. The Bridge of Orchy Hotel is the only place serving meals.

Bridge of Orchy to Inveroran

2.4 miles / 3.8 km  | + 600 ft / + 183 m | – 459 ft / – 140  m | 45 mins – 1h15 mins

Bridge of Orchy to Inveroran
2.4 miles / 3.8 km
+ 600 ft / + 183 m
– 459 ft / – 140  m
45 mins – 1h15 mins

Cross the bridge over the River Orchy and head up the trail. It’s a 557 ft / 170 metre climb, up through the forest then across an open heather-covered hillside to the top of Mam Carraigh. The views are wonderful overlooking Loch Tulla and the lonely looking Inveroran Hotel below.

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

Descending towards Loch Tulla and Inveroran on the West Highland Way



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

Descending towards Loch Tulla and Inveroran



The trail works its way downhill to the hotel. We highly recommend the food here, but at the time of writing, dinner is only being served to residents, although this may change in the future. Food aside, the Walkers Bar is cosy and perfect for a pint and chat with your fellow hikers, and the outdoor seating area by the river is gorgeous on a sunny day.

The hotel and an Airbnb room at the nearby cottage are the only accommodation options in the area. Riverside wild camping by the bridge (0.25 miles / 400 metres beyond the hotel) is also popular.

It’s very common to see deer around here, including impressive stags.

ACCOMMODATION

CAMPSITES

  • No official campsites
  • Informal wild campsites at Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran (use of hotel facilities during opening hours)

WILD CAMPING

  • Riverside, halfway between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy
  • Informal wild campsite, Bridge of Orchy
  • Summit of Mam Carraigh (exposed)
  • Informal wild campsite, Inveroran

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 6: INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

WHW ROUTE SECTION 6:

INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

10 miles / 15.8 km | + 1188 ft / + 362 m | – 866 ft / – 264 m | 3 – 4 hours

10 miles / 15.8 km
+ 1188 ft / + 362 m
– 866 ft / – 264 m
3 – 4 hours

FOOD

  • Cafe and shop at Glencoe Mountain Resort
  • The Way Inn Bar at Kingshouse
  • Restaurant at Kingshouse

WATER

  • Tap at Glencoe Mountain Resort
  • Tap at Kingshouse

TOILETS & PAID SHOWERS

  • Glencoe Mountain Resort
  • Kingshouse

This is one of the most spectacular West Highland Way route sections, but not an overly challenging one. The route climbs gently over expansive Rannoch Moor before dropping down to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes. Much of the day is spent walking on old drover and military roads. These are wide paths made of large protruding stones which can be uneven underfoot and a bit slippery in wet weather. It is not difficult terrain to walk on, but it can be tiring on your feet. This section is very exposed, particularly on Rannoch Moor, making it considerably less pleasant in windy or rainy weather.

There is a water tap, shop, and cafe at Glencoe Mountain Resort (a short detour from the main trail, 8.7 miles / 14 km from Inveroran), and a water tap and walkers bar with light meals at Kingshouse (plus a fancier restaurant – reservations essential). Toilets and coin-operated showers are available at Glencoe Mountain Resort and Kingshouse. Natural water sources are plentiful along the route. Be sure to have snacks and enough water with you to last the day.

There is a campsite and glamping pods at Glencoe Mountain Resort, and a bunkhouse and hotel at Kingshouse. There is an informal wild camping area beyond the bridge behind Kingshouse, with campers making use of the public toilets and showers next to the bunkhouse.

Wild camping opportunities are plentiful on the stretch across Rannoch Moor, with many good clearings among the heather. Spots by Lochan Mhic Pheadair Ruaidh and Ba Bridge are particularly scenic. Check out our E-Map for specific locations.

The Glasgow to Fort William Citylink bus stops at the road-end for Glencoe Mountain Resort (right on the route) should you wish to start or end your walk here. This bus service also makes it possible to take public transport to accommodation elsewhere along the bus route (eg. north to Glencoe village or Ballachulish, or south to Bridge of Orchy, Tyndrum, Crianlarich, or Inverarnan).


Inveroran to Ba Bridge

5.2 miles / 8.2 km  | + 643 ft / + 196 m | – 144 ft / 44 m | 1h45m – 2h15m

Inveroran to Ba Bridge
5.2 miles / 8.2 km
+ 643 ft / + 196 m
– 144 ft / 44 m
1h45m – 2h15m

Cross the bridge just beyond the Inveroran Hotel and continue along the road, passing the Victoria Bridge Car Park on your left. Cross another bridge and carry on past Forest Lodge. From here you’ll leave the new road behind and join a historic drover road/military road crossing expansive Rannoch Moor.

