6 Great hiking trails in Scottish Highlands

Time spent in the great outdoors when visiting the Scottish Highlands is time very well spent. There are some amazing hikes and walking trails to explore, all of which allow you to immerse yourself in the wonderful, unspoilt scenery and nature.

Some of the best include the Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way both of which are long-distance walking routes but there are other shorter trails too, perfect for the novice hiker. The best part is that these walking routes are well waymarked and most are traffic-free.

We’ve listed just some of the great hiking trails here. Naturally, finding the perfect base for a hiking holiday in the Scottish Highlands is essential. Dunalastair Hotel Suites is 5-star luxury boutique hotel Scotland that’s ideally located in a stunning setting that offers just that. 

The Loch Ness 360° Trail

loch ness

The Loch Ness 360° Trail takes you around Loch Ness in its entirety. You can choose to start and finish your high in Inverness, the Highland’s capital. Or you can join the trail at any point you choose to. It connects the South Loch Ness Trail and the Great Glen Way and covers around 80 miles perfect for the experienced hiker or cycling enthusiast.

The hike allows you to explore and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of Loch Ness with the chance of spotting Nessie along the way! The trail takes you through Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston to Fort Augustus before taking you back. There are a ton of things to see along the way which include the Falls of Foyers, Suidhe Viewpoint, Urquhart Castle and the Caledonian Canal.

  • Start: Inverness or where you choose
  • End: Inverness or where you choose
  • Length: 80 miles (130 km)
  • Time: 6 days

The Fife Coastal Path

The great thing about the Fife Coastal Path is that it’s divided into sections with each section listing its own distance and time to complete. The sections are easy to follow as they are all well-marked. There’s a lot to see along the way linking the Tay and Forth Estuaries with more than 183 km to explore, and April is the perfect time to discover this amazing trail.

The coastal path takes you through some of the most picturesque places which include former fishing villages, St. Andrews golf course and University with golden beaches, native woodlands and unspoilt nature reserves in between. The path also takes you through more industrial towns but there’s history all around with castle ruins and the prehistoric carvings found at Wemyss Caves.

  • Starting point: Kincardine Bridge
  • End point: Newburgh
  • Length: 117 miles (187 km)
  • Time: 7 – 9 days

The Great Glen Way

glen way

The Great Glen Way may be a more challenging walking route but it’s also incredibly popular and for good reason. The trail connects Fort William and Inverness and stretches some 117 km through the Highlands. It starts out at the end of the West Highland Way and you get to walk along the natural fault line that separates Scotland’s west and east coasts.

There are some stunning places to stop and admire the wonders the region has to offer. This includes Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the native forests that surround Loch Ness. The path also takes you along the Caledonian Canal towpath.

You can choose to walk different stages of the trail with many people choosing to start out in Gairlochy, Laggan, Fort Augustus, Invermoristor or Drumnadrochit.

  • Starting point: Fort William
  • End: Inverness
  • Length: 79 miles (127 km)
  • Time: 5 – 6 days

The Cateran Trail

The Cateran Trail is a well-signposted circular route that’s one of Scotland’s Great Trails. It’s a 64-mile route that takes you through the beautiful Perthshire and Angus Glens. You can choose to walk the full circuit or start out at any of its five stages. You’ll get to discover Blairgowrie, Kirkmichael, Glenshee, Glen Isla, and Alyth before returning to Blairgowrie.

The trail takes you through forests, over moors and lovely farmland regions using old drove roads and tracks which cattle rustlers (Caterans) used in the Middle Ages. The great thing about the Cateran Trail is that you can choose a mini trail which takes around two days to complete. The mini trail ends in the gorgeous village of Kirkmichael.

  • Starting point: Blairgowrie
  • End: Blairgowrie
  • Length: 64 miles ( 103 km)
  • Time: 5 days

John O’Groats Trail

John O’Groats Trail

The John O’Groats Trail is another great route that hugs the highland coastline. It starts out at Inverness and ends in John O’Groats but you can choose to walk the route in sections.

The walk is designed for both long-distance walkers and people who enjoy a fascinating coastal stroll.

  • Starting point: Inverness
  • End: John O’Groats
  • Length: 147 miles (237 km)
  • Timing: 9-14 days for the full trail 

Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

Loch Lomond and Cowal Way is another route that takes you through the stunning Argyll region. The trail is well waymarked over hill and forest tracks as well as beautiful shorelines and quiet roads.

You’ll get to discover the Scottish Highlands and its gorgeous coastlines, varied dramatic landscapes, native wildlife and encounter welcoming and friendly people along the way.

  • Starting point: Portavadie, Cowal
  • End: Inveruglas, Loch Lomond
  • Length: 57 miles (91 km)
  • Timing: 3 – 5 days

Choosing the perfect base

Dunalastair Hotel Suites

Choosing the perfect base for a staycation in the Scottish Highlands guarantees a break in this beautiful region will create wonderful experiences and memories. At Dunalastair Hotel Suites, we pride ourselves in offering a first-class service in our 5-star luxury hotel Perthshire location.

We are ideally situated close to many exciting hiking trails that take you through some of the most beautiful areas in the region. To book a reservation just call one of our friendly members of staff on +44 (0)1882 580444, or if you prefer you can book your staycation at our luxury hotel Scotland location by emailing us at reservations@dunalastairhotel.com.