4 Family Friendly Cycling Routes in Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is renowned for so many things. From its wondrous open skies to its spectacular unspoilt landscapes and coastlines, there’s a family adventure just waiting to happen in the far north.

We’ve listed four family-friendly cycling routes in the Scottish Highlands that make for great days out in our post. 

The Rob Roy Loop

Cycling in Scottish Highlands

Distance: 21 km (13 mile circular route)
Starting/finishing point: Strathyre
Terrain and gradients: Quiet rural roads and flat off-road cycle tracks
Grade: Easy

This lovely cycle route takes you around Loch Lomond and through the Trossachs National Park. It’s a circular route with lots to keep the kids happy and entertained!

There’s the ride through Strathyre Forest with its native wildlife which includes the elusive red squirrel. On leaving the forest, the route takes you through the delightful Balquhidder where you’ll find Rob Roy’s historic grave.

From here, you’ll enjoy spectacular views over Loch Voil. After this, the route takes you along a quiet road through Auchtubh.

The route rejoins the NCN 7 at Kingshouse where there are splendid views of Ben Ledi and Loch Lubnaig. You then follow the track back to the starting point at Strathyre.

Do you need to hire bikes? You can hire cycles at Wheels Cycling Centre 

The Deeside Way (Aberdeenshire)

Cycling Scottish Highlands

Distance: Burn O’Vat 9 km (5.5 miles) or Dinnet 11 km (7 miles)
Starting: Ballater | Finish: Burn O’Vat or Dinnet
Terrain and gradients: Flat off-road gravel cycle path. There’s a short 0n-road section when including Burn O’Vat Visitor Centre and Loch Kinord. Sign-posted NCN 7.
Grade: Easy

This lovely cycle route starts out in Ballater’s Station Square which is located on Royal Deeside. The route follows a waymarked track which runs along the Ole Deeside railway line.

You’ll ride through quiet woodland that boasts gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.

There’s a short detour to Tullich Kirkyard around 3.5 km (2 miles) into the route. You’ll discover historic Pictish Stones here.

The cycle route then takes you on to Cambus 0’May with its old station building and remarkable suspension bridge which makes for a great picnic stop.

There’s another detour you can take if you want to explore the Burn O’Vat, the magnificent geological pothole and the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve.

Alternatively, you could opt to continue on to Dinnet. Also worth noting is that you can extend the cycle route to Aboyne.

Do you need to hire bikes? You can hire cycles at Bike Station, Ballater, Cycle Highlands, Ballater

The Speyside Way (Cairngorms National Park)

The Speyside Way

Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
Start: Aviemore | Finish: Boat of Garten
Terrain and gradients: combination of gently undulating off-road gravel cycle paths and quiet lanes. Sign-posted NCN 7.
Grade: Easy

This is another lovely family-friendly cycle route that takes you through a section of the Speyside Way.

The route threads its way through gorgeous heather covered moors and native birch woodlands. There’s a great choice of picnic spots to choose from along the way offering splendid vistas of the Cairngorm Mountains.

There are also wonderful views of the steam trains that run along the Strathspey Railway. Something the kids will really enjoy.

You can stock up on snacks at the Boat of Garten at the Post Office. Or you could take tea and cakes at the Boat Hotel.

The cycle route can be extended on to the RSPB Loch Garten Nature Centre which adds around 4 km (2.5 miles) to the route. Here you’ll find some splendid bird species.

Alternatively, you could take a steam train ride back to Aviemore. Cyclists and their bikes are always welcome on the trains.

Need to hire bikes? You can hire cycles at Bothy Bikes or Aviemore Bikes

The Caledonia Way (from Fort Augustus to Laggan Locks)

The Caledonia Way

Distance: 17.5 km (11 miles)
Start: Fort Augustus | Finish: Laggan Locks
Terrain and gradients: Flat traffic-free route along canal towpaths and cycle paths. Signposted NCN 78.
Grade: Easy

This lovely family-friendly cycle route can be found at the southern end of Loch Ness. Fort Augustus is a brilliant starting point as there are cafés, restaurants, and its Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre.

One of the sections takes you south-west from the start to Laggan Locks past Loch Oich and then along to the Old Invergarry and Fort Augustus railway line.

You have a great choice of places to stop for a picnic along the way. Plus the preserved Loch Oich railway tunnel and Invergloy Station platforms are great places for the kids to explore.

The cycle route ends at the scenic viewpoint and Laggan Lock’s café. The great thing about this cycle route is that you can start out at either end. Plus there’s parking, toilet facilities and cafés making for a great family day out in the Highlands.

Need to hire bikes? You can hire cycles from Fort Augustus Bike Hire at Girvans Hardware


The Scottish Highlands offer great family days out with so much to see and do during the summer months.

If you’re planning a family cycling trip in this beautiful Scottish region, why not book your stay with us at our award-winning 2023 Travellers’ Choice Dunalastair Hotel Suites? Our 5-star luxury boutique hotel offers the perfect base for your stay in the Highlands.

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