It’s a gentle climb on the wide stony road, passing a few forested sections before emerging at scenic Lochan Mhic Pheadair Ruaidh. It’s a further 0.8 miles / 1.3 km to Ba Bridge, another gorgeous spot with the broad River Ba passing underneath and flowing off across the moor.

The River Ba flowing across the expansive Rannoch Moor on the West Highland Way route section from Inveroran to Kingshouse

The River Ba flowing across Rannoch Moor on the West Highland Way route section from Inveroran to Kingshouse



The River Ba passes under Ba Bridge and out across the expansive Rannoch Moor on the West Highland Way route section from Inveroran to Kingshouse

The River Ba passes under Ba Bridge
and out across the expansive Rannoch Moor



Ba Bridge to Kingshouse

4.8 miles / 7.6 km | + 545 ft / + 166 m | – 722 ft / – 220 m | 1h15m – 1h45m

Ba Bridge to Kingshouse
4.8 miles / 7.6 km
+ 545 ft / + 166 m
– 722 ft / – 220 m
1h15m – 1h45m

From Ba Bridge it’s a gradual climb over 1.87 miles / 3 km to reach a viewpoint, then a gentle descent towards Glencoe Mountain Resort. As you round the bend shortly after the high point, you’re faced with the impressive sight of Buachaille Etive Mòr, and the spectacular Glencoe stretching out ahead.

The peak of Buachaille Etive Mor hidden among the clouds as the trail descends towards Glencoe on the West Highland Way route section from Inveroran to Kingshouse

The peak of Buachaille Etive Mor hidden among the clouds as the trail descends towards Glencoe



The peak of Buachaille Etive Mor hidden among the clouds as the trail descends towards Glencoe on the West Highland Way route section from Inveroran to Kingshouse

The peak of Buachaille Etive Mor hidden among
the clouds as the trail descends towards Glencoe



There’s a turn off to the left for those staying at the campsite or in the micro lodges at Glencoe Mountain Resort (or wishing to visit the cafe or shop). Otherwise, continue towards the picturesque whitewashed Blackrock Cottage and join the road down to the A82. Cross the main road and carry on down a track towards Kingshouse.

At the back of the Kingshouse Bunkhouse, you’ll walk right by a water tap, public toilets and a shower block (£1 for hot water and not the cleanest facilities). The Way Inn bar and restaurant is housed in an historic inn dating from 1750, serving light meals and drinks. There’s another restaurant in the hotel proper. An informal wild camping area is just across the bridge, on the right.

ACCOMMODATION

£

£££


WILD CAMPING

  • Rannoch Moor
  • Informal campsite, Kingshouse

More details on our E-Map


WHW ROUTE SECTION 7: KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

WHW ROUTE SECTION 7:

KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

9 miles / 14.5 km | + 1243 ft / + 379 m | – 2014 ft /  – 614 m |  3 – 5 hours

9 miles / 14.5 km
+ 1243 ft / + 379 m
– 2014 ft /  – 614 m
3 – 5 hours

FOOD

  • Supermarket, cafes, take-aways, and restaurants in Kinlochleven

WATER

  • Ask at establishments in Kinlochleven

TOILETS & PAID SHOWERS

  • Public toilets in Kinlochleven
  • Toilets and paid showers in Ice Factor, Kinlochleven

Another highlight of the West Highland Way for dramatic views south over Glencoe and north towards Ben Nevis, the Kingshouse to Kinlochleven section ascends the frightfully named (but not so fearful in real life) Devil’s Staircase. The trail then works its way down through a scenic highland landscape to join a gravel road, which descends all the way to the sizeable town of Kinlochleven. The elevation gain and loss, along with some steeper parts on the way up the Devil’s Staircase, make this one of the more challenging route sections on the WHW. 

There are no water taps or places to buy food along this section of the route, although there are plenty of natural water sources. Be sure to carry a packed lunch, snacks, and enough water with you to last the distance. There is a Coop supermarket and various cafes, take-aways, and restaurants in Kinlochleven.

Numerous accommodation options are available in Kinlochleven, including glamping pods, B&Bs, hotels, and two campsites. Wild camping is possible by a burn on the way up the Devil’s Staircase, at the top (very exposed), and by the two burns on the way down from the top. The last spot we’d suggest before Kinlochleven is in the woods at a bend in the gravel road, near a dam.


Kingshouse to Top of Devil’s Staircase

4 miles / 6.5 km  | + 1125 ft / + 343 m | – 151 ft / – 46 m | 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Kingshouse to Top of Devil’s Staircase
4 miles / 6.5 km
+ 1125 ft / + 343 m
– 151 ft / – 46 m
1.5 – 2.5 hours

From Kingshouse cross the bridge and turn left at the end of the road, following the River Etive towards the ever-changing face of Buachaille Etive Mòr. After 0.75 miles / 1.2 km the route leaves the narrow road and turns right onto an old military road, climbing the hillside, then descending to meet the A82 again. It runs alongside the main road for 0.75 miles / 1.2 km, then turns right up the hillside opposite a car park and the much photographed Lagangarbh Cottage.

