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One of the best ways to see Glencoe is to try one of the many beautiful Glencoe walks and hikes available. This way you get away from the roads and out into the beautiful Scottish countryside, with mountain views, lochs, streams and maybe even spot some deer. The beauty of hiking in Glencoe is that there are so many Glencoe walks to chose from that you can find something no matter how experienced a hiker you are. If you’re looking for easy Glencoe hikes, or something more strenuous, then check out this list of the best walks in Glencoe for your next trip to Scotland and add them to your Glencoe itinerary!
Best Glencoe walks and hikes
Head out into the hills near Glencoe and try one of these beautiful walks. Remember to practice leave no trace and only hike within your ability. I like to use the AllTrails app on my phone for route finding and the WalkHighlands website has loads of extra information on all of these hikes in Glencoe and other Glencoe walking trails.
Easy walks in Glencoe, Scotland
If you’re looking Glencoe easy walks that are a couple of hours long and won’t leave you too out of puff, then take a look at these suggestions below. These hikes don’t have much elevation so they’re great for hikers of all abilities and make good hikes for kids in Glencoe too!
An Torr/Signal Rock walk
The An Torr hike, also known as Signal Rock, is one of the easy Glen coe walks you can do. There’s some slight elevation gain but the trail is easy to follow and you get incredible views of the Glencoe Valley, the peaks of Aonach Eagach and the Three Sisters! And for history buffs, legend has it that this is where the signal to begin the Glencoe Massacre was given, making it one of the top Glencoe attractions!
Glencoe Lochan, loop trail
In the woodlands behind Glencoe Village is a small lake known as Glencoe Lochan to locals. There are several easy trails here that go up and around the lochan all with beautiful views. The Woodland Trail takes you into the forest and away from the water slightly, the Mountain Trail goes steeper into the forest and another trail takes you around the shores of the lake.
Hike out to Steall Falls
The Steal Falls path starts just south of Fort William and takes you to the base of the second highest waterfall in Britain. It’s undoubtedly one of the best easy Fort William hiking trails.
The waterfall tumbles down from a height of 120m from the slopes of An Gearanach and into the River Nevis. On the hike, you’ll pass through Nevis Gorge with stunning alpine meadows and woodland.
There are some steep drop-offs and, for the more adventurous, there’s an optional wire rope bridge that requires you to balance on a single wire (while holding the upper wires) to make it closer to the base of the falls.
West Highland Way
One of the longest and most well known Glencoe walking routes is The West Highland Way. The West Highland Way is Scotland’s thru-hiking trail that goes from just outside of Glasgow to Fort William through Glencoe. You can, of course, hike the trail in sections too. If you’re just visiting Glencoe for a few days, the most appropriate section would be the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven beginning at Altnafeadh.
From Kinlochleven, you can take the bus back to Glencoe.
Moderate Glencoe walks
Looking for something a bit harder and steeper but equally beautiful, these best hikes in Glencoe for are for you.
Apparently the MacDonald clan hid their stolen cattle in this beautiful valley, perhaps because they were easy to hide thanks to the deep gorge. This trail is slightly harder with some steep climbs and scrambles but the views of the Three Sisters of Glencoe are more than worth it.
Another of the stunning walks around Glencoe is the Ballachulish Horseshoe. That’s the name given to the banana-shaped ridge that this trail takes you on. The trail goes between 2 munros: Sgorr Dhearg and Sgurr Dhonuill. From the summit, you can see Ben Nevis in the background.
One of the more challenging parts of this hike in Glencoe (besides the elevation), is that the trail can be difficult to find. Make sure you take a good OS map of the Glencoe area and a compass (and know how to use them!).
The Devil’s Staircase and Ciaran Path
The Devil’s Staircase Glencoe walk is part of the West Highland Way and is therefore pretty well signposted. The staircase takes you up to the highest point along the trail so there are some great views. While the name suggests lots of stairs, there actually aren’t stairs on this trail; the path an uphill zig-zag. Nevertheless, it’s a challenging route and gives hikers a real feeling of wilderness.
This short walk is perfect if you don’t have much time to spend in the Glencoe area. It starts from Caolasnacon just west of the village of Kinlochleven and involves a short, rugged ascent up to the west ridge of the summit of Garbh Bheinn. At the summit, you can get great views of Loch Leven and Ben Nevis which makes the ascent well worth it!
Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste
This moderate Glencoe hike offers one of the most beautiful views you can find in the Glencoe area. Looking southwest you can see the end of Buachaille Etive Mor which is one of the most well-loved mountains in the area.
Starting at Altnafeadh, summit and descend on the west ridge for a shorter walk, or make it longer by descending to Kingshouse and returning to the start point along a section of the West Highland Way.
Beinn Trilleachan is a long granite ridge which runs parallel to the shores of Loch Etive. Drive down the beautiful scenic road towards Glen Etive to get to the trailhead for Beinn Trilleachan. The views across the loch to Ben Starav and back up Glen Etive toward Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag are stunning on this Glen Etive walk.
Strenuous / difficult hikes in Glencoe
These walks near Glencoe are for experienced hikers due to the tricky terrain, length, elevation and way-finding difficulties.
Mam na Gualainn
A great option for Kinlochleven walks is the Mam na Gualainn trail. Begin by following the West Highland Way, this Glencoe hike of Mam na Gualainn heads out of Kinlochleven and climbs up before taking you along the picturesque trail to Beinn na Caillich. The views are never short of breathtaking, especially on a clear day! Turn this hike into a loop by leaving and returning from Kinlochleven.
The lower slopes of Fraochaidh above Duror and Glen Creran are forested but by taking the route from Ballachulish you can avoid walking through the forest and get views for the whole trail as you approach the mountain. Make sure you take an OS map with you for wayfinding and enjoy the incredible views of Glencoe!
