Best Hiking in Scotland? Don’t Miss the West Highland Way

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You’ll find hiking opportunities suitable for a range of abilities throughout Scotland. But for the best hiking in Scotland, don’t miss the West Highland Way.

This 96-mile trek from Milngavie to Fort William promises an immersive journey through the country’s heart. It’s a blend of rugged landscapes, historical paths, and panoramic views.

Read on to explore the highlights and discover if this epic route is the right fit for your adventurous spirit.

best hiking in scotland
Embark on the best hiking in Scotland along West Highland Way

CONTENTS—In this article, you will discover the best hiking in Scotland on West Highland Way and what you should know before you go, including:

Is The West Highland Way for You?

Are you itching for a Scottish adventure that combines rugged landscapes, historical paths, and panoramic views?

The West Highland Way might just be your next memorable hike.

Stretching 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, this iconic Scottish trail is an immersive journey through the heart of Scotland.

Here’s a glimpse into what you can expect on this epic trek, including the major highlights you can look forward to.

What is the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way is Scotland’s first officially designated long-distance walking route. It’s arguably its most famous.

The trek winds through the diverse landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, from the lowlands near Glasgow up to the majestic peaks surrounding Fort William.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, this trail promises an unforgettable experience with every step.

Expectations Along the Route

West Highland Way Route
Unveiling the epic trail: West Highland Way’s route highlights

When you set out and walk the West Highland Way, you’ll want to prepare for a variety of terrains.

The path takes you along:

  • Along serene lochs
  • Through dense woodlands
  • Over open moorlands
  • Up steep mountains.

Each day on the trail presents new challenges and awe-inspiring views.

You’ll find accommodations along the way that range from cozy bed and breakfasts to more rustic camping sites. These options allow you to tailor your journey to your comfort and style preferences.

Highland Way Route Highlights

As you traverse the Highland Way, you can anticipate these highlights.

  • Conic Hill: Early in the journey, near Balmaha, you ascend Conic Hill. Your effort will be rewarded with spectacular views over Loch Lomond, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain (by surface area).
  • Glencoe: Perhaps the most dramatic scene along the West Highland Way is Glencoe. This picturesque glen with volcanic origins is steeped in history and natural beauty. Viewing the breathtaking scene of the rugged valley and towering mountains, you’ll be reminded of the area’s tumultuous past.
  • Devil’s Staircase: This infamously named section of the path offers a rigorous climb with unparalleled views at the top. Part of the old military road built in the 18th century, the Devil’s Staircase ascends to the highest point on the trail. It provides incredible panoramic views over the Glencoe mountains.
  • Ben Nevis: As you approach Fort William, the majestic outline of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak, comes into view. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you might even decide to detour from the route to conquer Ben Nevis.

Is the West Highland Way for You?

West Highland Way
Disconnect from daily life and connect with nature on the West Highland Way.

The West Highland Way route is both a physical challenge and a test of mental endurance. Moreover, it’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

If you relish long-distance walks and love epic landscapes, the West Highland Way offers an enriching experience.

However, it’s important to prepare adequately—both physically and mentally. In addition, consider the time of year you plan to embark on this journey for the best experience. Spring and Autumn are ideal, but you can hike the route at any time of year, weather permitting.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that walking the full route is a 6-8 day commitment. So, if your Scotland itinerary doesn’t provide for a lengthy hike, you might choose to cover shorter portions of West Highland Way.

Final Thoughts on Best Hiking in Scotland

Walking the West Highland Way is an exhilarating, enriching experience that will enhance your trip to Scotland. Some say it’s a pilgrimage through the very soul of Scotland.

With every mile, you’ll discover stunning landscapes and rich history, while uncovering a little more about yourself.

Ready to lace up your boots and enjoy the best hiking in Scotland? Head for the West Highland Way. Adventure awaits on one of the most celebrated walking routes in the world.

Next Steps

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