This marks the start of the ascent on the Devil’s Staircase, an 853 ft / 260 metre climb over 1.06 miles / 1.7 km. The views are increasingly spectacular, looking straight over to Buachaille Etive Mòr, not to mention all of the other impressive mountains around here. The climb gets steeper towards the top, the steepest part of the whole West Highland Way, but it’s over before too long and the views at the top are wonderful.

Looking back towards Glencoe and the imposing Buachaille Etive Mor from the top of the Devil's Staircase on the West Highland Way route section from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

Looking back towards Glencoe from the top of the Devil’s Staircase



Looking back towards Glencoe and the imposing Buachaille Etive Mor from the top of the Devil's Staircase on the West Highland Way route section from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

Looking back towards Glencoe and Buachaille
Etive Mor from the top of the Devil’s Staircase



Top of Devil’s Staircase to Kinlochleven

5 miles / 8 km  | + 118 ft / + 36 m | – 1864 ft / – 568 m | 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Top of Devil’s Staircase to Kinlochleven
5 miles / 8 km
+ 118 ft / + 36 m
– 1864 ft / – 568 m
1.5 – 2.5 hours

From the top the trail descends a little steeply at first, down to a bridge crossing a burn. It continues working its way around the heather-covered hillside, with views of Blackwater Reservoir to the northeast, before descending to another river and bridge. It’s common to see deer on the hillsides around here, so keep an eye out.

A hiker enjoying mountain views while descending the trail from the top of the Devil's Staircase, heading towards Kinlochleven and the final West Highland Way route section

The trail descending from the top of the Devil’s Staircase, towards Kinlochleven



A hiker enjoying mountain views while descending the trail from the top of the Devil's Staircase, heading towards Kinlochleven and the final West Highland Way route section

The trail descending from the top of the
Devil’s Staircase, towards Kinlochleven



From the bridge, the route continues on walking trail for a further 1 mile / 1.6 km, then you’ll join a gravel road for the remainder of the 2.17 miles / 3.5 km down to Kinlochleven.

From the bridge, the route continues on walking trail for a further 1 mile / 1.6 km, then you’ll join a gravel road for the remainder of the 2.17 miles / 3.5 km down to Kinlochleven. You’ll emerge behind the hydroelectric station, walking parallel to huge water pipes as you come down the hill. There are signposts directing you into town for various B&B’s and hotels, or alongside the hydro station to Blackwater Hostel and Camping, the Ice Factor, Coop supermarket, and the continuation of the route.

WHW ROUTE SECTION 8: KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

WHW ROUTE SECTION 8:

KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

15 miles / 24.2 km | + 1988 ft / + 606 m | – 2044 ft / – 623 m |  5 – 7 hours

15 miles / 24.2 km

+ 1988 ft / + 606 m

– 2044 ft / – 623 m 

5 – 7 hours

FOOD

  • Shop and restaurant in Glen Nevis
  • Supermarkets, cafes, take-aways, restaurants, and pubs in Fort William

WATER

  • Tap at WHW finish point

TOILETS & PAID SHOWERS

  • Toilets at Glen Nevis Campsite (off route)
  • Toilets at various establishments in Fort William
  • Toilets and showers at Fort William Train Station

The final West Highland Way route section is another highlight, with the majority of time spent surrounded by mountains, away from the road, and with Ben Nevis coming into view near the end. It is the longest stretch of the whole WHW without any accommodation or campsite facilities. This makes it one of the more challenging sections, although the terrain is straightforward enough after the fairly steep climb from Kinlochleven. The Lairigmor (Big Pass) is very scenic, and a highlight of the day, with a gradual climb up the glen on an old military road.

There is no water tap or place to buy food until Glen Nevis (a 1 mile / 1.6 km detour off the main route, less than 3 miles / 4 km from the end), so be sure to pack enough food and water to last the full day. Natural water sources are, as usual, plentiful along the route. Fort William is a large town with lots of supermarkets, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and take-aways. There is a water tap at the official end point.

In Glen Nevis, there is a hostel and bunkhouse plus glamping and camping options too, and there is a hostel and numerous accommodation options in Fort William itself. Wild camping is possible by a stream on the climb from Kinlochleven to the Lairigmor, at various spots on the Lairigmor, and on the way towards Dun Deardil. There are signs forbidding wild camping in Glen Nevis, so the last suggested spot before the end of the WHW is around Dun Deardil itself, before you start descending on the gravel track. See locations for all our suggested camp spots on our E-Map.