Pap of Glencoe walk
The cone-shaped mountain (one of the easiest mountains in Glencoe to spot) is known as the Pap of Glencoe towers above Glencoe Village and is hard to miss. Wayfinding is easy but the trail itself gets steep and there’s a small scramble to reach the true summit at the end.
Buachaille Etive Mor
The Buachaille Etive Mor circular walk make a great strenuous hike at the entrance of Glencoe Valley. This hill is one of Scotland’s most photographed hills and summiting it makes a great challenging day. The route is rough underfoot but the path is easy enough to follow.
There are actually two summits of Buachaille, both of which are classified as munros: Stob Dearg and Stobe na Bròige which are connected by a ridge.
Bidean nam Bian
The highest mountain in the Argyll area, Bidean nam Bian makes for a challenging ascent for peak baggers. This mountain has many converging ridges and the classic ascent takes the rock scramble up Dinner-time Butress on Aonach Dubh onto Stob Coire nan Lochan. From here there’s a narrow ridge to the main summit. You can make it a loop trail if you take a descent over Stob Coire nam Beith and down into the coire from the Bealach. This route means you’ll have hiked Bidean’s 3 main peaks.
Hiking the stunning mountain ridge of Aonach Eagach makes the perfect day out for experienced hikers in Glencoe. Best attempted in the summer since you’ll need crampons, ice-axe and ropes in winter, Aonach Eagach includes a lot of exposed scrambling along the ridgeline between Meall Darg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh. This isn’t a loop trail so you’ll either need to go with two cars and have one at either end or go back the way you came up.
Summit Ben Nevis
Without a doubt one of the best Glencoe hikes is summiting Ben Nevis! Weather permitting and with the right experience, you can also hike to the summit of Ben Nevis; the highest mountain in the UK! Which easily makes it one of the best mountains to climb in Scotland.
At 1,345m high, the volcano of Ben Nevis has a couple of different routes you can take to the top. There’s the Carn Mor Dearg Arete route for experienced and well-prepared scramblers or the easier Mountain/Pony Track to Ben Nevis. Getting to the top takes around 5-7 hours and there’s a section of steep climbing and some sheer drops.
Whilst you’re unlikely to come across any dangerous wildlife in Glencoe, you may see some animals. It’s likely you’ll see some deer and stag in the hills You may also come across foxes and hares, both of which are common on higher ground.
For birders, there’s a huge variety of life in Glencoe, Scotland. Ravens and buzzards are common sights, whereas the golden eagle is only found in remote areas.
What to pack for hiking in Glencoe
Hiking in Scotland comes with its challenges with regards to knowing what to wear. One minute it’s hot, the next it’s pouring down with rain and then it’s hot again and now you’re in a snowstorm. The weather changes a lot and that goes for pretty much any mountain environment. Scotland is also known for its wet weather and that means that a lot of the trails are often very muddy. You’ll need good hiking shoes, these aren’t the sort of hikes you’ll want to do in trainers.
- Bug Spray: In summer the midges come out in full force. Pack bug spray for a more enjoyable hike
- Layers: A waterproof outer layer, insulating mid-layer and a breathable base layer. (Waterproof coat/fleece/some sort of thermal/tech material for the base)
- Hiking trousers: Quick-drying & easy to move in
- Hat & gloves
- Walking boots: I love these ones
- Merino wool hiking socks: keep feet a good temperature
- Your phone with GPS
- A Glencoe OS map and compass (& know how to use them!) – A map is essential as a Glencoe walking guide
- Emergency first aid kit
- Your 10 essentials
- Optional: Camera, walking poles, gaiters
Where to stay in Glencoe
These Glencoe places to stay are suitable for all sorts of travellers whether you’re on a budget, looking for something more luxurious and everything in between.
Self-catering in Glencoe
Prefer to find places to stay in Glencoe that offer self-catering facilities? Check these out, they’re well situated for doing hikes around Glencoe.
Signal Rock, Glencoe
Signal Rock Glencoe self-catering lodge has everything you need for a remote getaway in the Scottish Highlands and comes at a great price too!
RiverBeds Lodges with Hot tubs
These luxurious lodges in Glencoe include a sizeable outside area with your own private hot tub. What could be more ideal than a hot tub soak with a mountain view after a day of exploring Glencoe? Each cabin comes with an en-suite and kitchenette.
The House in the Wood / Woodland Cabins
The House in the Wood in Ballachulish is a cosy cabin with a kitchen and fireplace. It’s less than 4 miles away from Glencoe Village and has a garden for relaxing in too.
Hotels in Glencoe
Get a good night’s rest for walks in Glencoe area by staying at these Glencoe hotels.
The Ballachulish Hotel
The Ballachulish Hotel is in a stunning location between the Glencoe mountains. One of the most famous hotels in Scotland, The Ballachulish includes breakfast and is very reasonably priced.
The Isle of Glencoe Hotel
The Isles of on the side of a peninsula reaching into Hotel , bio-sauna, and an exercise room. Make sure you enjoy a Loch Leven walk if you stay here.
Budget-friendly accommodation in Glencoe
These hotels and glamping in Glencoe are perfect for those of you looking for budget accommodation.
Glamping Pods in Kinlochleven
These glamping pods offer cosy accommodation with free wifi and hot showers. It’s great if you’re looking to do some camping in Glencoe, but don’t want to risk your tent flooding! It’s the perfect location for Kinlochleven walks.
Glencoe Youth Hostel
The Glencoe Youth Hostel is just minutes from Glencoe Village and offers dorms and family rooms. You can pay slightly more for breakfast or make use of this Glencoe hostel’s kitchen. If you’re cycling this is a great option since it has bike storage!