Kinlochleven to Lairigmor

4.8 miles / 7.7 km  | + 1142 ft / + 348 m | – 302 ft / – 92 m | 1h45m – 2h15m hours

Kinlochleven to Lairigmor
4.8 miles / 7.7 km
+ 1142 ft / + 348 m
– 302 ft / – 92 m
1h45m – 2h15m hours

As you leave Kinlochleven there’s an ascent of about 984 ft / 300 metres. It’s quite steep at first before becoming more gradual. The trail climbs through attractive forest initially, with wonderful views of Loch Leven and Kinlochleven revealed as you clear the treeline. Continue up the trail, where you’ll soon join an old military road for the more gradual climb to the Lairigmor, ‘The Big Pass’.

It’s a beautiful walk up the glen, with sheep grazing and mountains rising either side. The old road winds its way to the high point, passing a ruined croft house and continuing down to the remains of a settlement. A signpost points left for a trail over the hill to Loch Leven, but the West Highland Way route continues straight before curving round to the right.

A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way

Hiking among the dramatic scenery of the Lairigmor is a real highlight of the West Highland Way



A walker on the old military road among the dramatic mountain scenery of the Lairigmor, a real highlight of the West Highland Way

Hiking along the old military road among the
dramatic scenery of the
Lairigmor is a real
highlight of the West Highland Way



Lairigmor to Dun Deardail

6 miles / 9.7 km  | + 768 ft / + 234 m | – 840 ft / – 256 m | 2 – 3 hours

Lairigmor to Dun Deardail
6 miles / 9.7 km
+ 768 ft / + 234 m
– 840 ft / – 256 m
2 – 3 hours

Leaving the magic of the Lairigmor behind, the route now passes through logging plantations before meeting a tarmac road across from Lundavra Farm. Turn off onto the hiking trail to the right, beside the info board. After an initial climb, there’s a bit of up and down across the hillside before the mighty Ben Nevis comes into view, a wonderful sight signalling that your 96 mile walk is nearly complete.

After 3.1 miles / 5 km, the hiking trail joins a gravel track and passes a turn-off for the 2000 year old former fort of Dun Deardail. It’s a short detour up the hill if you have energy and fancy one last lofty view of Ben Nevis before the descent starts. This is also the last good spot to wild camp before descending to Glen Nevis (with its ‘No Wild Camping’ signs) and the town of Fort William beyond.

Ben Nevis looms large against the stormy skyline as the West Highland Way route winds along the hillside below and nears its completion

Ben Nevis looms large against the skyline as the West Highland Way route nears its completion



Ben Nevis looms large against the stormy skyline as the West Highland Way route winds along the hillside below and nears its completion

Ben Nevis looms large against the skyline as the
West Highland Way route nears its completion



Dun Deardail to Fort William

4.2 miles / 6.8 km  | + 85 ft / + 26 m | – 902 ft / – 275 m | 1h15m – 1h45m

Dun Deardail to Fort William
4.2 miles / 6.8 km
+ 85 ft / + 26 m
– 902 ft / – 275 m
1h15m – 1h45m

The gravel track continues downhill towards Glen Nevis, continuing straight at the junction for Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Carry on, then turn right, following a trail down through the forest and past fields to emerge at the road. Turn left, then continue along the pavement, following the road all the way into Fort William.

You’ll pass a sign marking the former end of the West Highland Way on the outskirts of town, but have to continue on a further 0.87 miles / 1.4 km to reach today’s official end point, marked by a sign and statue of a foot-sore walker. It lies at the end of the main shopping street, and there are plenty of bars and cafes around to rest your own weary feet.

If the road walk into Fort William doesn’t sound too appealing, it is possible to continue on a forest track around Cow Hill, descending into the town from the western side of the hill. Just ignore the turn-off to the right which takes you down through the forest towards Glen Nevis and follow the sign for the Braveheart Car Park instead. When you reach it, ignore the turn-off for the car park too, sticking on the same contour around the hillside. We’ve marked the route on our map, and it’s marked on Maps.me, Gaia, and various other maps as well.

WILD CAMPING

  • By a burn on the climb from Kinlochleven to the Lairigmor
  • Various spots on the Lairigmor
  • On the way towards Dun Deardil
  • Around Dun Deardil
  • No wild camping in Glen Nevis or Fort William

More details on our E-Map


A GUIDE TO THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY ROUTE SECTIONS

We hope you’ve found this guide to the West Highland Way route sections helpful, and wish you all the best on your own WHW walk!

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West Highland Way Route Sections: A Stage-By-Stage GuideWest Highland Way Route Sections: A Stage-By-Stage GuideWest Highland Way Route Sections: A Stage-By-Stage GuideWest Highland Way Route Sections: A Stage-By-Stage Guide
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